In a matter of days from now, the world will possibly come to know whether Donald Trump will get to continue for another four years at the White House or whether it will be Joe Biden who is inaugurated in January as the new US president.
While Election Day officially arrives on Tuesday in the US, this year more than 95 million Americans have already cast their ballot — which is more than two-thirds of the total number of people who voted in the 2016 US presidential election.
Amid initial fears that the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed more than 236,000 Americans and infected around 9.5 million of them — will keep US voters away and throw the election process and logistics into jeopardy, the numbers today suggest that 2020 could instead see a record turnout. That by itself is a celebration of the US democratic process — which has so far proven to be robust and resilient amid a pandemic and high-pitched, tense political campaigning from both Republicans and Democrats.
No matter who wins on Tuesday, the US presidential election should be remembered as an enduring triumph of the voice of people who turned out in record numbers and overcame unprecedented hurdles to vote amid a crippling pandemic
But the real test comes on Tuesday and in the days that follow — with the US National Task Force on Election Crises warning that it may not be clear who’s won the 2020 presidential race for some time. In some states, it might take weeks to get complete results due to the manual counting of postal ballots starting only after the polls close. There’s also the lingering prospect of legal challenges being mounted by either parties if the vote is too close to call.
Those uncertainties are likely to weigh in heavily around the world.
Stakes are high
While every US presidential election brings the world to a standstill and global markets to the edge, this year the stakes are especially high. Against the backdrop of the global economic turbulence caused by the coronavirus and the resultant geopolitical flux, the outcome of the election has the potential to reshape the world. With its enormous impact on international affairs, everyone is thus looking forward to a stable election process and outcome in the US.
A smooth transition to the next administration — whether led by Trump or Biden — will allow the US and the international community to focus back on the pressing challenges that require urgent cooperation and global partnership: battling the coronavirus and its economic onslaught, combating global warming and ending hunger and poverty, to name a few.
No matter who wins on Tuesday, the US presidential election should be remembered as an enduring triumph of the voice of people who turned out in record numbers and overcame unprecedented hurdles to vote amid a crippling pandemic.