Uncertainty in U.S. poll as Donald Trump goes to court
Written by MaryGift Sunday on November 9, 2020
Reminiscent of most electoral outcomes in Africa, United States of America’s President, Donald Trump, has refused to congratulate his opponent, Joe Biden, of the Democratic Party, who has been declared winner of the nail-biting long drawn presidential poll.
Instead, the Republican has approached the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the victory of Biden in decisive states such as Pennsylvania. Despite several media agencies naming Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections, Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York and Trump’s lawyer has stated that the U.S. President will not concede the election at this point and that the race is “far from over,” alleging high level voter fraud which would be handled in the court.
Trump’s team has brought legal challenges in several states he would need to retake the election from Biden. On November 3, Election Day, Trump had more votes in battleground states than Biden, but since Trump’s lead began to slip in several battleground states as more mail-in ballots which favoured Biden were counted, the President has claimed that the election was being “stolen” from him and has alleged massive fraud.
After Biden was declared the winner on Saturday, November 7, Trump said in a statement, “We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over.”
Trump’s campaign and other Republicans have already mounted challenges to Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting system, access for poll watchers and other details of the processes of the poll.
The case at the Supreme Court involves a Republican appeal to exclude ballots that arrived after Election Day in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
The election saw, for the first time in history, a larger voting population and voting surge among blacks and Latinos. It is also the first in the history of America to have recorded 239, 247,182 eligible voter population.
While Americans await the outcome of the legal challenge mounted by Trump, expectations are high that Biden would most likely come out victorious, considering that he won states that are traditionally the stronghold of Republicans.
Biden administration’s approach will largely depend on policy and who the President appoints in his cabinet and senior positions, especially that of Secretary of State, Assistant secretary of State for Africa, and the administrator of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Reacting to Africa’s expectation on the new administration, Associate Professor, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Joshua Abolarinwa, explained that a Biden administration would not be so different from the previous one.
“The difference we would see in U.S. policy towards Africans would be based on the personality of the President. Biden is a politician, he has been in politics for a while, so I expect a more diplomatic approach,” he said.
Abolarinwa noted that a Biden administration would walk in the steps of Obama’s administration in its relation to Africa. He however noted that the right thing for Africa to do is to determine what she wants out of foreign relationships and not always take a disposition of receiving whatever we get.
He also noted that on security, Nigeria specifically benefitted to a large extent from Trump administration. On Trump’s claim of foul play in the results, Abolarinwa noted that for two days results have been called from only states where Biden has been winning the votes.
“ In America, the election is not funded by government or state but campaign offices of both candidates and well wishers, who can’t donate more than a certain amount, a violation of which would lead to disqualification of the candidate,” Abolarinwa said. Vice Chancellor, Oduduwa University, Chibuzor Nwoke, noted that due to America’s system of consistency, a lot would remain the same in its African policy.
“The way to understand it is that there is consistency across the major parties, so whether it’s republican or democrat, a lot is not changed regarding policy on Africa or Nigeria,” Nwoke said.
According to him, Biden’s presidency would not cause Africa to become their primary focus for development. The relationship would still remain a selfish, capitalist-based and exploitative one.
“The import of the policy would still exist. Biden will not withdraw the military troops in Africa or make the continent its primary interest,” he said.
Nwoke noted that the lawsuit by Trump challenging the authenticity of the results is a threat to the civilised democracy practiced in the country. He however noted that the challenge would be brought to a halt as soon as good sense prevails.
MEANWHILE, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and other political leaders in Nigeria to learn good lessons from the just concluded United States elections which was conducted without interference by security forces.
In a congratulatory message to Joe Biden, the PDP said the election is a lesson to leaders that power resides with the people and that there is a limit to how any individual can hold a people to ransom.
The party also congratulated Americans for a successful and peaceful election in strict adherence to democratic principles and extant laws of their country, despite the intense.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiya, said: “United States’ Presidential Election presents lessons to our emerging electoral system, particularly on the independence of the electoral body as well as showing respect for the rights of the citizens to democratically choose their leaders, irrespective of preferences or predilections of incumbents.”
“The manifest non-interference by security forces and the judiciary in the U.S. election calls out the current situation in our country where security agencies and compromised judicial officers are used to muzzle election and subvert the will of the people as largely witnessed in the last five years, particularly in the 2019 General Elections”
It stated that the U.S. election also served as a strong lesson to our nation on the need to strengthen our institutions while focusing on our processes and rules instead of strengthening individuals.
The PDP charged President Buhari to draw lessons from the post-election remarks of the U.S. President-elect by addressing the divisive tendencies, nepotism and marginalisation which characterise his administration as well as other actions and policies that threaten the stability, unity and development of Nigeria.
However, in congratulating the U.S. President-elect, the PDP urged him to use his new office to promote world unity, peace, global economic, political and international trade collaborations with focus on Africa as well as the developing world.