Controversies trail US Presidential Elections

Joe Biden and Donald Trump

By Anayo Ezugwu

AS the world awaits the announcement of Joe Biden, Democratic Presidential candidate as the next President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump of the Republican Party is determined to challenge the outcome of the election. Although, no official announcement has been made on the winner of the presidential elections, Biden is leading in the Electoral College votes with 264 votes against 214 of President Trump.

The controversy trailing the US Presidential election started when Trump raised allegations of manipulations through Mail voting and not allowing his electoral observers access in the states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona. As a result of this, Trump said he would go to the US Supreme Court because he wants all vote counting to stop. “This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner,” he said. Trump has also demanded a recount in Wisconsin and called for the count in Michigan to be halted, on the grounds that its representatives did not have meaningful access. He repeatedly claimed that the routine counting of ballots after Election Day was somehow fraudulent.

According to the reports by The Guardian, President Trump campaign officials were reportedly supporting continued vote counts where the president was behind and vigorously opposing them where he was ahead. Trump also staged a rally of his supporters outside a convention centre in Philadelphia where votes were being counted, echoing Republican tactics to ‘stop the recount in Florida 2000,’ which helped win the election for George W. Bush.

The 2000 election was finally decided by the US Supreme Court, and on Wednesday afternoon, the Trump campaign also asked the Supreme Court to rule on its objections to an extended vote count in Pennsylvania.

But Biden’s campaign said it had legal teams ready to counter any lawsuits. “If the president makes good on his threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes, we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort, and they will prevail,” Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, said in a statement.

Biden has also urged Americans to be patient as votes were counted and said he and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, had no doubt that they would ultimately prevail. “It is the will of the voters, no one, not anything else, that chooses the President of the United States of America. So, each ballot must be counted, and that’s what we’re going to see going through now. And that’s how it should be. “Democracy is sometimes messy. It sometimes requires a little patience as well. But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that’s been the envy of the world,” he said.

As the counting of votes continues, Tunde Oseni, lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Relations, Lead City University, Ibadan, said it is better for Trump to allow the process to run through in the interest of American people. He believed that there are strong institutional measures that will help him seek redress if he thinks otherwise over the outcome of the election. “Politics largely is about power struggle and nobody wants to lose power. Nevertheless, the ability of an individual to determine what happens in a society depends on the capacity of the institutions. Even if President Trump does not want to leave office or does not want the votes to be counted, there are institutional measures that will control his interest.

“I think United States have institutions that can actually regulate Trump’s appetite for misinformation by extension being in power by all means. At the global level, many countries in the world have matured democratically, so people will not respect a government that is headed by an illegitimate occupier.  I think that in the best interest of both the domestic politics in US and the continued relevance of US as a democracy in the world, it is better for Trump to allow the process to run through and also allow the rule of law to take place.

“Rule of law is not one-sided. It is not only Trump that can go to court, Biden too, can go to court and I also learnt that a judge in Philadelphia has denied Trump ruling on recounting of the votes. Judges in US are guided by institutional principles,” he said.

On the international politics, Oseni blamed Trump administration of being one-sided in handling Middle East crisis. “If you look at the politics by Trump administration, it has always been one-sided. Anytime the administration says they have a plan for the Middle East peace between Israel and neighbours, it is always pro-Israel.

“There is nothing bad about being pro-Israel, but you have to know that in diplomacy, you cannot take a one-sided approach to have a two-sided solution, it is not possible. I think historically, Democratic Party government, which I also expect Biden government to look like has always been pro-peace and pro-diplomacy in the Middle East. I think that if Biden wins and sworn-in as a president, his administration will be more tactical, diplomatic and probably give more room for dialogue that is potentially beneficial to all parties concerned rather than forcing a one-sided plan on the parties involved in the Middle East.

“And for Africa too, I think the Biden administration is going to be more-friendly because the Democratic government has always been more-friendly with African governments than Republicans. It doesn’t mean that all Republican government is anti-Africa. But I think from experience that Democratic government is more liberal and more African-friendly than Republican government.”

On the economic front, emerging-market stocks are heading for their best weekly performance in five months after a turbulent week dictated by the possible outcomes to the presidential election. Stocks in the Asia Pacific region were mixed on Friday as Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock average added 0.91 percent to end at 24,325.23, hitting the highest level in 29 years, while the broader Topix index was up 0.52 percent to 1,658.49.

South Korea’s benchmark Kospi Index edged up 0.11 percent to close at 2,416.5. China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.24 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 0.09 percent after a 3.25-percent surge on Thursday.

– Nov. 6, 2020 @ 18:25 GMT |

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