Trump declares that he’ll contest the mail-in ballot tallies before the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Biden asked for “patience”, as the country awaits final results.
Por EFE / Confidencial
HAVANA TIMES – The United States is in shock. Election night began like an electoral “déjà vu” of the surprize Trump victory in 2016. However, it’s now no longer clear what will happen. Democrat Joe Biden, the favorite according to polls, may in fact, not be able to take the presidency from Donald Trump.
Meanwhile Trump has already proclaimed himself the winner, with the definitive results still in play. The situation could thrust the country into an institutional crisis, and even lead to violence.
The clock on the electoral scrutiny suddenly slowed in the early hours of the morning. There now remain a handful of key states to be decided. The country’s future now hangs on the results from these seven states. The country is on alert, due to threats of protests and disturbances by the faithful from both sides.
The United States has never been this divided over election results. The pandemic has caused a great rending of the economic and social fabric, exacerbating differences and feeding polarization. Trump himself has fanned these flames, his message amplified on social media.
A handful of states
All eyes are now fixed on the swing states of Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes; Michigan with 16; Wisconsin with 10; North Carolina with 15; Georgia with 16; and Nevada with 6. There are also three votes from Alaska and one from Maine still in play.
The Electoral College is a body made up of 538 delegates distributed according to the population of each state. The candidate who wins each state, even if it’s by a single vote, gets all of that state’s electoral votes. The candidate who wins 270 electoral votes wins the election.
As we post this, Biden has a slight advantage over Trump with 248 to his 214, according to the Associated Press. With this panorama, all options are still on the table.
Looking at the map, Biden has won on the entire West Coast as well as the greater part of the Northeast. He has also taken the key state of Arizona, plus Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois and Minnesota.
The map goes red, the color that denotes Republican strongholds, in the center and south of the country. States like Alabama, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and others are all firmly “red” states. Trump’s initial advantage came from winning the swing states of Ohio, Texas and Florida, all considered a toss-up.
For the moment, it looks like the incumbent may survive Biden’s assault, although the majority of the polls had given Biden a probable victory. All this infused last night with the sensation of reliving 2016, when the polls predicted a win for democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The prediction, of course, proved false and she lost.
Has Trump come to stay?
These inconclusive results indicate that Trump is no longer the exotic populist phenomenon he seemed like four years ago. He has maintained a large base of support, however, which could prove the factor that brings him a new mandate to remain in the White House.
It remains to be seen how the mood in the streets will evolve over the coming hours and days.
From the White House, with the count still in progress early Wednesday morning, Trump was already complaining of an electoral “fraud”. He offered no proof and threatened to go to the Supreme Court to hold up the ongoing vote count. Certainly, the Supreme Court now has a conservative majority. The president himself, with help from the Republican-controlled Senate, cemented this majority just before the elections. His pick, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in on October 26th.
“We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop,” Trump announced. At the same time, he declared that he had won the elections.
Shades of the past
During the campaign, Trump had already raised the phantom of a possible electoral fraud through the mail-in voting system. The system of allowing voters to mail their ballots has been a fundamental part of these elections, due to the pandemic.
The last time the Supreme Court had to resolve a disputed presidential election was in 2000. At that time, it was due to problems with the vote count in Florida. In the end, Republican George W. Bush was declared the winner. Democrat Al Gore had to throw in the towel after he was denied his bid for a recount.
Trump’s tone today was in direct contrast with Biden’s. The latter spoke from Wilmington, Delaware and asked his followers to “keep the faith” and wait patiently for the results.
After Trump spoke, silence fell on election night. The protests that had filled the streets close to the White House hours dissolved. No incidents were registered that night anywhere in the country.
It’s left to be seen if the next days will remain quiet. At the moment, the “ShutdownDC” campaign has already called for protests in the US capital.