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US election live blog: The winner will take all by a whisker – News

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Lawsuits and street protests will only prolong the agony.


10.35pm – America staring at a constitutional crisis

(By Sreenivasa Reddy, Allan Jacob, Anamika Chatterjee & Suresh Pattali)

It looks almost certain that the suspense over the US election result may not be over today. In Pennsylvania where Trump’s lead is narrowing, a series of lawsuits have been filed and some orders have been obtained for stopping the count in certain counties. So the result here will drag on. According to Reuters/Edison, Trump’s lead has plummeted to 115,000 from over 600,000 on Wednesday morning after 92 per cent of count.

In Nevada, hopes are receding for Trump as Biden expanded his lead from over 7,000 to 11,000 after 84 per cent votes were counted.

In North Carolina, Trump is in a comfortable position with over 79,000 lead after 95 per cent count.

In Georgia, Trump has a lead of 14,000 after 98 per cent count. It remains to be seen if he will retain his lead after the remaining 2 per cent of votes are counted. In Arizona, the counting has been postponed to Friday with Biden enjoying over 68,000 lead after 86 per cent of votes were counted.

Unless the results in all these five states are conclusively resolved, there is no way of knowing who will be the next president of the United States. And that is not going to happen anytime soon. Lawsuits and street protests will only prolong the agony and may spark a constitutional crisis in the world’s oldest democracy.

At the moment, both Biden and Trump enjoy paths to victory, though the latter’s chances are dimming.

7.35pm – The winner will take all by a whisker

(By Allan Jacob)

It’s not over yet. 48 hours after polling ended, the US electoral system is struggling to throw up a winner. Blame it on excessive federalism where the states take charge of the counting of ballots. Slow and steady does it but people are losing it. Some are on the streets. States have their independent systems in place and the process is decentralised, which only makes it complicated in a contest such as this that is on a knife-edge.

The counting of votes is a nuts and bolts operation which makes the wait for a winner excruciatingly long and stressful for voters and the world. People are glued to their screens. Results from Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia are awaited. Every vote counts amidst claims of voter fraud that have been raised by the president.

There have been calls for recounts too. The longer the counting, the higher the suspicions in both camps. And the closer the race gets, the more it is in danger of being wrecked by the candidates who could question the system itself.

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump are hanging on for they know it’s not over yet. Conceding the race appears out of the question. It’s a winner takes all by a whisker approach which is raising tension. We only hope it doesn’t get out of hand on the streets. All bets are off in the race.


3.22pmHow Trump can still win this election

(By Sreenivasa Reddy)

As I said on Wednesday, all hope is not lost for Trump. There is still a narrow window open for the incumbent president to wrest victory.

It will depend on which way Arizona and Nevada will go. In the traditional Republican stronghold of Arizona, Joe Biden’s performance surprised everyone. Apparently, recently-migrated Latinos tilted the scales in his favour. According to CNN, only 86 per cent of votes have been counted. Biden at the moment has a margin of nearly 70,000 votes. Technically, there is a possibility for Trump to undo this small lead. Most of the news networks have already put Arizona’s 11 votes in Biden’s account. That is why there is variation in final tallies. But there is some hope for Trump here.

In Nevada, Biden enjoys a small margin of 7,000 votes. This can change once the counting commences later in the evening. The six votes of this small state will see Trump through if he retains his present leads in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia. So we are headed for another evening of suspense. This could be one of the closest US elections ever.


Thursday, 11:30am – Trump should read the writing on the wall

(By Allan Jacob)

The tide is turning in the US election in favour of Joe Biden. President Donald Trump should accept the verdict after all votes are tallied and avoid a legal battle which will only plunge America into more uncertainty. The world still needs America’s moral leadership. Chaos in its democratic process will do much damage to the global order, more so during the pandemic. Good leaders know when it’s time to step down. Trump has had his successes and failures during his stint in the White House. He may have received more flak than plaudits for his style of functioning as president. The media hounded him and he responded on social media. He gave as good as he got. It may be time to move on, gracefully.


Wednesday, 10.27pm – Trump or Biden, who will blink first?

(By Allan Jacob)

Two old faithfuls slugging it out for the presidency. Both seniors gave it their all. Well done, both. One of them must now concede and bow out with grace. It’s time to throw in the towel which is the honourable thing to do. It’s been a long wait for the results and these elections must not be fought on the streets or in courts as it would inflict damage on the voters’ psyche. Joseph R. Biden and Donald J. Trump have been worthy foes and their voters deserve better than a political and legal slugfest. The pollsters got it wrong in the first place, and the gullible fell for their wares. Now the two presidential foes and their supporters must confront the reality about victory and defeat. Some swings states are leaning towards Biden, and that should give him confidence against the President. However, all’s not lost for Trump, but who will blink first is the question? A street battle is not what the voters want; they want victory through the ballot, and the two contenders shoulder a great responsibility and should prevent a long-drawn legal battle that would lead to a loss of confidence in the electoral process and democracy.


7.27pm – Donald Trump prevails against the media

(By Anamika Chatterjee)

A magazine cover with a tattered American flag and a headline screaming, ‘Why it has to be Joe Biden’. Editorial after editorial running in mainstream newspapers enumerating the dangers of Trump 2.0. Multiple cartoons and jokes caricaturing the POTUS. The liberal media came out to state, in no uncertain, terms how another Trump presidency could damage the foundational values of America. And yet, here we stand, with the POTUS and Joe Biden going almost neck-to-neck in the most hotly debated, aggressively contested elections in American history. We do not know how the finale will shape up. But as we watch all the twists and turns unfold, it gives the media an opportunity to introspect and understand if we always have our ear to the ground. Largely, they do. From exposes on his financial disclosure to his routine undermining of important institutions in the country, the media had done its job well in closely scrutinising and questioning the ethical positions of POTUS. But did it really read the voters’ mind? Did it really understand why the Trumpian rhetoric resonates despite its obvious intellectual and argumentative flaws? With the largest turnout of the electorate ever in the United States, a closely contested election like this one proves the voter is not always as angular in his or her thinking as we imagine them to be. Do we always read the mind of this voter? If the pattern of voting is anything to go by, then maybe not. Irrespective of the outcome, the media may have done well in speaking truth to power, but the ground realities will always take them by surprise.


12.55pm – Going head(line) to head(line) with Trump

(By Suresh Pattali)

In 2016, headlines in extra bold were ready in newsrooms even before Election Day. Editors across the world were excited because America was on the verge of creating history by electing the first woman president. Millions of women across the world were glued to the television to see the glass ceiling crumble down. It never happened despite Hillary winning the popular vote. American newspapers scrambled to change their headlines on premade templates. There are some lying on my desktop too: IT’S HILLARY, PRESIDENT HILARY, HILLARY MAKES HISTORY. Fast forward to 2020, no one took a chance because we realised THIS MAN is unpredictable. So what’s the headline tonight, guys? OOPS! I DID IT AGAIN?


12.01pm: Trump’s nightmare scenario

(By Allan Jacob)

The president jumping in to claim victory is the nightmare scenario that many experts had warned about. Now that it has happened, all eyes will be on the Biden camp and the Supreme Court.

The vote count must be allowed to continue and the SC should let the process come to its logical end. The voters should determine the winner of this election and not a president who is impatient to keep his post even before the votes are counted.


11: 50am: Trump claims victory, wants court to stop vote counts

(By Allan Jacob)

US President Donald Trump has turned the election on its head as some had feared. The battle could now spill into the streets and in the US Supreme Court. He has claimed victory and alleged fraud in the electoral process, seriously allegation in the world’s most powerful democracy. And it’s coming from a sitting president who is still in a tight race. It might not end well for America if the Supreme Court stops the vote count as sought by Trump. Such an act could plunge the country into a constitutional crisis that would take a long time to resolve.


10:38am – This race is down to the wire and last vote

(By Sreenivasa Reddy)

What has been feared has come true. The election is too close to call and will go down to the wire. The much trumpeted Biden wave has not happened. Democrats are winning in most of the traditional strongholds. So are Republicans. Not much of a surprise there. But in key nine swing states, TV reports say Trump is leading in seven of them. This should give hope to Trump camp. Winning a state like Pennsylvania is a big thing. At present with 97 per cent votes counted in the key state, Trump is clearly ahead of Biden. In Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin too, Trump seems to be doing well. Let us hope we do not have to wait for the count of last of postal votes for the results to emerge. At the moment all hope is not lost for Trump.


10am – Joe Biden’s bravado could fuel tensions in close race

(By Allan Jacob)

Joe Biden did not concede when he should have done it to spare America the pain of what could be an agonising wait for final results. He still believes he is on track to win the election though the numbers are not in his favour and Trump could have an advantage in the swing states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Keep the faith, he said. Sounded more like bravado than a victory speech or a even concession. A bullish-sounding Biden gave a lot away and appeared to be bracing for a fight if the race does indeed go to the wire. Battleground state votes could be delayed into Thursday and tensions could flare on the streets. It’s important to see the writing on the wall to prevent a violent fallout. There are winners and losers but Joe should spare us the fake bravado. Worse, he sounds more like Trump.


6:45 am- America’s vote for a peaceful presidency

(By Allan Jacob)

Early leads could be misleading in an election that is set to go down to the wire. Every state matters, each vote counts. The swing states could determine the fate of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The Rust Belt should also be watched closely with Biden appealing to White working class voters. Trump has much to lose in the southern states. If he holds them together, he has a clearer shot at victory. However, the worry for Trump should White working class voters who may have switched to the Democratic camp. The positive takeaway from the polling was that there was no violence which many experts had predicted. America was on its best behaviour on polling day. We hope it remains the same when the results are announced.

