U.S. 2020 elections’ winners, losers

By Matthias Chika Mordi

THE United States of America held elections on November 3. The build-up to the election, context and aftermath have been quite dramatic and revelatory. Here is an assessment of the winners and losers.


1.President-elect Biden.

By the time votes are fully counted Biden will be more than six million votes ahead of outgoing President Trump. The largest winning margin over an incumbent in 84 years. Yet a thorny part remains to actually get through the electoral college as the incumbent actively tries to disrupt the process.

  1. SARS Coronavirus 2 (a.k.a COVID 19).

The U.S. federal government leadership appears distracted by the elections in its declaratory war against the virus. There is evident inertia in the build up to the elections, and its aftermath. Infection levels continue to break records. Ominously, lagging indicators like hospitalization and deaths are on the rise.

  1. American Electorate.

The 2020 elections recorded the highest level of engagement in history. One critical metric, an estimated 66.5% of registered voters voted. The highest since the 19th century. A total of approx 160 million  votes were cast. The largest in history.

  1. Black Lives Matter (BLM).

The activist movement riveted Americans, enjoyed popular support from an hitherto higher disapproval level. It also transformed anger at police killings of unarmed Blacks to votes. BLM support was critical in President-Elect Biden flipping Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania. BLM potentiated voter registration efforts in large cities.

  1. Congressional Republicans.

The GOP is poised to retain the Senate against polls and pundit expectations (this author predicted GOP retention). Republicans also gained seats in the House albeit insufficient to flip control.

  1. Stacy Abrams.

The Georgian rising star was instrumental in building registration and turnout infrastructure in the state of Georgia and in black-majority cities in purple states. Her currency continues to rise.


  1. Donald Trump. The incumbent president undertook a heroic campaign effort. He increased his 2016 number of voters by over 11 million. Yet he lost. Unfortunately, he is currently seeking to stay in office by overturning his electoral loss at the electoral college. Given the arcane electoral college rules, and anachronistic U.S. constitution provisions, his pernicious strategy is legally possible. At the moment, it looks unpropitious if not improbable.
  2. QAnon. The infamous right wing conspiracy theorists predicted a Trump victory to their faithful. In the aftermath of Biden’s decisive victory, the group is unusually reticent. Leaving their disoriented followers to question their other prognostications.
  3. Progressive Socialism. The progressive wing of the Dmeocratic party suffered electoral losses. Worse still the “socialist” toga and “defund the police” slogan led to electoral losses for moderate Democratic candidates in purple/red districts. Biden’s victory reinforces the notion that America is still a moderate nation.
  4. Pollsters & Pundits. Most polls and all poll aggregates, predicted a large Biden victory. A Democratic takeover of the Senate, and more seats in the House. Pundits and polls predicted Biden victories in North Carolina & Florida – he lost both. Wrongly predicted tight races in Iowa, Ohio and Texas. Even after adjusting for margins of error, the polls were off. Noteworthy, that I predicted a very tight race with a marginal Biden victory.
  5. October Surprise. The dreaded October surprise was a poorly kept secret. Despite the best efforts of Messr Bill Barr, Rudy Guliani and Ron Johnson, the Hunter Biden story failed to sway the electorate. The Durham investigation, Senate investigation and media “leaks” on Biden family “corruption” only resonated with the converted. A media inured to President Trump’s skulduggery, made an editorial decision to ignore the story.


1 The Judiciary. The fate of the elections lies in the hands of judges in state and federal courts. The integrity of America’s democracy is under the microscope.

  1. U.S. Democracy. The world’s oldest and most imitated democracy faces a stern test. There are abstruse if not dubious legal means by which Trump can be “re-elected” without winning the popular vote. Some will argue with merit that this should be in the losers column. However, the events of the next 70 days will either affirm the efficacy of the system or eviscerate the moral standing of the United States on the global stage.
  • Mordi is a professor at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies