Voting to either choose a new President in Joe Biden or stick with Donald Trump for his second term has begun in the US amid the chaotic environment, due to the pandemic and the misinformation regarding in-mail voting.
Voters were urged to vote early, especially through mail-in ballots, to avoid queues as part of coronavirus pandemic protocol. More than 99.5 million early votes have been cast so far.
The polling has started today for 50 states, and the new President will take his position from the start of New year. Due to the nature of the American Electoral System, the polling only decides the members of the houses who in turn can vote for President and Vice President.
In 2016, when it seemed that Ms Hilary Clinton of Democratic party would emerge as the first women president of America, the cards were changed by the final voting of members of the United States Congress making Mr Trump, a strong and controversial figure as the President.
It is no strange that US Presidential Elections have an impact on the world, especially on the economy, finance, geopolitical stance and much more. The 2020 elections are fought not only for one of the strongest and influential seats in the world but also on an ideological basis, which changes the future course of America.
Ideological stance of Biden and Trump:
Mr Biden, former vice president and the candidate from the Democratic Party, wishes to undo the Mr Trump rule in every possible manner. He wants to “Build back better America” in the most moderate or centrist Democratic tradition.
On the other hand, Mr Trump coming from conservative Republican party, believes in the unrestricted use of executive power. He wants to make “America Great Again”. In his speech at UNGA, he justified “I have rejected the failed approaches of the past, and I am proudly putting America first, just as you should be putting your countries first.”
The ideology differs on the meaning of the adjective “better” and “great” when Mr Biden said “Better”, it not only means to change the Republican Government but to build it better as it was in the eyes of the world, i.e. globalism. While Mr Trumps “Great” focuses America for Americans, to develop again a great country based on strong nationalism.
Composition of electoral college:
Media and Agencies have begun speculating the polls by popular opinions and sentiments to judge the outcome of December results.
It is necessary to understand that Americans today won’t be directly voting for President; instead, they will vote for the electoral college, i.e. members of the United States Congress (USA parliament) who in turn in December will vote for President.
As the USA has a bicameral legislature, the electoral votes are dived between Senates and Representatives. Conclusively, the number of members allocated to each state plays a pivotal role. Every state has 2 senates, and a different number of representatives as the later depends upon the population. Some states have a bigger say to decide the President by having more allocated members of the house of representative (lower house) who forms a crucial part in the electoral college.
The total 538 members of the electoral college are divided into 100 senates. The rest 435 is elected to the house of representative and an extra 3-member vote is from Washington DC due to its peculiar nature of being a federal district.
Party’s influence in different states:
It’s not the popular vote that matters, but the electoral college. For the victory to White House, a candidate must secure at least 270 electoral votes. California has the maximum electoral votes of 55 followed by Texas with 38 electoral votes.
Alaska, which is the largest USA state, has only 4 electoral votes due to less population and thus less representation. The candidate who succeeds in New York and Florida have 29 votes each toward the race to get 270. Illinois and Pennsylvania each also have 20 votes.
Thus, the race is to capture populous states to get maximum votes. Mr Trump’s 2016 paved his successful way by the votes of Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania, which accounted for 82 votes alone out of 270 margins.
Red and blue states:
The “Democratic blue” and “Republican red” colour scheme is now part of the lexicon of American journalism. The democratic and Republican have historical influence over certain states. For example, California and New York have most of the time preferred a democratic candidate whereas Texas, Nebraska or Arizona has chosen Republican.
It is also related to the demography. The states which are at the national border faces influx migrants as compared to other parts. Thus, Texas would want nationalism and opt for Mr Trump. Also, conservative states are heavily invested in the secondary sector such as Texas, Louisiana or Wyoming. They wouldn’t want restrictions on their business and thus support Republican for its conservative attitude towards climate and other deregulations.
Texas hadn’t voted for a democratic leader since 1976, and same could be said about Florida except for two elections where Mr Barak Obama was the democratic leader. Similarly, New York and Washington hadn’t voted for a Republican candidate since 1984.
2020 – could be a game
2020 is a crucial year due to several issues such as COVID-19 pandemic, protests in reaction to the police killing of George Floyd, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett; and the future of the Affordable Care Act and thus many states may have a change of heart while choosing their leader.
Dominant republican state such as Texas, Florida and North Carolina according to the media polls have become a tossup, meaning, there is 50-50 chance for both democrats and Republicans.
The following report from cook official indicates speculations:
Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris an Indian origin, is having an appeal to the multiple ethnic diversity of the USA with Indian-Americans supporting “Biden-Harris” in full swing.
Concerning sovereign territory, India must be prepared for both Mr Trump and Mr Biden for its optimal future diplomatic relations.
Recently, a week before the election, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of state, visited India over Indo-U.S. 2+2 Dialogue 2020. The outcome of the dialogue was the signing of BECA Indo-US Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for geo-spatial co-ordination. It covers significant defence access to both the states for combatting territorial and naval enemies.
From Howdy-Modi to Namaste Trump, bilateral relationships among the nations have increased. However, if Mr Biden and Ms Harris come to power, a similar and thoughtful approach needs to be used.
As India is stuck between a geopolitical issue from naval and territory side, the USA and its multilateral ties play a big role to the South Asian continent and Indo-Pacific Ocean.
Will it be “America Great Again” by Donald Trump or “Build Back Better” by Joe Biden?
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