Long election week

Last week was very long. At least it felt that way. As with many others, I followed the US presidential election closely over that period. Who holds the US presidency matters greatly, because of the power and influence the US wields and exercises globally.

While not all results are confirmed, it is quite evident that Mr Biden has won this election. Even if Mr Trump were to win all the remaining battleground states yet to be called, which are Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina according to the New York Times, as well as Alaska, he would still need to challenge and be successful in overturning the outcome that has been already called, Pennsylvania for an outright win or Wisconsin for an Electoral College tie. Such a turn of events seems extremely improbable given the margins, and current projections suggest that Mr Biden will prevail in Georgia and also quite likely to do so in Arizona.

A nightmarish situation of the result hanging on a few hundred votes in one state has been avoided. I am old enough to remember what happened in 2000. Given the increased divisive and febrile partisanism in the past two decades, as well as Mr Trump’s character, a similar situation would have been extremely stressful for the American body politic.

However there may still be damage done to democracy, as Mr Trump keeps casting doubt on the fairness and legality of the process. Chipping away at the democratic legitimacy of elections is corrosive, as such a process will eventually deem all election outcomes suspect and contestable by the losing side. I would think and hope that democracy in America is sufficiently resilient and strong to withstand any efforts to undermine it by Mr Trump and his associates.

Testing times will continue for the US and the world, though with less bombast and fewer incendiary tweets.