2020 US Elections

No clear winner yet as the United States awaits its new president

We wait, suspended in time, to find out who the next president of the United States will be. The results as they stand show a divided country.

The scenario was possible, perhaps even likely. And it came to pass. Polls are now closed and the United States of America still doesn’t have a new president. Neither candidate, so far, has reached the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure a victory. Several swing states, such as Pennsylvania, are still counting mail-in ballots, many of which might not even have been delivered yet. A significant portion of these is believed to be favour the Democrats, whose voters have generally been more inclined to choose safer, remote forms voting to protect public health.

At 23:00 US Eastern Time, the stalemate looked almost certain. CNN announced that only 18 per cent of mail-in votes had been counted in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania. The remaining 82 per cent remained to be tallied. Therefore, its 20 electoral college votes can’t yet be claimed by either candidate. Michigan and Wisconsin share a similar fate. Just before 03:00, the Biden campaign received some good news from Arizona, where voters overturned the 2016 result, giving the candidate a further 11 electoral college votes.

early voting, United States elections
Early voting isn’t new in the United States, but record-high turnouts have been recorded this year © J. Countess/Getty Images

It’s not yet time for analyses and post-mortems about the fates of winners and losers. The feeling is that of being suspended in time. One that perhaps might not be too unfamiliar, after the time spent in lockdown due to the pandemic. We’re more used to being patient, to waiting. Of the many things this strange, strange year has taught us, the lesson we’re reminded of today is that the exception could very well become the rule. In 2020, the theatre of the absurd just keeps playing.

In this case, however, the new normal could once more take the form of the old man, alone and in charge, who opened a new chapter of American history by storming the White House more like a tornado than a breath of fresh air. Talk about extreme weather events.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Nothing is as it seems. Anything can happen, still. Even the possibility of no one winning hangs in the air.

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