Calculator in hand, everyone has their forecasts. Joe Biden wins Nevada? Donald Trump keeps Pennsylvania and snatches Arizona? All the combinations are imagined to know how one or the other of the two contenders can obtain 270 large voters, the absolute majority of the electoral college. It is they, these men and women, appointed in advance by their party, who secondly (on December 14 this year), elect the President of the United States.
This Friday morning, Joe Biden is already certain to have 253 voters on his side (264 if we also take Arizona into account, as the AP agency and Fox News – but not the New York Times and CNN – give winner to Democrat). Or 269, since it seems to be on the right track to win Georgia. Donald Trump is capping at 214, but nothing is lost yet for the US president. He will be re-elected if he retains Pennsylvania and wins three of the other four key states (Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina).
But all this starts from the principle that a great voter will necessarily vote for his camp. However, this is not necessarily automatic. Explanations, with the support of the historian specialist of the United States Nicole Bacharan.
“It’s legal to demand loyalty to your camp”
In two-thirds of states, the issue is settled. 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 ”. “The text of the Constitution and the history of the nation both allow a state to uphold the commitment of a great voter to support the candidate for the presidency of his party as well as the choice of the voters of the state. », Said the judge who wrote the decision. “This means that it is legal to demand loyalty to one’s camp, but the Court did not say that all States must necessarily impose it”, decrypts Nicole Bacharan.
Moreover, in at least sixteen other states, and notably Pennsylvania, a great voter has the possibility and the right to vote for a personality 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 who campaigns for a reform of the American electoral system. But only one voted for the main opponent, in 1796. In more than two thirds of the cases, it was because of the death of the candidate, namely Horace Greeley in 1963. The rest are votes for personalities, often the same. gone, but having no chance of winning in the end.
The risk of a “radical constitutional crisis”
“In 2016, eight major voters did not vote for Hillary Clinton but for other Democrats, Bernie Sanders for example,” says Nicole Bacharan. In any case, this never lost the candidate who came out on top in number of large voters at the end of the count. “It is very rare that they do not vote for their candidate because their role would be greatly reduced and this would call into question the existing electoral system”, points out Nicole Bacharan.
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The context of this 2020 presidential election is nevertheless particular in two respects. On the one hand, the final score could be extremely tight depending on who, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, wins the five key states still in the balance. On the other hand, the country is more than ever “fractured” and polarized into two camps, analyze many experts.
“The big Democratic voters would have no reason to let go of Biden. But, even if I do not believe it personally, the behavior to the end of the candidate Trump could give the big Republican voters material to let go, ”estimates Nicole Bacharan, referring to the assurance of the American president who repeats having“ won ”if we only take into account the“ legal ”ballots. And the historian to warn about the fact that we “would then enter into a radical constitutional crisis”.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr