It is the big day for Joe Biden, that of his election itself. The day the Democratic candidate officially becomes “president elect” by the electoral college and Donald Trump swallows his golf cap …
In theory, this is a formality. But this year, the vote of the American voters takes on particular importance in the face of Donald Trump’s stubborn refusal to admit defeat since the vote on November 3.
The future “elected” president is scheduled to deliver a speech Monday evening from his home town of Wilmington, Delaware, to celebrate this new confirmation of his victory “and the strength and resilience” of American democracy. The results of the November 3 ballot have already been legally certified by each of the 50 American states: the Democrat won the record number of 81.28 million votes, or 51.3%, against 74.22 million and 46.8% to the outgoing Republican President.
And despite Trump’s various legal fights to prevent the process, the certified results confirmed the comfortable advance of Joe Biden, announced on November 7 by the mainstream American media, with 306 voters against 232 for Donald Trump. In this burning context for more than a month. Le Parisien answers four questions about this electoral college from another time but still as central.
1. Where does it come from?
It is more than a bicentenary institution. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 debated at the time three possible ways of choosing a president, explains Philip J. VanFossen, professor of civics at Purdue University, to The conversation site : “Election by Congress, selection by state legislatures and popular election – although the right to vote is generally reserved for white males who own land.”
The idea of a popular election – where the candidate with the most votes wins – was appealing. But the 11 members of the commission understood that the southern states would not agree because they wanted to exercise more political power.
They ultimately chose, writes VanFossen, “a system of voters, through which the people and the states would help choose the president.” It was a part national and part federal solution, and … one that reflected other structures of the American Constitution.
This system assigns two US senators to each state and a number of representatives based on their population. The number of electors is equal to the sum of senators and representatives. No state has fewer than three voters, regardless of how many people live there. For example, California has 53 representatives in the House and two senators. It is therefore endowed with 55 electors out of the 538 composing the college. Concretely, the “small States” find themselves rather favored by this system.
Today, the 538 voters are local politicians, civil society figures, or relatives of a candidate. Most are unknown to the general public, but there are times when national figures are part of the electoral college – this is the case this year with the unsuccessful 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who will vote for Joe Biden and his future vice -President Kamala Harris in New York State.
2. How does the vote itself work?
Voters representing the candidate who won in each state meet on the Monday following the second Wednesday in December (December 14 in 2020). They go to the seat of the legislature of their state to cast their votes. They are supposed to vote for the candidates they represent, but are not required to do so by the Constitution. Voters vote separately for president and vice president, after which the electoral college ceases to exist until the next presidential election, in 2024. This college has no legislative or executive power.
The results of the state electoral votes are then communicated to Congress. They are counted and declared during a joint session of Congress held on January 6 of the year following the election. A majority of electoral votes (currently 270 out of 538) is required to win, but the results submitted by any state are subject to challenge in the joint session, as provided by law. Unlikely, however.
3. Can a great voter vote against his camp?
In all states, the issue has been settled since last week, and the certification of the results of each election. Grand voters who “betray” their camp will have to pay a fine or be replaced, the law provides. The Supreme Court validated this policy in July, ruling that a state which obliges its voters to respect “the vote of millions of citizens […] acts in accordance with the Constitution ”.
However, in at least sixteen states, including Pennsylvania, a successful voter has the opportunity to vote for someone other than “his” candidate. In fact, this hardly ever happens. Since 1787, only 90 major voters have not voted for the presidential contender representing their political colors, according to the Fairvote association which campaigns for a reform of the American electoral system. Only one voted for the main opponent, in 1796 …
4. Can Trump still do something?
By the time the ballots are counted on January 6 by Congress and since the Supreme Court swept away the Trump camp’s last resort, hope is almost zero.
“The main democratic voters would have no reason to let go of Biden”, also recalled Nicole Bacharan, historian and political scientist in our columns on November 6.
Donald Trump said late last month that he would step down if Joe Biden was elected by the Electoral College. “Sure, I will, and you know it,” the billionaire replied to a request from White House reporters. “It will be very difficult to admit because we know that there was a massive fraud,” he added.
President Trump has since changed its strategy. No question of recognizing anything on December 14th. Jenna Ellis, senior adviser to the Trump campaign, brushed aside the Dec. 14 vote in an interview earlier this week, saying that Jan. 6, when Congress counts the votes of state delegates, would be the date of “the ultimate concession”.
Meanwhile, Trump will continue his policy of insinuating ‘doubt by flooding remedies’, as mentioned by some observers. A strategy that has strengthened its hold on its electorate and on the Republican Party, which cannot do without it, and this without forgetting that the Senate could remain predominantly Republican in January. All of these elements could undermine Biden’s policy for four years and prepare for a Trumpian comeback in 2024.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr