So, the ‘America First’ strategy didn’t work as Donald Trump finished second in the presidential race. Despite his refusal to concede, it is clear that the curtains are officially drawn on America’s first reality TV show host turned President.

For many, Trump’s defeat is a self-fulfilling prophecy. That he was a victim of his own follies seems to be the most plausible explanation for his failure to regain the trust of a majority of Americans. His failure to provide visionary leadership during the COVID crisis proved to be the final, albeit the only but fatal, nail in the coffin. And for others, he simply didn’t have much to offer during the entire presidency except for rhetoric.

Similarly, many see Biden’s victory as a rejection of Trump’s exclusionary narrative. The majority of Americans have placed their faith in Biden, whom his supporters view as someone with the ability to restore America’s perceived loss of pride abroad and someone who can bridge social divides at home.

Yet, living up to the expectations of a nation riddled by racial tensions, the coronavirus pandemic and economic woes will not be an easy task. Not that Biden expects a smooth sailing. Quite the contrary.

His path is paved with numerous challenges, big and small. His biggest test lies in forging unity within a country that is now deeply divided on class, ethnic and racial lines.

Racial enmity has soared lately. On the one hand, the white supremacists are spewing hate, on the other, the African Americans are simply fed up. The racial divide is a historic problem, and not a relic of the Trump era. But in recent years, tensions have increased. Similarly, the rhetoric against immigrants grew sour in last four years. The so-called “nation of immigrants” has recently found it difficult to carry along with outsiders. Arguably, the melting pot of communities is drifting towards an internal clash of civilisations.

In the end, American unity is cracking up. Something that should give Biden cause to worry.

In his victory speech, the President-elect tried to send a message of unity. “…to make progress we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.”, he said while addressing those who voted for Trump. Reconciling differences, however, will require a lot more than just words and entreaties.

Because the far-right narrative appeals to so many Americans, Biden is going to have a hard time convincing scores of people about its pitfalls. He will have to match up his words with meaningful action. This not only entails equal treatment for all folks irrespective of their colour, creed and class but also the ability to strengthen his counter-narrative.

On one side of the aisle, there are people in need of his support as well as people who gave him support. But on the other side, people neither conform to his soft demeanour nor admire his bridging the gulf approach. The far-right uses hate to stir up social differences. The challenge for Biden is to defeat hate with love and to nurture brotherly feelings among different communities. His ability to apply the healing touch over festering wounds will be key to defeating the far-right narrative. And defeating the far-right narrative is key to his success as President of the United States. Only time will tell how far and whether far enough he succeeds in translating his dream of uniting America into reality.

But for now, he has his job neatly cut out for him.

Domestic issues are likely to surface high on his agenda. Defeating the pandemic, pouring water over the racial heat and reinvigorating the economy will consume most of his thoughts initially. Yet, these are only a handful of crises facing America.

Steering forward the Afghan peace process, resolving the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, managing the ongoing confrontation with China, dealing with Russia and reclaiming America’s leadership status in the world will add to his list of concerns.

But for the time being, Biden can relish in the thought of becoming the 46th President of the United States of America. He can celebrate his victory for a while, enjoy his time with family and supporters as well as ponder over his future strategy. The moment he assumes office, he will be in the driving seat and everything from then onwards will be a test of his leadership skills.

It’ll be interesting to see how the President-elect copes with the responsibilities of his office and expectations of his people.

As for Trump, he may head back to his business or start another TV show after he has overcome the shock of electoral defeat. Leaving the White House must be sad but that’s the reality of life. You run your part-fast or slow, and then it is time to pass on the baton to someone else. For Trump that time has come.