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Election aftermath

| Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Donald Trump has gone from unprecedented to un-presidented. As we have all seen, former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 US presidential election. What’s next? In this column, I will try to shed some light on what we can expect going forward.

The Electoral College

The Electoral College will convene December 14, and barring any historically unlikely circumstances, Congress will meet January 6 to certify the results. There has been some speculation regarding the possibility of faithless electors; however, out of 23,507 electoral votes in United States history, only one has been cast in favor of the opposing candidate. Faithless electors have never changed the outcome of an election.

With the democratic candidate earning the most votes nationally, yet losing the electoral vote in both 2000 and 2016, it is no surprise that this system has become unfavorable for many. Discussing the change or abolishment of the Electoral College from the side of the losing candidate is a challenging stance leverage-wise. Any argument one could make will likely be ignored, with the assumption that the only reason a person opposes this system is that his or her candidate lost. However this year was different, with the winner of the national popular vote also managing an electoral victory. Hence, this is the best time to discuss moving on from this antiquated system. If the stance on the electoral system being flawed is to be principled, change should be discussed and fought for even when the results are favorable. Therefore after this most recent election, people who believe that all voters’ voices should matter the same, regardless of geographic location, need to continue to voice this opinion. 

Even if the Electoral College is too cemented into U.S. political culture to remove, there are still measures to limit it, such as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. In this state-based agreement, currently comprising 16 jurisdictions and 196 electoral votes, all these electoral votes would go to whichever candidate won the national popular vote. This agreement has reached 73% of the needed support to become a force in future elections — effectively ending the reign of the Electoral College, using the Electoral College. It remains to be seen whether this will ever become reality, but it is something to keep an eye on going forward. 

The Republican Party

With the Trump era of the Republican Party possibly coming to an end before President Trump could earn a second term, a lot could change for the party. First, I believe Americans will not forget those Republicans that called out Donald Trump for what he was during the 2016 Republican primary, only to fall in line in unequivocal partisan support for four years. This list includes all the big names, from Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz to people outside of an elected office, such as media personality Ben Shapiro. However, one name stands out in the crowd. This person is former 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Senator Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney has effectively shorted the current version of the Republican Party and can step forward with a reputation not tied to the fall of the Trump presidency, but instead backed by integrity and traditional conservative values. For the last four years, Romney has called out Trump, even going so far as to vote for his impeachment, the first U.S. Senator to vote to remove a President from his own party. He is now positioned to be a credible voice of reason and a person that can restore the American public’s faith and trust in the Republican Party — a Republican Party without Trump. However, this is mostly speculation, and it remains to be seen if Trumpism has been defeated, or just Trump himself. This future depends on the performance of Joe Biden’s presidency, one that could quell the movement of half the country to right-wing populist nationalism, or inflame it.

President Donald Trump

There is a lot of uncertainty concerning President Trump’s next move. Some online speculation has thrown out ideas, such as the possibility of Trump acquiring One America News Network to compete with Fox News or continuing to build the MAGA brand up until 2024. What we can expect is hard to say, but I believe it likely includes a continued active presence on Twitter, barring any suspension once he is out of office. Beyond that, it is widely unknown. 

Justice Mory is majoring in Business Analytics and is part of the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy. He is from Southern California and now lives in Duncan Hall. His main goal is to keep learning and to continue to become more informed. He can be reached at [email protected] or @JmoryND on Twitter.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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