A sigh of relief — coupled with a reality check on the vast challenges ahead.
That’s how papers around Europe on Sunday marked Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, in the wake of Saturday’s announcement that the Democratic candidate had secured enough votes in the battleground state of Pennsylvania to carry him into the White House.
From Germany to the United Kingdom, Europe’s front pages also underlined the historic nature of the election of Kamala Harris as the first woman to become U.S. vice president.
— The Frankfurter Allgemeine wasted no time in throwing cold water on the scenes of jubilant celebration that unfolded in many American cities after Biden was declared president-elect. “Despite defeat: Trumpism lives on,” it headlined. Noting the record number of votes garnered by outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump, it said: “Regardless of the outcome of the post-election battle for the White House, one thing was already clear on Tuesday evening: Trumpism is alive. It will continue to shape Washington in the future. Either way.”
— Der Spiegel reprised its controversial cartoon from February 2017 showing Trump decapitating Lady Liberty with the headline “America First” — on Sunday headlining with a cartoon of Biden (complete with mask) returning the head to the top of the Statue of Liberty, with the caption “Make America Great Again.”
— For Le Monde, “Joe Biden’s victory leads to enormous relief in Europe.” But the paper also points out that “the arrival of a president experienced in international issues and the transatlantic dialogue, must absolutely not hold back the slow European awakening to its own strategic, economic and military interests.” It goes on to state that “Emmanuel Macron will no longer be able to position himself as the standard-bearer of multilateralism … his margin of maneuver could be reduced, in a smoother and more cooperative context among liberal democracies, despite continuing considerable challenges.”
— Le Figaro calls Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate and vice president-elect, “a pioneer in the White House” — noting she is the first woman elected to the White House and underlining her immigrant parents and mixed racial heritage. Le Figaro also spotlights Jill Biden, Biden’s wife, “a key asset.” Biden himself noted in his victory speech Saturday evening her long career as an educator and the ally she will be for teachers.
— “The next president of the United States,” headlines the Dagens Nyheter on Sunday complete with a smiling picture of Biden. But the paper calls Biden’s victory “bittersweet” because of the difficulties ahead, namely governing a deeply polarized country and getting a handle on the explosive spread of the coronavirus while protecting the economy. It goes as far as saying bringing the U.S. back to normal is “mission impossible” — but also notes that Biden’s electoral gains in the rust belt and south could change the electoral map for the foreseeable future.
The consensus among British papers is the need for America to heal after four years of Trump’s divisive politics, and a country that remains deeply polarized after a record turnout saw Trump expand his support base.
— “It’s time for America to heal” reads The Sunday Telegraph’s front page, while The Sunday Express says “Unite and heal.”
— “Sleepy Joe wakes up America” reads the Sunday Times.
— The Independent calls it “A new dawn for America.”