These elections are proving to be unusual, as the coronavirus pandemic has forced many Americans to vote by mail, which is delaying the publication of official results and unsettling voters and the presidential candidates themselves.
The Atalayar programme arranged a special edition for Capital Radio commenting on the progress of the election results with various experts and specialists in the field. With Víctor Arribas as presenter and moderator of the programme, it was accompanied, as usual, by Javier Fernández, director of the magazine Atalayar.
During the programme, José Antonio Gurpegui, Professor of the Department of Modern Philology at the University of Alcalá and Doctor from the Complutense University of Madrid, Begoña Sevilla, a collaborator on the programme who specialises in the United States, and Alana Moceri, a political analyst specialising in the United States, all took part, Javier Rupérez, Spanish politician and diplomat, member of the Popular Party, Ramiro Aurín, director of the programme La Verdad Desnuda on Capital Radio, Ramón Tamames, Spanish economist and politician, Paco Reyero, journalist for Canal Sur in Washington, and José María Peredo, professor at the European University of Madrid.
Since the polls closed on Tuesday night the media have gone through different phases: first announcing a "sweet defeat" for Trump, then in the early hours of the morning we find the president's probable victory due to his strength in key states. And from there, with the recount of the postal votes it seems that the data is turning around and could give the presidency to the Democrat Joe Biden.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona, these are the names that have the whole world on edge. The recounts are progressing and the data collected in these last states will be key to defining the end of the results.
After the first postal vote results changed the balance in Biden's favour, Donald Trump tried to stop the vote count in Michigan and accused of voter fraud before any more results were known. As he announced a month ago at the beginning of the campaign, the President is starting a legal process to challenge the election before the Supreme Court.
"The image that the United States is offering today does not seem to correspond either to its history or to its anthem," explained Víctor Arribas before the spectacle of the elections as if they were unreliable. Donald Trump proclaimed himself the winner while Joe Biden wants to wait for the results.
As an observation of this media hype, Javier Fernández stressed that politicians must be respectful of democracy, the law and their own institutions. "We all understand the legitimate anxiety for power, but within the rules. Questioning the entire electoral system out of personal interest does not do one of the world's most reputable democracies any good".
Although Joe Biden may be a weak candidate, it is up to Americans to vote for the president. As the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation explained, "we can only wait to see who is elected to work together, we do not vote in these elections and the result must be respected".
José Antonio Gurpegui, answering Víctor Arribas' question about whether it would have been necessary to send international observers to the United States, explained that "that would have been like agreeing with Trump. It was not necessary".
Gurpegui expressed his surprise at Trump's self-proclamation as the new president without having the results on the table. "Presidents have always announced their victory after receiving a congratulatory call from their opponents, but Trump did not want to wait," explained the professor.
Begoña Sevilla has been following the campaign and the results from the United States. During the long day's speech she wanted to highlight Biden's victory in Wisconsin, "this gives Biden 248 commissioners compared to Biden's 214. It could be that Nevada will join in and give Biden the exact 270 winning figure," the journalist said.
There are still many ballots to be counted, especially in Pennsylvania, "the most prudent thing to do is to say that we have to wait to know what is going to happen", said Seville.
Following the early announcement by President Donald Trump, the Twitter platform placed a comment in the message announcing that "it could be potentially misleading", explains Sevilla. This has been much commented on during the programme as, surprisingly, the social network itself, questions the reliability of the message.
Víctor Arribas shared the fact that Joe Biden has become the most voted Democratic candidate in the history of the United States. "The turnout has been very high and he has 70 million votes, more than Obama", said the presenter.
These figures reflect the fact that the US population is very divided. This is also shown by the data from the 435-seat House of Representatives. "At the moment the Democrats hold 202 seats and the Republicans 188. The magic number to win is 218 and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is confident that the Democrats will continue to lead in Congress," Seville announced.
On the other hand, in the 100-member Senate, there is a close battle over the distribution of seats. "The Republicans were in the majority in the Senate before, we have to follow it very closely and for the moment we have to keep waiting," Seville explained.
Alana Moceri, during her speech on the programme, wanted to clarify that "we knew there was going to be a lot of postal votes. The problem has been that first the ballot boxes, where there has been more Republican participation, have been counted, and now they are with the postal votes which have a Democratic majority".
