Thursday, November 05, 2020

Transatlantic Comparisons

I guess it's never really occurred to me quite like this before, but on US election night this year I realised other ways in which our British system of parliamentary elections is generally preferable to the American electoral college. 

The broadcasting of partial results is really not a good idea, this year in particular. 

Whatever flaws the US might have as a mature modern democracy are clearly being exacerbated right by a system whereby an incumbent would-be autocrat can exploit the fact that upwards of a third of the electorate might not really understand the process of vote counting.

Then there's the fact that whether Biden wins the college by one vote or a hundred, he ends up with pretty much the same set of super powers. 

Compare this to our former PM Theresa May, who was still PM, but a very different sort of PM, already a bit more former, after the general election she called which duly led to a loss of the Tory majority she'd inherited. 

It may well be possible to pry Trump's arthritic fingers off the White House and replace them with Biden's, but what America and the world is not going to get right now as part of the process is a clear rejection of everything that has happened over the past four years. 

And maybe it will find it needed that even more than it needed a narrow Democrat win in 2020.

There's one other thing. This lame duck business is also non-optimal. In the UK if the opposition wins a majority No10 has a new resident almost immediately. 

Even a beaten Trump gets to be the world's most powerful man until January. Can you imagine the trouble he's going to cause, not least as he will still be in overall charge of the federal covid response. 

It would be like the Russians showing up in Berlin in 1945 and telling Hitler he could still run Germany from his bunker for another month or so.

And can anyone really imagine the Donald is going to give a dignified concession speech any time before hell freezes over? 

This in turn would be like the Pope appearing at the Vatican balcony and announcing that, on balance, he's no longer quite so sure about this whole God business after all.

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