Home Letters Guyanese participation in & who will win today’s US elections
Today is election day in America where hundreds of thousands of Guyanese are settled and their voter turnout in 2020 is the highest so far in the history of their presence in America going back to the late 1960s. The outcome hinges on turnout in the swing states, where several thousands of Guyanese are present.
Who will win? In America, polls suggest that the Republican incumbent Donald Trump is going down to defeat to Democratic challenger Joe Biden. There are other candidates on the ballot but they will not make much of a dent in the votes to affect the outcome in any of the states.
Guyanese are in the thick of the electoral contest in America, not as candidates or campaigners but as voters and poll workers and their votes matter in the swing states. There is a lot of enthusiasm among Guyanese voters, and many actually voted early all over the country while others tell this writer they will vote today. Few Guyanese volunteer for or donate to the election campaign. Several Guyanese have been working at poll stations over the last two weeks for early voting and several will be on duty on November 3 at schools and senior centres. Schools are closed to facilitate the election process, but it is not a national holiday although several businesses are closed.
Americans are uneasy about the outcome, fearing violence. Reports say guns have been sold out. Guyanese are uneasy about the outcome. Trump predicts victory. Biden also predicts victory. Will Trump accept defeat? He said no. If Biden loses, he will concede quietly, but he is not expected to lose if we go with the opinion polls. From his language, it does not appear that Trump is likely to accept defeat – he said he has a battery of lawyers ready to go to court tonight. I do not think the outcome would be close but a declaration or presumed winner may not be ready tonight. Once the outcome is a landslide, Trump will claim fraud and accept defeat. If it is close, he won’t throw in the towel – dragged in court. I see a decisive victory as per my analysis of poll numbers.
The actual voting in America does not have an electoral system like Guyana where the party or candidate with most popular votes wins the Presidency. There are 51 contests – each state plus Washington DC holds its own election without national involvement. The national government cannot instruct the states how to run their elections. Each state declares its own winner. Each state has an assigned number of electoral votes (EVs). The candidate that gets the most votes in a state wins its electoral votes and there is a significant Guyanese presence in several of the swing states like Georgia, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Michigan. Two states (7 votes) divide their EVs based on the proportion of votes won. The EVs are added for each state won by each candidate. The candidate with at least 270 EV wins the presidency regardless of the amount of popular votes won. Right now, polls suggest that Biden will get between 279 and 351 EVs. It means, therefore, he will win the Presidency. But it is possible that Trump can pull off a miracle with last-minute swing voters; votes can also be excluded from counting if they arrive late at the counting place. The contests in several states are very close. Biden was way ahead in several states a few days ago, but the gap has narrowed with some states a dead heat. Nevertheless, 279 is the minimum projected for Biden even if he were to lose the popular votes in the other states. My analysis sees Biden crossing the 300 mark. Although polls give Biden wins in Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia, those states (62 EVs) would be very close and may very well go to Trump. But Biden does not need them to win the White House.
In 2016, Trump won comfortably (306-232 against Hillary Clinton). Polls suggest if Trump were to win, it would be very narrow, just over 270. But Biden is projected to get a huge victory – a landslide or even a blow out. The last time there was a blow out was in 1980 and 1984 when Reagan swamped Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale respectively.
Obama won comfortably in 2008 and 2012 with Biden as his VP. Biden should win comfortably.