Javier Rupérez also wanted to make a call for calm to wait for the results. "What has not happened is the famous blue wave that was announced against Trump, but neither are the Republicans getting the expected results," Rupérez explained.
The scenario is being intense and changing, since the polls opened all kinds of headlines have come out analyzing the possible victory of one or the other. "The day Trump lost the election was the day he got the coronavirus," explains Rupérez.
The president's refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of this disease has taken its toll, the popular politician explains. "The subsequent heroic reconstruction has not been effective.
Javier Fernández has stressed that "Trump's bragging has taken its toll". The use of the White House as an official site for events without security measures "has caused him to be the one to be infected in the end", said the director of Atalayar.
During the programme, attendees also discussed the Democratic Party's weaknesses in securing a strong leader. "Biden has his problems, he is fragile and he is old, although we cannot say that Trump is a young man," said Rupérez.
Gurpegui, however, does not believe that the coronavirus has harmed Trump. "The surveys were failing to show the extent of the difference, but they are not going very far from the current results.
The economy in the United States, for its part, had very positive data prior to the pandemic. The industrial states gave their vote to Trump after the promise of improvements, "but now the economic situation has influenced this recovery of the Democrats as the promises have not been fulfilled and the management of the pandemic has created a lot of unemployment", explains Javier Fernández.
As far as racial issues are concerned, they do not seem to have been a major issue in improving Joe Biden's rates, "when the news talked more about coronaviruses, Biden went up more, when they talked about violence in the streets, Trump went up," explains Gurpegui.
During the live programme, Trump's decision to halt the vote count in Michigan was announced. In addition, CNN announced in real time the victory of Joe Biden.
On the other hand, Joe Biden did not dare to proclaim victory in his second speech and has asked to continue waiting for the recounts to be completed.
Ramiro Aurín, in his intervention on the programme, wanted to explain that "with so much shouting and fussing Trump is showing that he is not a democrat", in allusion to the inflammatory tweets and the legal attitudes he is taking to paralyse the votes.
"The populist movement, on an international level, needs great references like Trump," explains Aurín. With the disappearance of the president, "in Spain we could have the illusion that the ghost of populism will disappear", the journalist wanted to compare.
The economist Ramón Tamames made an economic forecast of the effects of these elections in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, "the stock market is not behaving like a barometer of economic reality", explained the expert.
"The things that Trump has tried to break could be recovered and are awaiting results: multilateralism, the World Trade Organisation, criticism of the European Union, the Paris Treaties with respect to the environment," Tamames lists.
"Oil production and the defence budget, however, have increased considerably," he says in contrast. "The return of the United States to many of these measures, such as the fight against climate change, would be a cause for celebration," responded Aurín.
The turn of Michigan and Wisconsin in favour of Biden "would give Biden the 270 and take Pennsylvania off the stage of key states that it had previously set out. Things seem to be getting better for Biden," says journalist Paco Reyero.
As for the atmosphere on the streets of the United States, before the elections, Washington's shop windows, banks and businesses were shielded for fear of possible violent protests. "But the streets have been relatively calm and empty," Reyero said from his stay in the capitol.
José María Peredo took part in the debate to explain that "there may be scenarios of recounting and judicial problems, although it is not clear. Not all of Trump's threats are consumed".
The debate also addressed the issues of migration and the Latin American vote, especially in Arizona, where the dynamics in favour of Latin Americans have been broken. But in Florida, most of Donald Trump's supporters have settled.
"Talking about Hispanics as an iron block is a mistake. The polls show that there is not as much mobilisation of Hispanics as in other sectors of the population," Peredo explains. "Seven out of ten were going to vote for the Democratic Party, the polls explained, that is blurring the reality," he warned.
The American newspapers have dawned with the word "suspense" in all the headlines "and we will continue to do so until the results are in," commented the presenter Víctor Arribas.
In conclusion, "until the referee whistles the end of the match, the winner cannot be proclaimed" explained Javier Fernández. "Let us hope that the winner will accept victory without revenge and that the loser will not assume defeat by using violence," Reyero concluded.