A New President

Well it took a while to get there, but less than an hour ago all the major media networks in the USA “called” the result of the 2020 Presidential Election. It looks as if they were all waiting for Joe Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania to exceed the 0.5% threshold needed to rule out a mandatory recount. Once that happened, they all (CNN, CBS, Associated Press, et al – even Fox News) projected that Joe Biden had won. It had been looking that way for some time, but the press agencies wanted to be sure of their ground. Moments after the Pennsylvania result, AP and others also called Nevada in favour of Biden. The remaining tight race, in Georgia, can still go either way, but Biden now has enough electoral votes to be President Elect.

I’ve never felt happier to have lost a bet.

Congratulations to Joe Biden, and to everyone who helped his campaign. A special vote of thanks is due to Jo Jorgensen, the “Libertarian” candidate who polled considerably more votes in the key Swing States than Biden’s margin of victory…

The result is, among many other things, very good news for Ireland. Joe Biden is an Irish-American and we can be confident that he will not allow the Belfast Agreement to be sabotaged by Johnson & Gove. It’s not so good news for Boris Johnson but at least we’ll have the pleasure of seeing him twist in the wind until he resigns in a few months’ time.

Nobody expects Donald Trump to go quietly, however, and there’s no sign that he is going to concede. I think he’d be quite happy to watch his country burn rather than admit being a loser. Some patriot. I think the USA is now entering a very dangerous period in its history. It’s really a question of whether Trump’s entourage can persuade him to accept reality. I’m not sure they will be able to do that. Instead there’s a real possibility that Trump will try to encourage his followers to violent protest. At the very least we can expect him to issue a string of executive orders intend the sabotage the new President. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m more anxious about the next few weeks than I was about the election.

PS Can this evening’s TV schedule on RTÉ 2 really be a coincidence?

PPS. I watched “The Death of Stalin” last night and thought it was very good!

18 Responses to “A New President”

  1. “A special vote of thanks is due to Jo Jorgensen, the “Libertarian” candidate who polled considerably more votes in the key Swing States than Biden’s margin of victory…”

    Even if one detests the system, I fail to see the point in being a third-party candidate in a two-party system. Forget the fact that one can become President even if one gets fewer votes than someone else, forget the President’s brother being governor in a hotly contested state, forget the hanging chads and the court ordering to stop counting the vote: if Ralph Nader (an otherwise sensible guy who is famous for being a consumer advocate) had not run, we would have been spared George W. Bush. From Wikipedia: “In the 2000 presidential election in Florida, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by 537 votes. Nader received 97,421 votes”. Almost everyone who voted for Nader would have voted for Gore over Bush.

    • I also fail to see the point in voting for someone like that. Jorgensen pulled in more than a per cent of the votes, most of which would otherwise have gone to Trump. While I am happy that her voters unwittingly elected Biden, I was even more enraged when Nader’s run meant that the world got Bush instead of Gore.

      Despite the shenanigans of the swing states and so on (even worse than the swingometer in the UK), I doubt that electoral reform will even be discussed by those who could potentially implement it, let alone happen. If some third-world banana republic had such a system and called it democratic, it would be rightly ridiculed.

  2. “Joe Biden is an Irish-American and we can be confident that he will not allow the Belfast Agreement to be sabotaged by Johnson & Gove.”

    I’m not sure that Biden has anything to say about that, nor do I think that he should have anything to say about that. As with third-party candidates: they can work in your favour, but also against it, and it would be better to have a sensible system.

    A large fraction of U.S. Presidents are “Irish-American” in that they have Irish ancestors, simply because a large fraction of the U.S. population has Irish ancestors. One time I agreed with Trump was his “fake Pocahontas” accusation against Warren. Whether or not she has “Indian blood” (a concept which should have gone away with the Nazis) is beside the point; she wasn’t part of the Indian* community in any meaningful sense, and so the whole thing was just a misguided attempt to gain sympathy.

    I find it rather silly for American tourists to come to Ireland and go around proclaiming that their Irish because their great-great grandfather came from Ireland. But Ireland can’t complain as long as they give Irish citizenship based solely on ancestry. 😐


    * As the other Graham Greene said, “Indians call Indians Indians”. (In American English, “Indian” as in “American Indian” and “Indian” as in “Indian from India” are pronounced differently.)

    • telescoper Says:

      The Americans played an important part in the negotiation of the Belfast Agreement.

