White House opens for Biden: How four states stood down winner for four days
After four days of suspense, the White House yesterday beckoned on Joe Biden, the former U.S vice president and candidate of the Democratic Party in the 2020 Presidential Election after he met the statutory requirement by polling 273 electoral college votes. Results from the swing state of Pennsylvania confirmed victory for Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris. Pennsylvania has 20 Electoral College votes.
Biden’s eventual victory followed a hotly contested election in which it took four days for a winner to emerge. He won three swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which Trump had claimed in 2016.
Four states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona had, for four days, stood between Democrats and official declaration of victory, as both candidates — Biden and President Trump — had been exchanging the marginal lead, especially in Arizona and Pennsylvania, until the last 32 hours when Democratic candidate Biden took a more definite and steady lead with some 6,000 votes in Pennsylvania. Until yesterday, Biden had been leading with 253 votes against Trump’s 213 but Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes vaulted him past the 270-vote threshold needed to take the White House.
Mr. Biden leads in Georgia, Arizona, and was declared the winner in Nevada.
The race was far closer than many Democrats, Republicans and pollsters had expected, although Trump’s popular vote score was millions smaller than that of Mr. Biden, whose vote share continues to grow with the counting.
At 77, Biden will become the 46th President of the United States and the oldest man ever to be sworn in as President of the country. Apart from the demographic change and a restless youth population in the U.S., which propelled his victory, it is believed that the choice of Harris, an Asian American female Senator helped to buoy his chances in the keenly-contested battle against incumbent President Donald Trump. Harris will become the first woman to be elected vice president of the United States.
Meanwhile, President Trump has vowed to keep up with the legal battle. Before Biden’s decisive 273 electoral votes occasioned by fall of Pennsylvania to the Democratic Party, Trump had been contesting his expected victory and had insisted on recount of votes in Georgia and others, saying he would not concede defeat without a legal battle.
“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump campaign, yesterday, said, in statement released on behalf of the President. He was said to have received the news of the loss while heading to a golf outing. Trump had, on Monday, said his campaign would “start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.” Some of his efforts were rejected by the courts but his protestation aligned with the slim vote margin lead to force a possible vote recount in Georgia. Analysts say that, with a small margin in Georgia, a recount is inevitable.
The only modern historical antecedent to the Georgia recount episode is the 2000 recount when Democratic Party’s Al Gore sought to stave off a winning result for Republican’s George W. Bush in Florida, which was to decide the presidency. This time around, a Georgia recount will not have any impact on the general outcome as Biden has already surpassed the 270-electoral-vote threshold to make him President-elect.
His victory will be confirmed by the Electoral College in early December, ratified by the Congress in early January for his swearing-in as President on January 20.
Thomas Patterson, a professor of Government at the Kennedy School, Harvard University, Cambridge, had told a group of international journalists at the virtual session of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar in Hawaii that demographic change in the U.S. played out in favour of Democratic Party, which enjoys the support of minority groups and youth population.
Responding to The Guardian’s inquiry, Patterson said the history of the United States elections showed it was not only politically divided along party lines of Republicans and Democrats, but was nearly an equally divided country. He noted that demographic change to which Trump’s Republican Party failed to strategically respond has put the party in an almost irreversible decline.
Mr. Mike West, the Community Outreach Manager of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland, Ohio, a state won by the Republicans, had told The Guardian that the election processes in the U.S. do not allow an intruder to “insert anything faulty,” even “with all the talk about rigging.”
According to him, the only major challenge the counties of Ohio experienced was managing voting during the pandemic, with all the checks and provisions required for social distancing.
His counterpart in Georgia, Mr. Trey, in exchange, said that there would be “legal challenges” in any of the states closely contested.
The Guardian had reported that Democrats were already celebrating victory before Saturday’s official confirmation of Trump’s defeat.
The report had noted that Tuesday’s presidential election was surprising only in the context of the polls that led to the speculation of the possibility of a ‘blue wave,’ as the demographic change in the U.S. played out in favour of the Democratic Party, which enjoyed the support of minority groups and youth population. Just as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and Donald Trump’s alleged poor management of the pandemic became a top campaign issue for Democrats in the 2020 Presidential election, the Great Depression of the 1920s had met the Republican Party in office, as the ruling party at the time was previously winning elections handily.
The Great (economic) Depression and its impact on American lives at the time helped the Democrats to sweep into the Presidency and the Congress. Subsequent political and demographic events within the period also foretold the future of the Democratic Party, albeit positively. In the elections of 1932, 1936, and 1940, first-time voters voted two-to-one in favour of Democrats and stayed loyal to the party throughout their lives.
The block of voters allowed the Democrats to dominate American politics from the 1930s until nearly the end of 1960s.
It has only been one time since then when in a series of elections, one party had really totally dominated the youth folks, and that is the last five presidential elections, including last Tuesday’s, where the youth voting population has been broken about three-to-two Democratic.
The group now includes everyone under the age of 45, about 40 per cent of the total electorate. As the youths grew older, they stayed loyal to the Democratic Party and they voted more regularly. It is believed that the youths, who drove the Democratic Party in the 2020 election, are going to be around for a generation or more.
On the Republican side, the GOP has been heavily dependent on older voters. Unlike young voters, the older folks are not going to be around in a generation or two, which means that the wave is trending on the Democrats side.