Even though it is just a couple of days to the US elections, it is still uncertain whether Trump will keep his job come January 2021. The opinion polls favor Biden but they can be wrong, since it is a closely contested race. I hope Biden loses, and I hope Trump wins because that would be better for the US and better for the world.
There are a couple of things I find remarkable about US elections. First, the date of practically all elections is fixed and therefore predictable. Every year, all elections at all levels of government — city, county, state and federal — are held on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November. If the first Monday of November falls on the 1st, then election is on Nov 2nd — the earliest possible date; and the lastest possible date will be Nov 8th. That happens every year, and every four years, it is a presidential election year. That too is totally predictable.
The second remarkable fact relates to the election of a US president. The US president is not elected through a popular vote. Voters don’t actually directly vote for a presidential candidate. The voters in each state determine through their popular vote what the state’s “electors” would do when they go to Washington DC in December. These electors form the electoral college. Here’s a bit from the Wiki on the US electoral college:
In the United States, the Electoral College refers to the group of presidential electors required by the United States Constitution to form every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States. Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution provides that each state shall “appoint” electors selected in a manner its legislature determines, and it disqualifies any person holding a federal office, either elected or appointed, from being an elector. There are currently 538 electors, and an absolute majority of electoral votes, 270 or more, is required to win the election.
The graphic above shows the distribution of electrol college votes. California, the most populous state, has the most electors at 55; the small mid-Western states have as low as 3. The successful candidate has to win 270 or more electoral votes, regardless of whether he wins the aggregate popular vote. In 2016, Clinton won around 3 percent more popular votes than Trump did but Trump won 304 electoral votes compared to Clinton’s 227 — as the graphic on the right shows. That’s why Trump and not Clinton is the POTUS.
It appears totally certain that Biden will win the popular vote, and the opinion polls show that he could win the electoral college votes too. But as they say, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. I hope she sings soon after November 3rd.