Decoding one of the most important elections of this century
Curious Case of COVID aims to explain and guide our readers through the entire process going behind the United States Presidential Elections. Even if you have not kept up with the news, the following article places everything before you, in a nutshell.
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Joe Biden won the 2020 US Presidential elections after an eventful and tumultuous four years under one of history's most polarizing figures, Donald Trump. Voting for the race began in September; with a historic number of people turning up to cast their deciding vote.
The election results were supposed to be out on the 3rd of November, 2020, as per schedule. However, anyone who was invested in the elections knew that the agenda seemed chaotic. The elections dragged on for about four more days, a gruelling battle causing the entire world to sit on the edge of their seats.
The elections in the United States operate with the help of an electoral college. The 50 states, plus Washington DC, are given several electoral college votes, adding up to a total of 538 votes. More populous states get more electoral college votes than smaller ones. A candidate needs to win 270 electoral college votes (50% plus one) to win the election.
Due to these rules, a candidate can win the election without getting the most votes at the national level. This happened during the last (2016) elections, in which Donald Trump won a majority of electoral college votes although more people voted for Hillary Clinton across the US.
The Associated Press is an American non-profit news agency which has been "calling" the elections for decades now. Most newspapers, including the Guardian and the Wall Street Journal, wait for the Associated Press to call a winner in a particular state when the other candidate has no path to victory. They can call the winner in a particular state even when 100% of the votes have not been calculated.
Swing states played a key role; as per usual, in the US Presidential Elections. Known as battleground or purple states, this is where the pressure between the Democrat and Republican parties heighten. Electoral data reveals that between 2000 and 2016, 38 states voted for the same political party in five presidential elections. It is the remaining 12 that have changed loyalties. The most scrutinised states in this year's presidential elections included Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina. Arizona last voted Democratic for President in 1996, but the state has become increasingly competitive as the Hispanic share of the electorate has grown. The Democrats managed to gain several seats in the 2018 midterms here. Florida is the most populous swing state and has decided the election results every year since 1964. Biden managed to flip three of the swing states, failing which we would have seen a different winner.
As states kept being called, frantic research regarding a particular state became ever so frequent. Not a swing state, Nevada emerged as one of the key states to declare the Presidential elections. Worth six electoral college votes, it became essential for either of the candidates to win there. Biden emerged to be the winner, according to the Guardian.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a senator from California and a former prosecutor, has a track record in breaking new ground. Now, she is the first woman, first Black person and first person of Asian descent elected to the United States' second-highest office.
Amid the US Presidential elections, the pandemic seems to be raging in the United States. With over ten million cases and over two hundred and fifty thousand deaths, the virus continues to become deadlier. The coronavirus is a frightening disease, mutating and affecting people of different age groups, immunity, development etc. In a scenario like this, President Trump fails to reiterate the fact that the pandemic is deadly and needs adequate protection and safety. Joe Biden, on the other hand, identifies the destructive effects of the virus and choosing to not put it aside during his campaign, but make it one of his most important policies. Biden seems to have a better approach and plan to battle the virus, which Trump seems to lack even after eight months of the pandemic.
The candidates of the US Presidential elections were controversial. Donald Trump managed to divide a nation so culturally diverse. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris might not be ideal candidates, but the battle for most Americans was different. Someone as right-winged and rigid as Donald Trump, the world would have come to a standstill. As a nation, they have work to do. As Democrats, they should target the voters who voted for Trump and help battle the coronavirus. For the world, we can now sit back and not stare at the map of the United States, hoping for Nevada to be called.
Written by Shreya Datta
Design by Carissa Tran