The result of yesterday’s American Presidential election remains too close to call this evening, but with Joe Biden edging ahead in the final few States yet to declare, Donald Trump is mounting a series of legal challenges in the Courts. His impending defeat, subject to any Supreme Court rulings, are largely due to his catastrophic mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump is actively trying to stop votes from being counted, and making false claims that Democrats are stealing victory from him by launching tweet after tweet after tweet in an attempt to delegitimize the election.
He’s filed lawsuits to stop the vote count in Pennsylvania and Michigan without evidence of wrongdoing. And he gave an early Wednesday address in which he prematurely claimed victory even though there were millions of votes to be counted in battleground states. Seeing a leader aim to subvert the electoral process in an attempt to maintain power is the kind of behaviour the US government would condemn if it were happening in any other nation. But it’s not. It’s happening here.
During the election, some States are seeing record levels of infections and some hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed. On, Friday, the US hit more than 99,000 new cases in a single day. More than 48,000 are currently hospitalised with covid-19. On average, 800 deaths are being reported each day. This can only get worse as winter approaches, and more people gather indoors.
The US’s death toll remains the highest in the world in total numbers. America is fourth for Covid-19 deaths, when allowing for population size, among the world’s 36 developed nations, with almost six times the death rate as the median developed country. If the US had the same death rate as Canada, over 140,000 more Americans would likely be alive today.
Clare Wenham, a global health policy expert at the London School of Economics and Political Science, told me last month. “So you can really see the impact of different policies that were launched.” The US’s performance “is a testament to failures of the Trump administration.”
The key policies that are critical to fighting Covid-19: social distancing, testing and tracing and isolating, and the wearing of masks were rejected by Trump. Instead, he demanded that States open up early and quickly, devolving test and trace programmes to local and state governments without central support, and mocking and questioning the wearing of masks.
How long could it take for us to know who won the election?
There are six main battleground states whose voters will likely determine the outcome of the election: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. These states can be split into two groups — states that have been able to count the vote quickly, and states where it could take much longer to know the outcome.
Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina fall into the first category. (Florida and Arizona, in particular, have used vote-by-mail extensively in the past and officials there are familiar with how the system works.) We already know the results from Florida, which was called relatively early for Trump on Tuesday. North Carolina still has mail-in ballots to count, and Arizona’s results aren’t in yet.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are a different story. Republican state legislatures in all three states refused to let election officials start processing ballots early (it should be noted that this isn’t a partisan issue everywhere, since Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina also have state legislatures controlled by Republicans). Still, Michigan and Wisconsin finished counts on Wednesday.
In the remaining swing states, there is a possibility early in-person voting is making it appear a closer race for Trump than final totals will reflect. It’s good to keep in mind that it could take many hours — if not days — to count mail-in ballots and get the full picture of who has won.
Counting all the votes is not fraud
Heading into the election, it was pretty clear that President Trump was poised to engage in some shenanigans to try to cast doubt on any potential unfavorable outcomes to him, and even potentially falsely claim he’d won. And that’s what he did.
In remarks early Wednesday, Trump said he’d already won in Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, even though those states have not yet been called. He said the election reflected “major fraud in our nation,” and suggested he will take the matter to the Supreme Court. Twitter and Facebook wound up having to label his false claims that the election is being “stolen” and that no votes can be counted after the polls close.
To be clear, there is not widespread election fraud going on, nor is the election being stolen from the president. States are just counting the votes.
This isn’t to say that Trump can’t win the presidency, or that Biden can’t. Obviously, it would be nice to have more clarity on the outcome right now. But we don’t, so we have to wait. Click full source