People & Money

Why Trump’s “Solid Lead” Is “Magically Disappearing” State After State

Vice President Biden requires just 22 additional electoral college votes to make it to the White House. If Biden wins Nevada, where he is currently leading by over 7,000 votes, with its six electoral college votes then he would safely be in the White House. This assumes that the television networks are right that he has won Michigan.

 

The United States of America is the world’s oldest democracy; the Democratic Party was founded in 1792 and the Republican Party in 1854. The two parties largely have carved America’s 54 states into the so-called Blue and Red states, that is states in which each of the parties is dominant.

Election after election, decade after decade, the same party wins elections in the same states. Except for the so-called “swing states”, i.e. states in which votes could “swing” in favour of any of the two parties.

In the 2020 elections, the swing states are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Usually, it is known who has won American Presidential elections once the swing states announce results. In the last election in 2016, it was clear by 2:30 am that President Trump had garnered the 270 electoral college votes to become the next American President.

Also Read: U.S. Elections: Biden Ahead with Almost 240 Electoral Votes but Needs to Deliver Key States

Why is 2020 different? More than 24 hours after voting has ended, it is not yet clear if President Trump has been voted out of office or if the voters have rejected Vice President Joe Biden’s third bid for the White House.

The new coronavirus and the massive surge in postal votes

The new coronavirus pandemic has increased massively the number of early voters i.e. voters who send ballots mostly via the post office rather than vote in person on election day, from 34% in 2016 to 68%. There are hence millions of postal ballots to be counted and there is a battery of laws in each state specifying when and how they are to be counted.

Counting postal votes is a more complex process. Voters’ signatures on the ballots have to be carefully checked, then the ballot papers straightened before being inserted into the counting machines.  Some states allow postal ballots to be verified only after polls have closed.

All this is causing heartbreak for President Trump. More Democratic Party leaning voters than Republican leaning ones have sent in their ballots early. This is not surprising given that more educated people who tend to vote for the Democratic Party are likely to be more cautious about getting infected with the new coronavirus. As these votes are counted, the lead that President Trump has in many states is being cut.

 

This has led to tweets like this:

Also Read: The Curious Phenomenon of the Nigerian Trump Supporter- Dr. Femi Adebajo

Biden’s Race to 270, How the Swing States Are Swinging

Vice President Joe Biden now has 248 electoral college votes while President Donald Trump has 214. Biden has won Arizona and Wisconsin of the swing states above. There is not yet a clear winner in five states : Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Vice President Biden requires just 22 additional electoral college votes to make it to the White House.

Though not yet official, many television networks, including Fox News, ABC News and NBC News, have called Michigan, with its 16 electoral college votes for Vice President Biden.

If Biden wins Nevada, where he is currently leading by over 7,000 votes, with its six electoral college votes then he would safely be in the White House. This assumes that the television networks are right that he has won Michigan.

Vice President Joe Biden will win by an even bigger margin if he takes Pennsylvania with its 20 electoral college votes. President Trump’s lead in the state has fallen from over 600,000 on Wednesday morning to about 320,000 by 2 p.m.

Vice President Biden is confident of taking Pennsylvania because 100% of the votes yet to be counted are postal votes out which at least 65% have been sent in by  Democratic Party  voters.

The Trump campaign has gone to court in Michigan and Pennsylvania, asking for the ballot counting to be temporarily halted. According the Associated Press, “The campaign said it is calling for a temporary halt in the counting in both states until it is given “meaningful” access in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed. Trump is running slightly behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Michigan. The president is ahead in Pennsylvania but his margin is shrinking as more mailed ballots are counted”.

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