The pandemic may have turned the tables this election, but it seems FLOTUS Melania Trump is yet to come to terms with the new normal.

In October, she had contracted Covid-19. So imagine the shock she must have inspired when she walked down the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Centre in Palm Beach County, Florida, to cast her vote without wearing a mask.


While there weren’t any voters around the time Melania visiting the polling booth, her aides and other security staff were wearing masks.

The five minutes spent entering and exiting the premises, the FLOTUS greeted journalists and assured them she was feeling alright. The pandemic has, so far, already claimed more than 230,000 lives, and the total number of cases is close to 9.5 million. As the country reels under the devastation of the pandemic, the sight of a maskless Melania is one of the many reminders of how the healthcare situation has been undermined.

11:37pm- Joe Biden, the insider, fancies his chances

(By Allan Jacob)

It’s hard to imagine what a Biden presidency would be like with Kamala Harris as his vice-president. Joe, if one could call him that, is an insider, who’s remained No. 2 for most of his political life.

His best shot at the presidency was in 2016, but the Democratic know-it-alls plumped for Hillary Clinton, who shockingly lost the election to Donald Trump. Some may say Biden is over the hill at 78. Trump , who considers himself a macho man at 74, calls the former Veep ‘Sleepy Joe’.

How much of the presidency would Biden control if he makes it to the White House? He is an experienced hand but he’s not what young America would want. But they didn’t have a choice, did they? If the Republicans are a party of old-White Conservative faithfuls led by an outsider to D.C, the Democrats have an insider who’s seen it all in politics, except the top prize. This could be chance if voters have their say through the ballot.

His leads may be encouraging, but Hillary’s loss four years ago is also playing on minds. Biden could steady America’s social ship that is sailing in choppy waters if Trump doesn’t kick up a storm if he loses. But then, Trump has to be vanguished to prevent him from sinking Biden’s ship.


9:02pm-Will Trump exit the scene quietly?

(By Sreenivasa Reddy)

The world is waiting with bated breath as Americans line up to choose the next president. Most probably, all of us in the UAE will wake up to news about the new president of the US tomorrow morning, unless it is a very close contest in battleground states. If Trump wins, it will be more of the same.

We will have entertainment aplenty. No shortage of headlines. But if he exits the scene, Biden will usher in an old style, cool but hard-headed diplomacy. No scope for entertainment and sensationalism. We have to read between the lines for the headlines. But will Trump exit the scene quietly, without a fight? I doubt he will. He has given enough indications. He once said he cannot think of living in a country ruled by Biden and talked of leaving the country for good.

Will right-wing white militias — about whom we are hearing a lot — create some nuisance? Will there be a law and order problem? We have to wait and see.


7:34pm: Why the shadow of Trump presidency will not be erased easily

(By Anamika Chatterjee)

When 100 million people come out to vote, you know it is change they seek. One of the most hotly contested elections in American history, 2020 will have important lessons for whoever takes the mantle hereon.

In the four years of Trump presidency, the very idea of America stood tweaked. From leading the global order, it began looking inwards in an endeavour to make the country “great again”. It also spiralled a process of othering those who affected the prospects of the American people. Western liberalism was deemed ineffectual for the modern age. From Twitter outbursts to dismissing the pandemic as hoax to the mystery revolving around his financial disclosure, the four years have also seemed like one long season of The Apprentice.

Whoever takes the mantle from Mr Trump, either now or a few years later, will be tasked with undoing the spectacle that the POTUS has consciously and unconsciously provided to the world. The challenge will not simply be to reclaim the role it once played in global polity, but to reassess why liberal values could be so easily undermined during the Trump years. It will not simply be about action, but also introspection.

5:14pm- Tiny virus is Trump’s bigger foe

(By Allan Jacob)

How did the US come to this, one wonders. A nation that cannot see eye to eye. Our correspondent in the US mentioned the mood was gloomy. There’s suspicion all around. Much as one would like to call President Trump unpredictable and polarising, he has played to his strengths as a businessman-politician making deals.

He was on top of things on the economic front till the pandemic struck. He saw the warning signs but didn’t prepare America for it. That should rank as his biggest failure. In January, Trump would have run away with the election. Today, his bigger foe is in fact a tiny pathogen and not Joe Biden.

The administration’s inability to check the spread of the coronavirus could prove to be the diference between victory and defeat.


3:20pm-Trust the American voter

(By Allan Jacob)

The polls have predicted their winner – Joseph Biden Jr. But Donald J. Trump will not go down without a fight. He’s combative and out to prove the pollsters wrong and get even with what he calls the fake media.

Agenda-driven journalism has widened the divide in America when the country needed healing. The media is also partly to blame with many becoming mouthpieces of the Democrats or the Republicans and their donors.

This election, if a victor doesn’t emerge, by a landslide, will sink into a a deeper ideological war that could eat into a vitals of its American society. The American voter is smart and is sure of what he or she wants. They think on they feet and have made up their minds. May the best man win.







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