Who won the American elections?

ANDRE CAPPON
English Section /

Who won the American elections?
ANDRE CAPPON

On Saturday November 7, although technically the US Presidential election must be confirmed by the Electoral College in December, the media announced the result.

✓ Biden-Harris won against Trump-Pence:

✓ Popular vote was 50.6% vs 47.7%,

Electoral College results were: 290 vs. 214.

Biden - Harris won by taking a key "swing state", Pennsylvania, at the last minute, by a tiny margin: 0.5% or about 34,458 votes.

It was a very close election. In addition, there is suspicion of "rigged votes" or election fraud. Because of COVID, Americans were allowed, this time, to vote by mail rather than in person. Democrats urged their voters to vote by mail. This is complicated, because:

In the US, there is no unique "national ID". It may difficult to verify that each mail-in ballot belongs to a live citizen, eligible to vote (e.g. a felon may lose his political rights) and competent (e.g. someone else may fill-in the ballot for an Alzheimer patient in a nursing home). In addition, the mail-in ballots were due by Election Day as attested by the Post Office time stamp. There have been alleged cases of postmarks of mail-in votes being manipulated to meet the voting deadline.

Trump had already anticipated electoral fraud on the part of the Democrats; Democrats had vehemently denied it. We expect the Republicans to contest the election in the courts during the coming weeks.

For the time being, Trump has not conceded the election.

The Congressional election results are as follows:

House of Representatives: Total 435 seats. 218 needed for majority:

✓ Democrats 214 seats vs. Republicans 195 seats. Republicans gained a few seats. The Democrats' majority has eroded by a few seats

✓ Senate: Total 100 seats. 51 seats needed for majority.

Democrats 46 seats, independents 2 seats and Republicans 48 seats. Two remaining seats (Georgia) are still open and runoff elections are due in January 2021.

If they win in Georgia, Republicans will maintain Senate majority.

If they lose it and are tied with the Democrats, the situation will be difficult. If the two parties are tied on any vote, the Constitution enables the Vice President (Kamala Harris) to break the tie. This would mean the Democrats control the Senate.

A polarized country

During the 2020 campaign, the Democrats, who benefitted from lavish financial support of large donors, such as Silicon Valley firms and George Soros, had anticipated a big "Blue Wave". The pollsters had consistently claimed Biden was ahead of Trump by some 8-10 percentage points.

In reality, the Blue Wave never materialized. Biden-Harris won by a very thin margin in a couple of swing states. The United States remains very polarized, very fractious.

In fact, the voters gave Biden-Harris a fairly thin "mandate". It seems that many voters were simply "against Trump" rather than "for Biden". People may have primarily voted for the "lesser evil"...

The Democrat agenda

The Democrats' agenda has been presented in some detail during the campaign. Its key points are:

Domestic policy:

✓ COVID: Biden-Harris will mandate face masks and are probably prepared to accept more extensive and longer lockdowns

✓ Tax increases - focused on high-income individuals ( >$400,000/year), corporations. Biden wants to increase the capital gains tax to the same level as ordinary income tax, which is a major threat to wealth creation and retirement savings.

✓ Investment in infrastructure

✓ Health care reform - basically expanding Obamacare into a "government health insurance" for all; however, private insurance would survive

✓ Climate and Green Energy - prepare transition from fossil fuels to renewable "green" energy

✓ Education: tuition-free 2-year community colleges and tuition-free public university education for lower-income families.

✓ Increase minimum wage to $15 / hr

International Relations

✓ Multilateralism rather than bilateralism

✓ Rejoin multilateral treaties and organizations that Trump left (e.g. Paris climate agreement, World Health Organization)

✓ A friendlier relationship with China (although 70% of Americans now distrust China...)

✓ Probably attempt to renegotiate and rejoin the Iran nuclear deal (although it is clear Iran has been cheating all along...)

Bottom Line

The Biden-Harris program aims to move the United States to a more "socialist" or "social-democratic" model. About half the American people applaud this, while the other half fears it will dull the economic dynamism of the American economy.

In international relations, the Biden-Harris program is to return to Obama-era policies. Rather than confront its international challengers America will negotiate and cajole and "appease" them.

The American population remains highly polarized. A lot hinges on the control of the US Senate, which will be clarified in January.

For the time being, China seems to be the winner....

A joke from the 70s:

In the Kremlin, comrade Mikhail Suslov was in charge of ideology. Given that he was a man with scientific aspirations, he wants to investigate thoroughly whether it was possible to implement socialism in the US. That kind of research required on-site study, which is why Suslov appointed three comrades: a KGB agent, a Marxism-Leninism teacher and a Stakhanovist worker. He summoned them in the Kremlin and he told them:

«Comrades, I have chosen you because the party has full confidence in you. We will send you to America for one year, so you can carefully watch what is happening over there. When you come back, please tell us if it possible to implement socialism in America». The three left for the US.

One year later, Suslov was waiting for them in the Kremlin.

The first on the list, the KGB agent, failed to show up. He had defected.

The professor was up next.

Suslov: "Comrade, can socialism be implemented in America?"

The professor responded: "Absolutely impossible".

Up next was the worker. Suslov asked him: "Comrade, can socialism be implemented in America?"

The worker kept quiet for a while, thinking, and then responded:

"Truth be told it could be done...but it would be a damn shame".

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