US presidential and congressional elections to be held

Voters across the US will head to the polls today to elect a president to head the next administration. Voters

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Photo: Getty Images

Voters across the US will head to the polls today to elect a president to head the next administration.

Voters will also elect senators and representatives across the states. Republicans currently control the Senate, 53-45, while Democrats have maintained a majority in the House of Representatives since the 2018 midterms at 232-198.

Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and former Democratic vice president Joe Biden have presented two alternative visions for the future of US foreign policy. Trump has emphasised unilateral strength, a policy that would use confrontation and sanctions to attempt to check Chinese expansionism, denuclearise North Korea and support anti-government protesters in Venezuela. Biden has backed a multilateral approach to international politics that favours historical alliances with Europe and promotes diplomatic engagement with the UN and NATO as a means to addresses global issues like climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and wealth disparities.

Today’s vote is a referendum on the current path of US foreign policy under the Trump administration. Yet, regardless of the winner, the next occupant of the White House will face challenging transnational questions, including a rising China, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, strained relations with European allies and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. In sum, a structural shift, potentially seismic in proportions, is expected, no matter who emerges victorious.