After the Election Day of the US President 2020, VietNamNet held an online roundtable with two guests: Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh and Professor Pham Quang Minh from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities - Hanoi National University.

What can you say about the “thriller” of this year's US Presidential election? 

Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh: I completely agree that the drama of this year's US presidential election keeps us watching and thrilled to the last minute. Here are some highlights: 

The voting result was very close, and the dominance of the blue color (Joe Biden) did not occur as forecasted by the US media. 

There are two very big signaling milestones on November 3. That was when Donald Trump won Florida and kept Texas, which proved that he would continue to go deeper despite warnings from previous polls, which said he was at a disadvantage. This showed that competition on the entire Election Day would be fierce. 

But on the afternoon of the Election Day, when the color shift in Wisconsin was in favor of Biden, then the chance that Biden would win Wisconsin and Michigan caused the colors to reverse. The advantage was in favor of the Democratic candidate.

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Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh: The road ahead is wider for Democratic candidate Joe Biden.



Over the past 120 years, this year the number of US voters was a record high - more than 160 million, or 67% of registered voters, so far. In 1900 it was over 70%. The second record high is the percentage of voters who cast their ballot before Election Day, reaching more than 100 million.

Each state regulation on counting votes varies: both before and on, or only on, Election Day (and also mail-in votes after Election Day), thereby creating drama and the results reversing many times.

Prof. Pham Quang Minh: This year's election is very special because the US is witnessing very deep division. Throughout 2019, this division was shown through:

How the US government dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic, which greatly affected the election results. The current President and his wife were infected with the coronavirus, more than 200,000 people have died, and millions of people have been infected… This caused a huge impact on the life and reactions of society. Another issue is ethnicity, leading to a huge division in American society, which is in need of healing. The third is the governance of America.

The two candidates have great competition. On one side, it is the current President who 'puts America first' and on the other side is a more flexible person who can represent the common person, Mr. Biden.

The voting results changed continuously like watching a football game where the score is always changing. Up to this moment, the victory seems to be inclined to be blue, but no one dares to assert even after the 89th minute.

Why at this time, when the Election Day has ended, we only have some of the results based on the announcement of the US press and do not know exactly who will be the new US President?

Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh: The US has specific provisions under the law and the Constitution on the official announcement of the election results.

There are electoral committees in all states. After the Election Day and counting of the votes, there will be time to confirm the number of votes, the election of electors in states, the electors to vote for President and Vice President. After that, the electoral votes are brought to the US Congress. That is step 1. According to US rules, on December 8th states will select electors. On December 14th, the electors will vote. The new Congress will be convened and vote on January 6, 2021. Finally, on January 20, 2021, the new President and Vice President will take the oath of office.

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Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh and Professor Pham Quang Minh. Photo: Le Anh Dung

But the US law also stipulates that whenever a state finishes counting votes, the press will announce the preliminary results. So far, the US media has mostly given the number that Mr. Biden has 264 electoral votes (still missing 6 votes to become the President) and Mr. Trump has 214 votes.

According to the media, the person who can reach 270 electoral votes can declare victory. But there is the second side: when the remaining candidate accepts defeat.

Currently, there are five states that have not finished counting the votes and the winner in each has yet to be declared, including Alaska, Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, including four important states (except for Alaska with 3 electoral votes). Biden has 4 doors from which to choose as he lacks only 6 votes. If any state announces to be in favor of Biden, he will have the necessary 270 votes. Trump lacks 56 votes, which requires the electoral votes of all the four main states mentioned above.

Thus, the road ahead is wider for Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

So, great challenges are waiting for the new US President? 

Prof. Pham Quang Minh: After the term of Mr. Trump, the US has seen many changes, the world has also changed. For America, the challenge is certainly to recover the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic, to prevent the pandemic from affecting people's health. These are the two most important issues before mentioning anything else. In the first year, the new US President will have to resolve these two issues.

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Prof. Pham Quang Minh: This year's election is very special because the US is witnessing very deep division.

The whole world is looking forward to news that will bring world order back to life. Everyone has a different opinion, but everyone wants peace. I think no matter who is the US President; the most important thing is that America is stable and orderly. It is the health of the people and economic recovery. As long as America is unstable, the impact will be not only in America but also the world.

What will the new US President do to heal the divisions in the US today?

Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh: I want to go back to Prof. Minh's opinion. Any newly-elected president will have to face two great challenges. It is dealing with the problem between pandemic control and socio-economic development. This will be a measure for voters to look at.

The second task is how to close the division and strengthen solidarity within America. The presidential election has shown the division in American politics and society. US presidents have different policies. But the polarization, the differentiation inside American society has moved for many years, caused by factors in terms of policy, religion, economy, employment, social awareness...

In the presidential campaign, both sides had different approaches, like two sides of a coin with one goal. But to date, the measures of both the Democratic and the Republicans have not created a breakthrough as expected by the people.

This new President is different from before, when American politics and society are divided. The President must take strong measures, combining the flow of opinions from both Democrats and Republicans to create American politics that is worthy to represent the people.

The new President's policy statement must please the people. One is the urgent task of preventing epidemics and improving the economy, and the second is about social solidarity.