haass119_Chip SomodevillaGetty Images_protestors clash US Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

One America, Two Nations

The situation in the US today resembles nothing so much as the United Nations Security Council. Many agree the current system is deeply flawed and unrepresentative, but it is impossible to reach consensus on reform, because any potential fix would benefit some and hurt others.

NEW YORK – As I write this, officials across the United States continue to count votes in the 2020 US presidential election. When tallies are finalized, recounts and legal challenges are sure to follow. This is to be expected in a hotly contested election that generated record turnout.

Only citizens may vote for the US president, but the choice affects people everywhere. If it is too soon to be certain of the results, it is not premature to explore what the election reveals about the world’s most powerful country.

On the positive side, the United States remains a robust democracy. Voter participation was high, despite the physical constraints linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The process appears to be unfolding as designed. Violence has been minimal. Courts are investigating what seem to have been politically motivated decisions by the US Postal Service to impede the delivery of ballots from areas expected to vote mostly Democratic. President Donald Trump’s unwarranted declaration of victory Tuesday evening gained little traction, while his calls to stop the counting (at least in those states where he leads) appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

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