Spanish – Will Joe Biden be the one elected, if the trend we see today is consolidated? Will Donald Trump manage to demonstrate to the judiciary that there were serious irregularities and succeed in going back in history and obtaining re-election? To this day, we don’t know. What we do know is that whatever happens, the next president, whoever he may be, will begin his term in a context of unprecedented delegitimization in the United States.
In February 2018, Alberto Benegas Lynch (h) published in Infobae his column Obama and the State of the Union, where he made a strong call of attention, “Since the time of the second Bush, I have been insisting that the United States has been ‘Latin Americanizing’ by leaps and bounds in the worst sense of the expression.”
The Argentine intellectual, an admirer of the project of the Founding Fathers (which in his opinion was lost long ago), had had this concern for a long time ago. Earlier, in 2009, the author had published The United States against the United States, with some regret and much warning.
Recent events, especially in the last few days, show that for some time now, there has been a process of political and institutional decadence that has been underestimated.
For the time being, the Northern giant has to clarify an outcome that, whatever it may be, will be challenged by a crack, which has nothing to envy Argentina. The profile of Donald Trump, who imposed himself on a Republican Party that could not stop him, ended up dividing a country with its lights and shadows. Instead of betting on sanity and a serious social democracy, the party across the street chose left-wing populism to make a difference.
Both forces would need to renew themselves, but the picture is complicated. The least traumatic would seem to be the reelection of the current president, who then, as a constitutional rule, should return home. But as the hours go by, Trump’s victory seems further and further away. If the Democratic Party takes over, the Pandora’s box may be opened.
The American opposition too much turned to the left at present, could considerably damage the country’s institutions. On top of that, this scenario would allow Trump to return in four years. While the Republican establishment does not want him, the current president has the backing of supporters, who would vote for him again in an eventual primary. All of this may last much longer than it seems at present.
Facts that contribute to the picture of delegitimization
There is one important factor before outlining an electoral scenario that you gave of the current one. It focuses on the resolution of the conflict that today has broken one of the most important democratic processes on the planet.
These presidential elections had, among other things, the particularity of record participation in more than 120 years. It is estimated that around 150 million Americans – of the almost 238 million who have the right to vote – went to the polls or sent their vote by mail in these elections, according to data issued by the US Election Project and collected by the LA Times.
Regarding the volume of the population that voted, another important fact comes up: at least 64.8 million of the votes were by mail. This is equivalent to a figure that is around 40% of the total that will continue to be counted until at least Tuesday when the count resumes in North Carolina.
At the moment, Trump is on a crusade to defend his position in the White House, which has already turned out to be a rocky one. Now, the siege is coming from all sides. His fight is not limited to the ballot box against his opponent, Joe Biden. The battle has spread to the courts of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada, to name a few.
The legal reason? The allegations of vote-counting fraud that his campaign team has claimed. Such tactics have exposed several increasingly glaring inconsistencies within the vote by mail process. This was the main concern raised by the Republican candidate since July. It is precisely today that this is the point that plays against him.
A fragile electoral system, a fragile mandate
Trump’s accusations of the U.S. electoral system – already tainted by inconsistencies in the system since August – have also been and will continue to be vetoed by the media, some more subversive than others about his statements.
The digital platforms have given way to the excuse that the U.S. president’s arguments are not based on any evidence. Twitter looks at him with a magnifying glass and caution, and so does Facebook. This has caused the Republican’s trenches to be gradually diluted, to be locked in increasingly narrow communicational territories.
However, the activation of this legal and communicational battery, driven by the always erected “anti-political” character of Donald Trump, will also bring its consequences: the distaste of the whole process that would lead him to stay for four more years in the White House in case of being elected as a winner.
There, he will live with the ghost of accusations, demands, and accusations of his actions, which may bring fragility to his mandate, which for now, is very far from what it was in 2016.