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First comments on Biden’s victory

November 9th, 2020

Although they have been heavily committed to Biden during the campaign, left-wing observers are nevertheless only moderately optimistic about the outcome. A right-wing commentator, on the other hand, paints a gloomy picture, not merely of America’s future, but above all of Hungary’s ties with the US.

168 óra went to press two days later than usual in order not to miss the US election results, but it was still too early, of course. Nevertheless, their analyst, József Makai clearly saw on Thursday that Biden would emerge the winner. In his first remark, he finds outgoing President Trump’s claim of wholesale fraud on the Democrat side totally unsubstantiated, but typical of Mr Trump’s usual style. Meanwhile, he concedes that Donald Trump’s performance in the elections was extraordinary. After all, he explains, the President has been obviously unsuccessful in tackling the coronavirus crisis, while the pandemic caused a downturn in the economy. A sweeping Biden victory was thus a logical expectation, until just a few days ago. Instead, the race was extremely close. Makai is shocked by the amount of hatred he sees in the reactions to the electoral result and finds it disconcerting that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff allegedly felt obliged to inform the main television networks that the Armed Forces would not play any role whatsoever in the post-electoral process. The mere suspicion of such an eventuality is worrisome, he writes. He suggests that once all recounts and judicial procedures are over, it will be necessary to examine what processes are underway in the depths of American society.

Népszava’s Gábor Horváth takes a huge sigh of relief as the election results are finally known, and welcomes Biden’s victory under the headline: ‘The nightmare is over’. The President of the United States, he writes, will now be a balanced, intelligent, and responsible person, rather than a ’crooked spirited, avaricious conman’. On the other hand, he admits that President Trump won the support of huge masses of people who feel neglected, which reflects deep problems that America should tackle. Horváth also remarks that with a divided government, President Biden will have a hard time putting through his policies, as the Senate apparently remains in Republican hands. Nor will the pandemic disappear any time soon and by the time it does, the country will be preparing for mid-term elections, which are a prelude to the presidential elections in four years’ time. The question arises, he concludes, whether the nightmare is over once and for all, or whether it can come back.

On Azonnali, Balázs Karóczkai interprets the results of the US elections as a victory for Joe Biden but not for the Democratic Party. They lost seats in the House of Representatives and could not conquer the Senate. In addition, 26 states out of 50 are governed by Republicans and the GOP has the majority in 29 legislative bodies. Under such conditions, Biden can practically only push through those changes that are acceptable to the Republicans as well, he predicts. That doesn’t augur well for the main points of his programme, including the reduction of CO2 emissions, the development of renewable energy production, or the reform of the police.

In her Magyar Hírlap analysis on Saturday morning, Mariann Őry still doesn’t fully acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory, but her whole analysis reflects the assumption that he will be the next president. In fact, she predicts unfavourable developments in relations between the two governments. She recalls that under President Obama, the State Department and the American Embassy in Budapest were openly critical of the Hungarian government, and leading American diplomats in the Hungarian capital made unusually critical remarks about government policies in public. The Chargé d’Affaires once even took part in an opposition demonstration. Under President Trump, on the other hand, she points out, a sort of political chemistry developed between the two leaders, and the outgoing ambassador never publicly criticised the government. Őry ends by concluding that whatever happens, Hungary’s political destiny will be decided within the country.

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