On November 7, Joe Biden was declared as President-elect alongside Kamala Harris, the Vice President-elect. However, the 2020 U.S. elections seem to be far from over. As anticipated, President Trump and the Republican party had a slew of lawsuits and allegations in their arsenal, citing voter fraud and election rigging by the Democratic Party.
The first state to respond to the recount demand was Georgia, and the state has confirmed a Biden victory by 12,670 votes after a hand recount. The latest defeat for the Trump administration is the state of Michigan, where lawmakers met with the President at the White House this past Friday on November 20. Shortly after the meeting concluded, Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield released a joint statement about the election outcome.
“We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan, and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election,” read the statement.
Lawmakers have also stated they take claims of voter fraud seriously and are scheduled to certify results by Monday, November 23. There is also a lawsuit in contention for the Pennsylvania results, with a countermotion from the state to dismiss the suit.
With less than one month remaining for the Electors’ meeting, Trump continues to refuse to concede the election results. This has prevented the Biden administration from starting the transition process, creating a more tumultuous time in the United States amid Covid-19 complications. Moreover, these effects and sentiments are echoed north of the border and can have political, economic, and social consequences for Canada as well.
The Medium spoke with University of Toronto Mississauga Political Science Professor Emily Nacol on Trump’s allegations.
“At this point, I feel it’s safe to say that President Trump’s lawsuits have been largely ineffective and will continue to be,” stated Nacol. “As Emily Bazelon has documented in the New York Times, neither the facts of the cases nor the laws on the books appear to be in his favour.”
Professor Nacol also discussed the juridical impacts the accusations of a fraudulent election would have on U.S. politics.
“The legal challenges and ongoing allegations of voter fraud by members of the Trump administration do have important political effects, though they further erode trust in the electoral process and undermine the legitimacy of the Biden presidency in the eyes of some Trump voters.”
Besides creating a precarious political atmosphere, Trump’s persistence to refuse the election results has created complications beyond the U.S. legislative body and affects people worldwide.
“President Trump’s unwillingness to concede also has normative effects—it undermines a shared commitment to the smooth transition of power between administrations,” stated Nacol. “And this unwillingness to concede has more tangible effects as well. Unless members of the incoming Biden-Harris administration can enter federal agencies and start getting up to speed, it will be difficult for them to hit the ground running in January. During a time of a pandemic, this may mean more lives lost to Covid-19.”
There is a strong concern regarding the Biden administration’s ability to smoothly facilitate the timely distribution of the recently announced Covid-19 vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer. With travel restrictions still in place at our border and cases growing rapidly in both countries, the U.S.’s ability to control its case numbers may be gravely impacted by this roadblock.
Regarding U.S.-Canada relations, Professor Nacol adds that she expects more cooperative relations between the two nations under the Biden administration.
“On the one hand, I don’t expect President-Elect Biden to exercise tariff power in the same way President Trump has, so I anticipate smoother trade relations between the two countries,” continued Nacol. “On the other hand, I am curious to see whether a Biden administration will take a more protectionist stance, which could have an effect on trade relations with Canada.”
During Trump’s presidency, the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement, which contained reformative actions toward climate cooperation. This decision was met with international backlash as it impacted the world as a whole. However, Professor Nacol believes that under Biden’s leadership, the U.S. will continue global collaboration for climate initiatives.
“I also expect that the U.S. will become more invested again in international organizations like the WHO and NATO and will re-enter multilateral agreements like the Paris climate change agreement,” stated Nacol. “This should also strengthen the allyship between the U.S. and Canada, as the two countries work together as participants in these institutions and settings.”
Nacol concluded by weighing the possibility for legislative changes—especially those that will impact Canadians—that might take place following Joe Biden’s inauguration, which is scheduled for January 20, 2021.
“I am very interested to see how the Biden-Harris administration’s approach to immigration in the U.S. will affect immigration in Canada,” stated Nacol. “For example, will the U.S. and Canada renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement, as Trudeau has wanted to? This could have an enormous effect on the lives of many people.” She adds, “lastly, I am curious about whether Kamala Harris’ time spent in Canada as a teenager will have an impact on U.S.-Canada relations!”