A President in ‘waiting’ | Daily News

A President in ‘waiting’

Joe Biden was within touching distance of becoming America’s 46th President, as this was being written, with the former Vice President flipping over the leads in the vote count maintained by incumbent Donald Trump in the crucial Battleground States with regular frequency.

Pennsylvania, which carries 20 Electoral College votes will turn out to be the prized scalp for both candidates in their path to the magical 270 figure. Biden who was poised at 253 Electoral College votes, on the final count, was only some 20,000 votes shy of the coveted landmark should he win Pennsylvania.

This is an indication that Democrats had largely heeded the advice of the Biden camp to opt for mail-in voting due to the Coronavirus pandemic while Trump who treated the contagion in cavalier fashion was against this course all along which he claimed was open to fraud and malpractice.

With Georgia, Arizona and Nevada also possibly following the trend a Biden victory certainly is all but confirmed. But how long will it take for Biden (if the vote indicates he had won) to be confirmed in Office? From the look of things America is on the cusp of a major political crisis and even civil unrest and likely to remain leaderless for some time if the intransigence of Donald Trump in refusing to accept the final outcome is taken further afield by challenging the result in Courts.

Efforts were underway by the Trump camp to halt the counting in the Battleground States of Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania on the basis that mail-in votes that arrived after Election Day were not acceptable although the practice was permitted under different State laws. With the Supreme Court which will adjudicate the matter tilted towards Trump it is anybody’s guess how things are going to pan out in the end.

America which prides itself as the foremost guardian of democracy and wishes the world to follow its system and governing ethics has instead set a dangerous precedent to the world by its leader who is refusing to quit office after being forced to do so through due democratic process (if indeed he is finally defeated).

All this, needless to say, will mean that the next American President will be a while from being unveiled, with commentators speaking in terms of weeks before the eventual winner will be declared, keeping the American public, nay, the world in suspense. The closeness of the race, no doubt, has added to the tensions.

The election itself was an intriguing one indeed and one that has surpassed anything in the history of American elections. It was being held amidst the deadliest pandemic to hit the world, which has already claimed the lives of more than a quarter of a million Americans. The closeness of the contest and the razor thin majorities that separated the candidates in many States is another unique feature.

It also made a mockery of all pre-election predictions and brought to ridicule all the so-called opinion polls, exit polls and other tabulations which all pointed to a landslide victory for Joe Biden. Trump may be the eventual loser (and a poor one indeed).

But equally it must be said that he gave his much fancied opponent a run for his money in the face of heavy odds. Almost all the media outfits worked against Trump and kept on mercilessly blackballing him for his handling of the Coronavirus. He was also roundly blamed for inciting racism and turning a blind eye to police excesses that resulted in the death of many Blacks.

With nearly 10 million COVID-19 cases in America and the mounting death toll, it is indeed remarkable for the President get so close to victory given the wreckage of the pandemic and the multiple forces arrayed against him. Certainly the “Black Lives Matter” movement appears to have had only a little impact on the electoral fortunes of President Trump. In fact, there is already talk of Trump doing a re-run in 2024 if he has to leave office now.

The election has left America a divided nation and the sooner its leaders get their act together the healthier it will be, not only for the American public but also for the world at large. This is because instability in the US may well be taken advantage by others, particularly rogue states to advance their hidden agendas and pose a threat to world peace. The instability also would reflect on world affairs in which America has been a dominant player, including the recent geo-political tensions in the South Asian region.

Of course, little is going to change in respect of American foreign and defence policy that are determined by separate agencies outside the orbit of the Executive. Hence, the issues that have dogged countries in our region and elsewhere will continue to remain in the geopolitical agendas of the world superpower.