America after the Election
In this short article I will write about the fascinating lecture that I had the pleasure of virtually attending on Friday the sixth of November, held by Prof. Ingrid Gessner. Prof. Gessner started the lecture with some basic information about the role of the president of the United States and the election process, both of which I will quickly summarise.
It is important to know that the president of the USA has more power than the president in Austria, described as quasi-monarchical by Ms. Gessner. He or she is the highest executive authority and can even make use of an executive order, a type of temporary law.
The election process in the U.S. is substantially different from Austria because instead of voting directly, every state has a number of electoral votes that are nearly always awarded in a ‘winner takes it all’ system - more on this topic later.
One topic of the lecture was the current situation of the U.S. Ms. Gessner explained that a Biden-victory was the most likely outcome because he would only need a few more states in which he had to win against Trump. Of course, Trump has been displeased with these results and has started countless lawsuits; however, Ms. Gessner was not worried that they would change the outcome, she stated that Trump would probably still be an important figure in American politics especially with his fake news and false claims.
Coming back to the topic of the Electoral College. Ms. Gessner was asked, if this voting system might be overturned in the future. She thinks it is unlikely to be abolished since it would need an amendment to the constitution. Single states like California are trying to circumvent this by giving their votes proportionally, of course this will only work with enough states backing.
As one of the last points, Ms. Gessner was asked why America was polarized to such a large extent and if this election result would change this situation. She answered that, while Trump certainly made polarization worse, he was not the main cause and that even with Biden trying to bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans, the United States will likely remain a divided nation.
All in all the lecture was quite enlightening and I think that if any of you get the chance, you should definitely attend such a lecture.
Michele Venturiello, 4bWI