经济学人|When every vote counts

The economist

What the 2020 results say about America’s future


“Months of frantic electioneering, $13.9bn of campaign spending, a raging pandemic and mass protests over race: in spite of all the sweat and tears, America was still determining as we went to press if its next president really would be Joe Biden or whether Donald Trump might somehow wrangle a second term. Congress is likely to be split between a Democratic House and a Republican Senate—though even that result may remain in doubt until a run-off in January.


In the coming days politicians should take their cue from voters, who turned out in greater force than in any year since 1900 and who made their choice without violence. Vote-counting must run its course and disputes between the two campaigns be settled within the spirit of the law. The biggest threat to that comes from Mr Trump, who used his election-night party to claim falsely that he had already won, and to fire up his supporters by warning that victory was being stolen from him. Coming from a man sworn to safeguard America’s constitution, such incitement was a reminder why many, including this newspaper, had called for voters to repudiate Mr Trump wholesale.


With Mr Biden’s victory they would take a crucial first step in that direction. Only once in the past 40 years has a president been denied a second term. Mr Trump will lose the popular vote by, we reckon, 52% to 47%—only the electoral college’s bias towards rural voters saved him from a crushing defeat. That is a repudiation of sorts.

随着拜登的胜利,他们将会朝着这个方向迈出关键的第一步。在过去的40年中,只有一个总统没有实现恋人。我们预测,特朗普将会以 52%-47%的比例输掉选举——只有选举团对农村选举人的偏爱让他免于惨败。这对他是某种意义上的否定。

A Biden White House would also set a wholly new tone. The all-caps tweets and the constant needling of partisan divisions would go. So would the self-dealing, the habitual lying and the use of government departments to pursue personal vendettas. Mr Biden is a decent man who, after the polls closed, vowed to govern as a unifier. His victory would change American policy in areas from climate to immigration. That is a form of repudiation, too.

拜登领导的白宫也同样会有一个全新的基调。全是大写字母的推特和连续不断的党派分歧将会不复存在。同样消失的还有 以权谋私、撒谎成性以及利用职务之便解决私人恩怨。拜登是一个正派的人,在选举结束后,他宣誓会以统一者的身份执政。他的胜利将会改变美国从气候到移民等多种领域的政策。这也是否定特朗普的另外一种形式。

And yet the unexpected closeness of the vote also means populism will live on in America. With this election it has become clear that Mr Trump’s astonishing victory in 2016 was not an aberration but the start of a profound ideological shift in his party (see Lexington). Defying expectations and covid-19, he has won millions more votes in the huge turnout of 2020 than he did in 2016’s moderate one. Far from being swept away in a blue wave, Republicans have gained seats in the House and seem set to keep control of the Senate. The Republican Party, which fell under Mr Trump’s spell while he was in office, is not about to shake itself out of the trance now. It is even conceivable that Mr Trump, or a member of his family, could run for the White House in 2024.


The outside world, which has been watching this contest with rapt attention, will draw two conclusions from America’s failure to reject Trumpism more decisively. The first will be among populist nationalists who look to Mr Trump for inspiration and who will now reckon that their brand of politics has a brighter future outside America, too. An abject defeat for Mr Trump may have spelled trouble for politicians like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Marine Le Pen in France. Instead Nigel Farage, formerly the leader of the Brexit Party, is busy planning his comeback (see article). The persistence of Mr Trump’s support suggests that the rejection of immigration, urban elites and globalisation, which gathered pace after the financial crisis of 2008-09, still has further to run.

外界一直在全神贯注的看着这场较量,美国没能决然放弃特朗普将得出两种结论。首先是民粹主义者,他们从特朗普身上受到鼓舞,并且认为他们的政治方向在美国以外也有广阔的前景。特朗普的失败或许对 巴西的 Jair Bolsonaro 和法国的Marine Le Pen 意味着麻烦。相反,前英国脱欧党领袖 Nigel Farage 却正忙着筹备复出。特朗普受到的持续支持表明,排斥 移民、城市精英以及全球化的步伐,在2008-09年经济危机后加速了,而且仍然在持续。


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