On Monday, state electors in the United States will vote to determine the winner of the presidential election.
December 14, the electors are expected to send their decisions to the U.S. Senate President, as well as state governments. The result of the vote of the electoral college (they do not actually meet together, but vote in their states) should be approved by Congress on January 6.
According to the preliminary data, the Democratic candidate Joe Biden got 306 votes out of 538, and the incumbent Republican President Donald Trump got the remaining 232.
Each elector represents about 200,000 of the state’s population to 700,000. The electors are appointed by popular vote in each state, with the presidential candidate who obtains a majority in the election receiving the votes of all the electors. This rule applies everywhere except in Maine and Nebraska, under which Biden, who received a narrow margin in states such as Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, won dozens of electoral votes.
The electoral system, though archaic, has its advantages. Among the most important are the substantial weight of the electoral votes in states with smaller populations. In addition, it eliminates second rounds of voting, since it requires a qualified majority of votes rather than an absolute majority to win.
The main disadvantage of the electoral system is the possibility that a presidential candidate for whom fewer votes were cast can come to power. This was the case, for example, four years ago, when Donald Trump lost to Hillary Clinton, who received three million more votes. Thus, the electorate sort of separates the presidency from the people. Biden, although he got seven million more votes than Trump, won only by a narrow margin of the electoral vote in key states, which means that the real opinion of Americans did not guarantee him victory. This situation was used by Trump by contesting the election results of several states, but so far he has not found support in the courts.
Meanwhile, Biden has already picked a team with which he is going to enter the White House. Thus, he has introduced candidates for the Cabinet. Some of them worked under Barack Obama’s administration, such as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who held a similar position, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dennis McDonough served as White House chief of staff, and Susan Rice, a candidate to head the White House Domestic Policy Council, was Obama’s national security aide. Biden nominated African-American Marsha Feige, an Ohio member of the House of Representatives, for the post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Catherine Tay, a China specialist, for the post of U.S. trade negotiator; and former Secretary of State John Kerry, the president’s special envoy on climate change.
Biden also declared that he’d be succeeded by General Lloyd Austin to head the Pentagon, Anthony Blinken to be the Secretary of State, and Jake Sullivan to be the national security adviser. Another piece of news was the possible return of Jen Psaki to the White House, who, according to Biden’s plan, would return to her duties as press secretary.