The American Political Nightmare: an uncertain election hangs in the air
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Image courtesy of The Associated Press
For the whole presidential campaign, former vice-president Joe Biden was significantly ahead in the polls, with many critics touting a Biden landslide win. But following the hours after polls began to close, and results started to come in, it was soon clear that this would not be the case, and the race for 270 electoral college votes would not be straightforward.
Important wins and potentially fatal losses
In order for Trump to have any real chance of winning a second term in office, he would have to win the 29 electoral votes from Florida, whilst retaining the rust belt; the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. And while the competition in Florida was fierce, it was announced that the state was in fact remaining red, assigning its votes for Trump.
After Ohio was projected to be won by Trump, closely followed by Iowa, the results were clearly favouring Trump much more than originally assumed in the run up to the vote. Every elected Republican president has won Ohio.
But as today has gone on, things have started to look more favourable for Biden. It was recently announced that he secured Arizona, which has been traditionally Republican for the past 24 years. Biden has now also won the key state of Wisconsin. As the day comes to an end here in the UK, Biden's prospects begin to look better than Trump's.
The candidates speak to the nation
At around 5:45am GMT, Biden would speak to the nation from Delaware, claiming to still be on track for the Presidency. He encouraged his supporters to “be patient” for the full results in the crucial battleground states, which could easily swing either way in the latter stages of vote counting. The high number of absentee ballots which will inevitably delay results in some of these states, with some postal votes having until two weeks after the deadline to arrive, such as in the highly contested state of Pennsylvania.
Trump would respond on Twitter claiming he would be “making a statement tonight. A big WIN!”, following up with that he was “up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election”. The latter was hidden from the platform by Twitter due to disputed content.
Ninety minutes after posting these tweets, he would eventually make a statement from inside the White House, where he would falsely declare victory: “frankly, we did win this election”. This is despite the fact that millions of ballots were still to be counted, with Trump claiming that these were likely to be fraudulent.
As Democrat voters are statistically more likely to vote by mail than Republicans, Trump could be attempting to give himself the best shot at winning a second term; a highly undemocratic attempt to manipulate the final result with the voter suppression of potentially millions.
What will happen from here?
Either candidate could still win the presidency, and delayed results could bring calls from either side that the results were illegitimate. Delayed results could, in a worst-case scenario, potentially take weeks to be officially announced, which would inevitably frustrate everyone.
But if Trump loses will he even step down? Current events have shown that he may not let the political system do its job and may refuse the peaceful transfer of power. There are already protests and clashes between supporters of both candidates, and these could worsen when the full results are eventually released, no matter who wins.
The United States election of 2020 is far from over.