Today is election day in America where hundreds of thousands of Indo-Guyanese, Indo-Trinis and other Indo-Caribbeans are settled. Their voter turnout in 2020 is the highest so far in the history of their presence in America going back the late 1960s. (Prior to 1965, Indians were not allowed into the US because of racist practices. Thus, the Indian presence in America has been infinitesimal but has grown over the last fifty years numbering over 4.5 millions. The number of Indo-Caribbeans and their descendants in America is approximated at around 250K Trinis, 500K Guyanese, 50K Surinamese and thousands of others from Belize, Jamaica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and other islands).
The outcome of the USA 2020 election hinges on turnout in the swing states where in each are present several thousands of Indo-Caribbeans. The largest numbers of Indo-Caribbeans are in New York, New Jersey, and Florida; the latter is a swing state. Indo-Caribbean also are also present in the swing states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota.
Who will win? In America, polls suggest that the Republican incumbent Donald Trump is going down to defeat to Democratic challenger Joe Biden. There are other candidates on the ballot but they will not make much of a dent in the votes to affect the outcome in any of the states.
Indo-Guyanese, Indo-Trinis and other Indo-Caribbeans are in the thick of the electoral contest in America, not as candidates or campaigners but as voters and poll workers and their votes matter in the swing states. Several Guyanese and Trinis work in the polling stations. There is a lot of enthusiasm among Guyanese and Trini voters, and many actually voted early all over the country while others tell this writer they will vote today, Tuesday. Few Indo-Caribbeans volunteer for or donate to the election campaign. Several Guyanese and Trinis have been working at poll stations over the last two weeks for early voting and several will be on duty on November 3 at schools and senior centers. Schools are closed to facilitate the election process, but it is not a national holiday although several businesses are closed. State and city offices are closed.
Americans are uneasy about the outcome of the election, fearing violence. Reports say guns have been sold out. Indo-Caribbeans are uneasy about the outcome. Trump predicts victory. Biden also predicts victory. Will Trump accept defeat? He said no. If Biden loses, he will concede quietly, but he is not expected to lose if we go with the opinion polls. From his language, it does not appear that Trump is likely to accept defeat – he said he has a battery of lawyers ready to go to court on Tuesday night. I do not think the outcome would be close but a declaration or presumed winner may not be ready on Tuesday night. Once the outcome is a landslide, Trump will claim fraud and accept defeat. If it is close, he won’t throw in the towel – dragged in court. I see a decisive victory as per my analysis of poll numbers.
The actual voting in America does not have an electoral system like Guyana where the party or candidate with most popular votes wins the Presidency. There are 51 contests – each state plus Washington DC holds its own election without national involvement. The national government cannot instruct the states how to run their elections. Each state declares its own winner. Each state has an assigned number of electoral votes (EVs). The candidate that gets the most votes in a state wins its electoral votes and there is a significant Guyanese presence in several of the swing states like Georgia, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Michigan. Two states (7 votes) divide their EVs based on proportion of votes won. The EVs are added for each state won by each candidate. The candidate with at least 270 EV wins the presidency regardless of amount of popular votes won. Right now, polls suggest that Biden will get between 279 and 351 EVs. It means, therefore, he will win the Presidency. But it is possible that Trump can pull off a miracle with last minute swing voters; votes can also be excluded from counting if they arrive late at the counting place. The contests in several states are very close with either candidate winning by a squeaker. Biden was way ahead in several states a few days ago, but the gap has narrowed with some states a dead heat on election day. Nevertheless, 279 is the minimum projected for Biden even if he were to lose the popular votes in the other swing states.
My analysis sees Biden crossing the 300 mark. Although polls give Biden wins in Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia, those states (total of 62 EVs) would be very close and may very well go to Trump. But Biden does not need them to win the White House. He will win Virginia and possibly NC but the others are not ruled out. And 370 EVs are not impossible for Biden.
In 2016, Trump won comfortably (306-232 against Hillary Clinton). Polls suggest if Trump were to win, it would be very narrow, just over 270. But Biden is projected to get a huge victory – a landslide or even a blow out. The last time there was a blow out was in 1980 and 1984 when Reagan swamped Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale respectively.Obama won comfortably in 2008 and 2012 with Biden as his VP. Biden should win comfortably.