The American political landscape is alarmingly charged, threatening to undermine the US Democratic institution in the global arena, as speculation abounds whether extreme force will be required to physically escort incumbent president Donald Trump out of the White House if he refuses to cede power to president-elect Joe Biden and leave the residence of his own accord in January. At the same time, an even bigger problem faces the country’s leadership – whenever it is certified, that is. The 2020 US Elections defied all manner of expectations to reveal a deeply fractured and divided nation, unifying which over the next four years is likely to be the most pressing challenge to face a US President yet.
An all-caps statement issued by the White House last week highlights the current turbulent state of affairs aptly: “IF YOU COUNT THE LEGAL VOTES, I EASILY WIN THE ELECTION! IF YOU COUNT THE ILLEGAL AND LATE VOTES, THEY CAN STEAL THE ELECTION FROM US!”
Former two-time vice president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has been declared the president-elect, but incumbent president Donald Trump, who steadfastly refuses to concede defeat, is challenging the results in court, alleging “widespread voting fraud,” is at the heart of the 2020 US Elections and that the Democrats are responsible for “stealing” the outcome.
“This election is not over – far from it”, said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany last week After taking their grievances to social media as well, where the Trump administration tweeted a bevy of unsubstantiated accusations on November 6 that concluded Biden’s claim on the White House was “phony” and that when all was said and done Trump would be re-elected.
This election is not over. pic.twitter.com/0WJGtgqKxX
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) November 6, 2020
The Trump campaign, which is yet to substantiate its claims of electoral fraud, has lodged a flurry of litigation in several key states, where it deems fiddling with the elections was glaringly prevalent; most notably, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia – four states in which Trump was leading at the start, but where he progressively lost ground to Biden as the vote count extended days beyond Tuesday, November 3’s deadline. Trump is also contesting results from Nevada and Arizona.
Merely a day after the Trump administration announced in the wee hours of Wednesday morning – in hindsight, prematurely – it had won the 2020 presidential race, its official line deviated as Biden began to close on the requisite 270 electoral college votes. The new line was: “This thing isn’t done yet.” A stance from which it hasn’t moved off of since, even though the results were officially called by the media at the weekend, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have already embarked on their victory lap, chatting up foreign officials and making plans to move into the White House.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued his support of President Trump’s legal challenges in the aftermath of his defeat to president-elect Joe Biden, declaring Monday that Trump is “100 percent within his right” to pursue recounts and litigation.
Despite the lack of hard evidence to substantiate Trump’s claim of a widespread multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to steal the elections, US attorney general William Barr has authorised federal prosecutors to probe the “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities in the presidential election across the U.S. to determine if they do in fact exist, before the 2020 presidential election is officially certified.
In the meantime, the White House reportedly has made known throughout the federal government that no steps should be taken that would imply Trump lost the election.
The current White House administrations’ reluctance to begin the process of formal transition of power is raising concern within Biden’s camp, fears that might lead to legal action that would force the process to begin and may well ultimately lead to the forcible eviction of Trump from presidential residence.
Things haven’t quite escalated that far yet – at least not according to Biden’s statement in Delaware earlier this week, in which he referred to Trump’s attempts to undermine the elections as a mild annoyance and a bit of “an embarrassment.”
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” he said of Trump’s refusal to admit defeat. “I say this tactfully: I think it will not help the President’s legacy.”
Irrespective of the political squabbling over the winner of the elections or how the transition of power proceeds in the coming weeks, the 2020 US Elections once again defied preconceived notions, expectations and, even, yet again, the many election polls that were released in the lead up to November 3.
Yes, the polls correctly predicted Joe Biden would win the elections, a fact that was underpinned by the odds across multiple top-rated political betting sites. However, everything else totally and utterly off the mark – from the projected landslide victory by the Democrats to the number of Senate races.
In all, it was a historic election that broke all previous voting records. Biden emerged with the most votes ever in the history of US elections, but the second-highest number of votes cast in election history belongs to Trump. Far from being a repudiation of the Trump administration, the 2020 US elections revealed a country that was profoundly divided, meaning whichever president eventually takes over at the start of the New Year – presumably president-elect Biden – the task of “healing the soul of America” is going to be the biggest challenge yet.