Good Bi-den Trump? | US Election 2020

Friday, 26 February 2021


Good Bi-den Trump?

Riddhiman Borooah | November 07, 2020 11:12 hrs

The US Election 2020 appears to be inching closer to an outcome. Democratic candidate Joe Biden is moving towards a victory in the US presidential election.  

However, the results are unlikely to come until the weekend. This, even as his challenger, incumbent President Donald Trump, threatens to undermine the victory by challenging its legality in court. Trump accused the Biden campaign of election fraud and vowed to move the US Supreme Court over the results. He also filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan before the projections were made, laying the groundwork for contesting these key battleground states’ outcomes.

Trump’s legal challenge comes after it becomes clear that it would be difficult for the Republican to withstand a late blue surge in these states. However, let us first understand how exactly these elections take place. 

Two parties in the US dominate the political system - the Republican Party (or Republicans) and the Democratic Party (or Democrats). The Republicans are the conservative political party in the US and their candidate in this year’s election is once again President Donald Trump. He is hoping to secure another four years in power. The Democrats form the liberal political party in the USA. Their candidate is Joe Biden, an experienced politician best-known for serving as Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years.

Today, American voters cast ballots for president, but they’re still choosing electors who will ultimately pick the president. The number of electors has been set at 538 since 1964 and it requires 270 for a presidential candidate to win. Each state gets a certain number of Electoral College votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs; so the winner is the candidate that wins 270 electoral votes or more. Currently, Wyoming, say, gets three electors, while California, the most populous state, gets 55. 

The swing states, known as battlegrounds or purple states, are the targets for both the parties as they are the areas with unclear loyalties where both Republican and Democrat candidates enjoy strong support. They decide the fate of the US elections.

Swing states can change in every election cycle and depend on factors like the past poll outcome, opinion polls, political trends, population, demographics etc.

In the 2020 US elections, the swing states are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The six states are likely to have a neck and neck contest between Trump and Biden as the current president had won narrowly in most states against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 elections. It is to be seen if Trump manages to retain them to be re-elected this time. 

While it is evident that the process is relatively straightforward, however, it is not very fast as the counting of ballots can take days, even weeks. This is where we, as Indians, can be proud of our Election Commission which handles the election process of the largest democracy of the world with a perfect balance of technology and human resources. Our EVM machines can give up at times, but the delay incurred is considerably less than our US counterparts. Ballot counting is a painstakingly long process, not to forget the numerous legal battles subsequently. While the general understanding of work in the government offices are considered to be “slow,” the Election Commission is out there, setting benchmarks for the world to follow.

The main question on every Indian’s mind right now is, how do these two candidates and their policies affect India, or in short, why do US elections matter to us?

Outside the fringes, the mainstream of political opinion of the two parties favours stronger relations between the two countries. Anti-Americanism, once the reaction of the Indian elite, seems almost antediluvian today. The Indian diaspora in the USA is one of the most successful expatriate communities even though their political preferences may differ. Now more than ever, a potential US President’s views on India’s border issues are of utmost importance for the Modi-led government’s global agenda. Donald Trump has maintained that he is open to mediation in India’s tussle with China and on the Kashmir issue. On the other hand, Biden has expressed displeasure on India’s handling of Kashmir and passing the Citizenship Amendment Bill as a law. Biden’s Vice President candidate, Kamala Harris (who also has an Indian Origin), has been quite vocal about Kashmir’s situation during the scrapping of Article 370.

After all, whatever happens to Uncle Sam, “the saviour of Democracy” will create a domino effect for the world in the days to come; only time will tell whether Donald J. Trump will get another term or the people of the US will vote for a change. The race to the Oval Office is indeed heating up and will go down in history as one of the closest-ever US elections to take place, that’s for sure.

(The author is currently a 2nd-year law student studying at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad. The views expressed in the article are his own.)

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