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Due to the US operating what is essentially a two-party system, only two candidates had a chance of taking the presidency: incumbent President Donald Trump for the Republicans and former Vice-President Joe Biden for the Democrats.

The election is viewed as effectively a referendum on Trump’s presidency and his handling of the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus was a key issue for the electorate in deciding who to vote for, alongside related topics such as the economy and healthcare.

Biden won the election, securing 306 Electoral College votes, against Trump’s 232.

He also won the “popular vote” with a total of over 81 million votes; the single highest total received in a presidential election in history.

Trump initially refused to concede to Biden and, on 6 January 2021, thousands of his supporters rallied in Washington DC, with dozens of protesters entering the Capitol building unlawfully and forcing their way into the House of Representatives.

Following this, Trump was impeached for a second time.

On 20 January, President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris will be sworn into office.

This briefing gives an overview of the main campaign issues during the election (providing a glance as to what Biden might try to achieve during his presidency), explains the election result and voting methods, and features a timeline of the key events in the presidential race from 2020 to Inauguration Day.

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