Everything, or almost everything, is questions in the United States since President Donald Trump’s positive for covid-19 fell like a bomb in an already explosive electoral campaign that is being developed deeply marked by the coronavirus pandemic. How serious will the disease be? Will he be able to return to the campaign? If so, when and how and with what effect on voter perception? What if you can’t? …
Nothing and no one has answers but there is a certainty: whatever happens, the vote to decide the future of the country is already up and running, and at full throttle. According to the data it maintains Elect Project, more than 2.7 million of Americans have already voted for the November 3 election, or in advance or by sending your vote by mail. The process is not quarantined.
Academic experts in electoral law, analysts and the press have turned to unthinkable and unprecedented scenarios in history, the focus of their analyzes. They are the same ones who until now studied some elections already tattooed, in a very different way, for Trump and the pandemic. Because for months the president has been launching constant attacks on the process, sowing doubts about its integrity, inciting the discredited ghosts of fraud and leaving in the air the possibility of not accepting the results if they were those of the defeat at which, for now, the polls pointed.
Nothing has attacked with more force, and with more weapons, than voting by mail, a perfectly legal tool whose use has spread in a society where, as the president now knows personally, protection measures such as social distancing have become imperative sanitary. In this 2020 nine states send ballots directly to everyone your registered voters and others 36, including key hinge states, allow you to request it without having to offer any explanation beyond the pandemic.
War in court
Trump’s assault has come by multiple flanks that cannot be understood independently. A war is fought in the courts of more than 40 states, where Democrats and Republicans have open about 300 demands. Although the cases vary, the general spirit of that legal fight has the Democrats trying to expand vote-by-mail, reduce requirements that make it difficult, extend the deadlines to count them and speed up the calendar in which they can begin to be processed (something that would contribute to not lengthen the process of counting them for days). The conservatives, for their part, they try to stop any enlargement.
For now they have been Democrats those who have had significant winsSome in key states like Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, but that may have a positive counterpart for Trump’s strategy. And is that, for example, with judges giving the green light to extend the deadline to receive votes after November 3, until the 9th in the case of Wisconsin, a dreaded scenario in which Trump incites discredit results the longer the counting time elapses. This is a time when it is feared that, in an extremely polarized United States with tensions already unleashed, as has been shown in clashes in protests against racial injustice, it would be more possible that the violence.
From “red mirage” to “blue twist”
Trump’s discrediting strategy is understood by looking at the vote by mail trends. It is assumed that this leans Democrat and in states where information on the affiliation of those who have requested it is provided. progressive fold to the Republicans. And the general consensus is that Trump could get the same November 3 “ red mirage“, the republican color, with an apparent victory, an illusion that would fade in the following days before him”blue spin“As the ballots sent through the US Postal Service, in the eye of the hurricane for its politicization.
Not all mistrust is Trump’s doing. Recent examples of grotesque counts that go on for weeks, as it happened in some Democratic primaries in New York, they remember the difficulties. And that added to Trump’s bombardment of the process had already begun to change some trends. If it was initially estimated that up to 70% of Americans could vote by mail, the estimates have been going down, in some cases up to 35%. More and more people are choosing to personally deposit their ballot in a ballot box (although in states like Texas the Republican governor has limited that option to one per county).
All of that was before the seismic blow to the Trump contagion campaign. Now no one can say if more Republicans will think about it before going in person to a polling place and opting for the mail. One more question to add to the countless posed by this positive.