The world this week saw the election of a new United States president – Joseph (Joe) Biden Jr. of Delaware, candidate of the Democratic Party, along with his vice-presidential teammate Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
Three days after the election, the early counts in the 50 states as reported by news networks had yielded only 253 Electoral College votes for Biden and 214 for Trump, with 270 needed to win. The counts in four states – Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona – were delayed over the mass of votes sent in by mail as many Americans chose to avoid massing at poll centers on Election Day because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Saturday, NBC News reported that Pennsylvania finally completed its count – in favor of Biden –and its 20 Electoral College votes pushed Biden across the required winning total of 270. Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia later further added to his total.
With 93 percent of the expected total vote counted, Biden led Trump by over 4 million votes. The 74.5 million votes counted for Biden as of Saturday were said to be the largest number of votes won in the US by any presidential candidate
“It’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal,” Biden said. Leaders of both Democratic and Republican parties were quick to congratulate Biden and his running mate – notably, Florida Gov . Jeb Bush, and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.
But President Trump himself was defiant. “This election is far from over,” he said. “Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recount.”
Trump has long been raising fears about the vote tabulation process, demanding that officials halt counting in places where he thought the remaining votes favored Democrats. Last Wednesday, with millions of votes still uncounted, he claimed that he had won. The next day, he made a series of election fraud claims, but without any evidence.
In all previous US elections, losing candidates have been quick, in the interest of national unity, to congratulate their winning opponents in results compiled by the nation’s respected press organizations, ahead of the official government count.
With President Trump long disputing the credibility of the nation’s major press organizations, the world may be in for a long battle — in the courts and other institutions — over the results of the US presidential elections. W can only hope that everything will be resolved by January 20, the day set by the US Constitution for the oath-taking of the new American president.