America fails to choose its president.
Donald Trump refused to transfer power to Joe Biden. However, the Democrat’s team began preparations for the transition of power
Joe Biden called Donald Trump’s refusal to recognize the victory of a Democrat in the elections a shame and said that he would take the presidency regardless of the opinion of the current president. So how is the transfer of power in the United States going?
How the winner of the election is determined
The results of the US elections are not immediately determined. First, the media draws conclusions about who won, based on preliminary voting data, which they receive from polls of Americans and from state authorities. All mainstream media announced Joe Biden as the winner of the election. He was predicted to receive more electoral votes than Donald Trump from the very beginning. According to the Reuters tally, Biden has 279 electoral votes out of 538, more than the 270 votes required for the victory. Trump has 217. At the same time, Reuters is not ready to name the winner in three states – North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia. Biden is the favorite in the last two states, which means that after the final tally, his result could increase by another 27 electoral votes.
The official results of the elections will be announced by the state authorities, in each of them the term for this is different. Typically, the electoral certification process is conducted by the chief electoral official, governor or other commissioner. But the official results must be presented by December 8 – the day by which all questions and disputes regarding the counting of votes must be settled.
On December 14, 538 state electors will have to vote for the candidate who wins their state. While in theory electors in some states can vote for any candidate, such cases are extremely rare. On January 6, at a meeting of both chambers of Congress, legislators are to officially confirm the results of the electoral vote.
Why Trump is resisting
Typically, the losing candidate admits defeat at the stage of announcing the winner in the media. However, Donald Trump refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory. The incumbent president said that he did not consider the rival an elected president and would try to challenge the election results and achieve victory through the courts. In particular, Trump argued that Republican observers were not allowed to polling stations in Michigan, and illegal ballots were taken into account in Pennsylvania. Trump’s headquarters also supported recounts in Georgia and other states, where Biden’s lead to Trump was less than 0.5 percentage points.
However, the chances that Trump will be able to achieve victory in the courts are very low. Firstly, as experts say, his headquarters has not provided evidence of violations. Second, Biden is leading by a margin of several tens of thousands of votes in several states at once, and the recount is unlikely to change the picture.
In 2000, a dispute over the counting of votes arose between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. Then Bush managed to maintain the advantage as a result of the fact that the Supreme Court did not uphold the decision to recount the votes in Florida manually. However, then the election outcome was decided by only one state, and the gap between Bush and Gore in it was less than the gap between Biden and Trump in several hesitant states that decided the fate of these elections.
When Trump’s term expires
In the event that Biden is expected to be declared the winner of the election, Donald Trump’s presidential term will expire at noon on January 20, 2021. Until then, he will be able to determine the staffing of his administration, including key ministers, as well as issue executive orders. After Trump’s victory in the November 2016 elections, outgoing President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russian government agencies for meddling in American elections. In total, from November until his departure from the presidency, Obama signed 17 decrees, George W. Bush after the 2008 elections – 11, Bill Clinton after the 2000 elections – 22, George W. Bush after the 1992 elections – 14.
The new composition of the Congress begins work on January 3, that is, two weeks earlier than the president. After January 20, the powers of the head of state and commander-in-chief of the US armed forces will pass to the new president.
As a rule, the outgoing president writes a letter to the successor, which is delivered to him on the day of the inauguration. The text is written by hand and contains a short parting word. For example, Obama, in a letter to Trump, expressed the hope that he would create more opportunities for young Americans, maintain the leadership of the United States on the world stage, and respect the institutions of democracy.
How power is transferred
Preparation for the transit of power takes place in three phases.
The first is transit planning before the elections. Typically, candidates train transit overseeing teams in April-May of the election year, with: candidates appoint those responsible for coordinating a possible transit of power; searching for financial resources for the team in charge of the transit of power; a transit plan is being developed.
The second phase is post-election transit planning. Within its framework:
the winning candidate selects candidates for his administration. In total, the president appoints about 4 thousand civil servants who will help in the preparation and implementation of his initiatives, follows from a report prepared by experts from the independent organization The Partnership for Public Service. Of these 4 thousand, about 1.6 thousand will have to go through the Senate approval procedure, where most of the seats are controlled by the Republican Party. All appointments are carefully checked;
more than 100 state institutions are being prepared for the transit of power. Government officials must prepare for the new administration. Preparations for the arrival of new authorities on the part of the outgoing administration are overseen by the Power Transit Coordination Council, headed by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows;
the preparation of the agenda of the new president. The Biden administration must prepare an agenda for the coming months to clarify which reforms the Democratic administration will focus on.
The final phase is the approval of candidates for key positions in the new administration in the Senate.
What an elected president can claim
The president-elect’s transit team is eligible for a workspace as well as financial assistance from the state. This follows from the rules for the transfer of power specified in the law of 1963. The allocation of finance is overseen by the General Services Administration (GSA), with about $ 6 million reserved for the needs of the transit team.
Biden’s transition team includes about 500 people, they will deal, in particular, with government agencies. So far, the GSA has not provided funds to Biden, as his victory has not been officially approved by the states and Congress. Biden called Trump’s refusal to admit defeat “a shame” and said he would prepare for a transition of power without the support of the current administration.