Today is Election Day in the United States of America. Millions of voters across the country will cast their ballots to vote for the next president in one of the most important elections in American history. To say that this election and the incumbent are unprecedented would be a spectacular understatement. There has never been a president quite like Donald Trump, and America has not faced simultaneous crises as it does now for over a century. The world is watching, awaiting the result of this election with intense anticipation. The stakes could not be higher; as Joe Biden’s campaign slogan states, it is a “battle for the soul” of America. Whether Biden becomes the next president, or Trump is re-elected, the consequences of this day will be felt everywhere, not only in America but around the world.
As an American living in Denmark, there is a sense of hope that I cling to from afar, that my countrymen will choose a leader who can unite them. I hope that they will come together and try to heal the social wounds torn open by a tumultuous year of racial unrest, economic devastation, and a pandemic that has left more than 200,000 dead and shows no signs of relenting. Yet, if past is prologue, there is simply no way to know what will happen until the votes are counted – the electoral votes that is, because the popular vote is not necessarily what will decide this election.
If that sounds absurd, that is only because it is absurd. The American electoral system is as complex as it is undemocratic. The electoral college has undermined the voters nationwide, leaving the election in the hands of the congressional electors, many of whom overrepresent a minority, and underrepresent the majority. Gerrymandering has tilted the balance of congressional districts to favor the Republican Party. The system is totally out of balance, and it has stolen the power of the people to make their voices heard at the ballot box.
If the country is ever to truly heal, it must undergo massive structural changes – eliminating undemocratic processes such as the electoral college and gerrymandering. Whether or not that will happen is ultimately up to the people that the American electorate allows to be in power. We the people have the right to choose our government, and on this election day and the days to follow, I hold hope that my fellow Americans will not let their votes go uncounted or their voices unheard.
This episode of Dialectic Peoples is as close as we will get to an “election special.” While Kuku was away this time, Eja and I did our best to dig into the election and the American system, and understand what is truly at stake. I talked about my own political consciousness and give my take on what has made America so polarized. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get into it. Enjoy the show, and stay tuned for our “post election” coverage as well.