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The U.S elections and after

by Vasudevan Jayanth
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It has perhaps been the most divisive election in the United States of America. The Democrats’ nominee Joe Biden might have won the election, but his rival and incumbent President Donald Trump has not conceded victory or accepted defeat. So the process is still not over and President Trump has filed a series of legal suits to contest the outcome.

Remember, in 2016, Trump won the required electoral college votes, but his opponent Hilary Clinton won the popular vote. The electoral process in the U.S is so complex and somewhat undemocratic.

Though Biden is getting on with the transition process, Trump and his White House will ensure it is not smooth. Biden not only won the traditional democrat strongholds but also cut into the Republican bases. He needed only 270 electoral college votes of the 538 from 50 States. But he won 290 already and may cross the 300-mark too. So what, asks Trump. He alleges these are “fake votes” through mail and post, since the Democrats swept these postal and mail-in ballots.

Whatever else we can learn from the US or the West, it is certainly not the electoral process. We can say without fear of contradiction, the Indian electoral system is the best.

It is so surprising that the losers do not go to the equivalent of our Election Commission, but to the courts, and in this case, Trump goes to the Supreme Court, which is packed with Conservative judges the last of whom was appointed two weeks ago!

Indian system the best

Whatever else we can learn from the US or the West, it is certainly not the electoral process. We can say without fear of contradiction, the Indian electoral system is the best. Any dispute during the process goes only to the Commission, not the court. It is only after the results are declared that a loser can challenge it in the courts. It gives us pride to have all election results within 24 or 36 hours, even after recounting. The Election Commission can hold repolling in booths where there are complaints and some evidence of fraud.

Along with the President, the Vice-Presidential nominee is also declared elected. In this case, Kamala Harris becomes the Vice-President to Joe Biden. There is no separate poll for that.

Kamala Harris

Though there have been week-long prayers and then celebrations in her ancestral village near Mannargudi in Tiruvarur district, Kamala Harris doesn’t pride in being of Indian origin. Of course, she fondly remembers her “Chithi” and other relations in India, who may even attend her swearing-in in January 2021. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan married a man from Jamaica, and so Kamala Harris becomes more of a “coloured” or African American, as much as she may be an Indian American.

So nobody can run away with the impression that she may be pro-India in her approach. Far from that, she may be a fierce critic on issues like Kashmir or human rights! (And who is to talk about human rights violations in the U.S all along, especially in 2020)

Age factor

Having been Barack Obama’s Vice-President for eight years, Biden may stick to some of the old policies. But the fact remains – no country can afford to ignore India. The U.S needs India as much as New Delhi wants Washington’s support on key international issues.

Another significant issue is Joe Biden’s age. He becomes the oldest American Head of State and is unlikely to contest the next election. So many believe that Kamala Harris will stake her claim in 2024. But she has to win the party nomination and then go through the election process.

These are going to be exciting days not just in the U.S but for the whole world. They will miss Trump for his theatrics and the cartoonists too may run out of ammunition.

 

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