By Michael Jarvis, London UK
When world leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, started congratulating US President-elect Joe Biden, it was seen as a signal of the pressing need to rebalance the equilibrium in international relations which has gone out of kilter during the Trump administration.
While the official confirmation of the outcome is pending, the plaudits suggested a sigh of relief and global recognition that the Biden-Harris ticket had indeed won both the popular vote and the Electoral College.
On Saturday the state of Pennsylvania called the defining result of the Electoral College votes to give Mr Biden the clear majority of the 270 votes needed to cross the line...and into the White House.
He was also expected to add further electoral College Votes giving him an even wider margin over 'sitting president' Donald Trump.
But with the incumbent still refusing to accept the outcome as it stands, a flood of legal challenges claiming voter fraud and administrative flaws will be the next hurdle to clear.
A defiant Mr Trump has resorted to block-letter tweets proclaiming his victory and claiming that the election was “stolen” from him without so far presenting any substantial evidence to back up his allegations.
Mr Trump himself had also claimed victory even before highly reputable media and other agencies started reporting that Democrat Mr Biden his vice-presidential running mate Kamala Harris had secured more than enough of the votes to take control of the White House.
Mr Trump’s team have stated that he doesn’t intend to concede which opens another.
It adds another sordid chapter to the already sour tone of the 2020 US Presidential election.
But, while Mr Trump and his team were wallowing in the disbelief of their defeat, incoming president Mr Biden and vice-president-elect, Kamala Harris, were preaching a message of national healing and unity in a victory rally in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
In stark contrast to the tension, vitriol and animosity which has marked - and marred - the campaign, the rally streamed live to millions across the United States and gobally, reflected a festive tone of visible relief in cities and states across the country - and further afield - that this chapter might now be over.
In a plea and personal commitment to lead the nation in its healing, president-elect Biden declared: "I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify; who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States."
"It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again. To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies."
Mr Biden also reminded: "The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.
"I will keep the faith that you have placed in me."
Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris told the cheering crowd that, "When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, the very soul of America at stake and with the whole world watching, you ushered in a new day for America."
"You chose hope and unity, decency, science and yes, truth - you chose Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. And the road ahead will not be easy but America is ready, and so are Joe and I," she affirmed.
By all accounts, this has been one of the most tumultuous and divisive election campaigns in recent US history with high and low political drama waged in the midst of an ongoing deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
But it will also be remembered for making history in a positive manner by breaking new ground and setting new records.
Coming out of this election, America gets its first female vice-president who is also the first person of colour in that office. Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris, is of Jamaican and Indian heritage.
Mr Biden who is 77 years old will be 78 before he is sworn-in as expected in January making him the oldest person to assume the presidency. His birthday is November 20th.
There are other records in the voter turnout although the final tally is yet to be announced.
Mr Biden has to date secured over 74 million votes, a record for a US presidential candidate, breaking that previously held by former president Barack Obama, with whom Mr Biden served two terms as vice-president.
The incumbent - and outgoing - President Trump has topped the historical Republican presidential vote count with around 70 million votes, although four million less than his 2020 challenger.
According to some preliminary estimates, 239 million people were eligible to vote this year, of which nearly 160 million cast their ballots.
The overall turnout was 66.9 per cent, the highest since 1900 which saw a 73.7 per cent voter turnout.
In a late development, a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Donald Trump ‘will accept the result of a free and fair election’.
How that was to be interpreted was still not clear as a clearly bitter Mr Trump was still insisting that the Democrats were trying to “steal the election" and has not to date withdrawn threats to challenge then outcome in court.