US presidential elections: final result hangs in the balance

Tuesday 3rd of November marked the start of the American presidential election, to all intents and purposes a two-horse race run between Republican President Donald Trump (74) and Democrat former Vice-President Joe Biden (77) – who is fighting to become the 46th president of the United States. 

The evening commenced with an intense focus on a few selected states from the outset. 

With polls immediately looking tight, it was thought that if Biden could secure both North Carolina and Florida, the democrats could easily achieve the 270 seats needed in the Electoral College to win. 

However, Trump is projected to have won Florida, based on exit polls. 

Florida has always had a pertinent role in the election result, and as a vital swing state, no Republican has won the presidency without the support of Florida since 1924.

As well as this tradition, Trump walked into the voting with another reputation on the line, seeking to avoid becoming the first incumbent president to lose a re-election fight since George HW Bush in 1992.

The polls closed early in Indiana and Kentucky, while elsewhere Americans added their ballots to over one hundred million postal votes; Biden was initially presented with a broad lead.

However once again commentators and politicians alike found themselves returning to the swing states, where issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic had only appeared to complicate what was already becoming a precarious election night. 

Ohio, for example, played a crucial role, with the state’s result mirroring the greater election result every cycle since Nixon – this year it once again voted Republican.

Due to Covid, there has been a record number of postal and early voting with this election on course for the highest turnout in more than a century.

Early turnout is however seen as unproportionally Democratic, with more Republican voters historically opting to vote in person. 

As the night continued, Americans saw how this meant that exit polls and predictions were more left leaning than reality depicted.

Perhaps the biggest controversy of the election was President Trump’s speech Wednesday morning, in which he was depicted celebrating prior to the election result being released. 

Walking into fanfare, the first family stood at the White House in front of their supporters and praised states such as North Carolina and Pennsylvania for their Republican support despite the official ballots not yet being fully counted.

The rhetoric of Trump’s speech has been viewed as democratically damaging, with political commentator Ben Shapiro tweeting, “No, Trump has not already won the election, and it is deeply irresponsible for him to say he has.”

Arguably the most concerning moment of the short briefing from a political point of view was Trump’s dismissal of a Biden victory, saying if his opponent were to win, it would be “fraud”. 

Many Americans fear that Trump could be inclined to take the election result to the Supreme Court for illegitimacy should Biden ultimately prove victorious. 

Indeed, Dominic Raab, UK Secretary of foreign affairs, told the BBC that were this to happen, it would be a “very awkward moment for the UK government.” 

Regardless, Americans will now have to wait longer than anticipated to see who wins this election, as some states suddenly stopped counting the votes throughout the evening, puzzling journalists and politicians alike. 

The state of Georgia, for example, paused their ballot counting with only ten per cent left of the remaining votes to complete, meaning that a finite result still has not arrived.

Similarly in Nevada, where Biden is predicted to have a narrow lead, a result has not been forthcoming.

The results for two of the key ‘battleground’ states – Georgia and Pennsylvania – are yet to be determined. 

As things currently stand, Biden is narrowly in the lead, with 253 electoral college votes to Trump’s 214.

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