      But what I meant was that if the UK government wants a trade agreement with the USA it had better back off on its threat to ditch the Northern Ireland protocol of the EU withdrawal agreement.

      • OK, as opposed to the USA dictating policies elsewhere (which as been known to happen). I suspect that Biden will bring a sense of “normalcy” (a word coined by a U.S. President who apparently hadn’t heard of “normality” and which I heard on the news today) back to international politics in many areas, including this one. But I doubt that he would behave differently had he no Irish ancestors, as the last ancestor born in Ireland was his great-great grandfather, whom he never knew.

      • telescoper Says:

        Irish heritage is extremely important to those Americans who have it. And most of them know that the reason their ancestors left Ireland was the Great Famine.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    The Supreme Court of the State of Pennsylvania declared a little ahead of the election that, contrary to what had been put very clearly into law, votes arriving at the counters after the cutoff of 8pm on election day would nevertheless be counted. (They were.) An argument of unconstitutionality was lodged with the Supreme Court of the USA ahead of the election, together with a request that the appeal be heard that quickly. The request for speed was dismissed but the argument will still be heard soon. (Beware of confused statements that the argument was dismissed.) It will obviously be heard before presidential swearing-in. I believe the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had no authority to change the law as it did, but only to interpret the law or on occasion make it (common law style). You don’t have to love Trump to stand a little delay, only love democracy.

    • Certainly recounts would probably result in slight differences within the noise almost everywhere (in the USA, not necessarily elsewhere), and decisions like the one you refer to above might have a small effect. That is something very different than the massive and intentional fraud as claimed by Trump. It’s not just that I don’t like his politics, the man is either stupid or pretending to be so as to play up to his supporters. He has been criticizing mail ballots for months now, encouraging his supporters to vote in person (which he didn’t do himself), then thinks it strange that his lead could give way to a lead by Biden where mail ballots are counted after regular ballots. The Washington Post has documented about 20,000 lies told by Trump.

      As for Trump’s supporters, get a load of this one (actually employed at the White House as his spiritual advisor); do watch the whole thing:

    • The statements made by the officials conducting the election in Pennsylvania claim (a) such ballots which arrived after the election day but were postmarked to a valid time have been segregated and following the current Supreme Court opinion have not been counted among the votes that were sufficient to project Biden as the winner (b) the number of such ballots which are segregated are quite small and if added (I believe that is the current plan) to the current votes will have no effect whatsoever. If these are accurate, the issue is moot.

      However, suppose the officials are wrong. There was a good enough reason to allow the ballots to come in late this year due to the exceptional circumstances. It is possible that the PA judges did not have the appropriate authority to make the declaration … I don’t know the law. If the US Supreme Court declared that invalid then and there, it would be OK. But, having suckered citizens into thinking that their vote would be accepted even if it arrived after the election day by an authoritative body, and then disenfranchising them later on seems appalling. Maybe that is the letter of the law, but in that case it would one of the few cases where following that is a terrible travesty of justice, and horrible for democracy.

      • “There was a good enough reason to allow the ballots to come in late this year due to the exceptional circumstances.”

        And of course don’t forget Trump’s claims that postal votes are a means to fraud and his attempt to financially cripple the post office.

        My guess is that Trump will not leave voluntarily, but the battle will be relatively short. I predict that he will disappear and/or commit suicide.

    • telescoper Says:

      It may well be that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania erred in law by trying to implement a remedy to the people of Pennsylvania with regard to the attempt by the Trump campaign to sabotage postal voting. It will be important to establish the case law in this area as it may be needed in the next election. It probably won’t influence the outcome of this election as the number of ballots involved is very small.

  4. How the mighty have fallen:

    From a comment by someone else on another blog; I don’t usually look at Twitter, but this thread made me laugh a lot. So Drumpf’s reign ends with Giuliani and a few other talking heads spouting feeble conspiracy theories about vote rigging in the parking lot of a rundown looking landscape gardening business in some very downmarket part of Philadelphia, opposite an adult bookstore (with viewing booths) having a sale on sex toys and a crematorium.

    • telescoper Says:

      Apparently his staff thought they were booking the Four Seasons Hotel, but it turned out to be Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

      • Yes, probably. Maybe it was already booked and they didn’t want to pull out because of the negative publicity (not that that helped much). Independently of that, maybe they couldn’t book anywhere else. The landscaping place is probably happy for the additional publicity.

  5. Why is Trump still holding out? Probably because once he is no longer President, he has no immunity. There are several cases pending against him.

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