2020 Presidential Election: What comes next?

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Following his recent analysis, political editor, Joshua Candler-Jones details the next chapter in the US election. 

ON NOVEMBER 7, after five days of vote counting, the presidential election was called by multiple media outlets and projected that Joseph Robinette Biden Jr would be the 46th President of the United States of America and would deny Donald Trump a second term at the White House. 

If it wasn’t already clear enough, this election has been like no other. The largest voter turnout than any election on record and both candidates being the most voted for of all time. It looks as if Donald Trump will continue the tradition of making this election like anything that has come before as even though there is no electoral path to the White House for Trump, he not only called the election for himself a day after the polls closed but is now refusing to concede the election at all.  

How does this process usually work? Traditionally, if an incumbent president was to lose the election first, they contact the winner and congratulate them on their campaign and make a concession speech to their base. This usually takes place at party headquartersThen shortly after this, the newly titled president-elect, the incumbent President, vice president and vice president-elect will meet and begin a peaceful transfer of power up until the day of inauguration where the president-elect and Vice president-elect are sworn into office.  

The last time an incumbent President lost an election that denied them the chance of a second term was in 1992 when George H. W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton in a landslide election. Bush famously wrote a letter to Clinton on the day of his inauguration where he wished his successor well and stated that “Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck.” 

Letter from Bush to Clinton

A letter from president George H. W Bush to president-elect Bill Clinton on the day of his inauguration. Credit: NY Times

Now, in 2020, America is in the same situation but with a very distinctive difference: Donald Trump. At the time of publication, the Trump administration is refusing to back downHe has gone from calling the election for himself, to saying that the election was ‘stolen’ from him, to making next to no public appearances since at a time where America needs their leader as the Coronavirus pandemic is gripping the population and recording hundreds of thousands of cases daily. 

It looks as if the president is burying his head in the sand as there are mounting claims that Trump is looking to pardon himself prior to leaving office. Mike Pompeo, who is the US secretary of state was recently quoted as saying that “There will be a smooth transition of power to a second Trump administration” and Trump has recently fired high ranking defence officials within the Pentagon and replacing them with ‘Trump Loyalists’. Leading Democrats are accusing the outgoing administration of staging a coup 

As the constitution states, and has happened after every election, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are expected to be sworn into office on their inauguration day with or without President Trump. So, what’s next for the 45th president for when he leaves the White House? There are rumours that Donald Trump is setting up his own news network to combat ‘fake news’ such as CNN, Bloomberg, MSNBC and his old ally, Fox News. There are even rumblings that he will make a return for the 2024 Republican primaries to stand again for president. Only time will tell what Trump’s next move may be.  

 

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Joshua Candler-Jones

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