NEW YORK, October 27. /TASS/. The results of the forthcoming US presidential election may be validated only after prolonged scrutiny, and it should not be ruled out that the case will be taken to the Supreme Court, Professor Andrei Korobkov (Political Science and International Relations) at Middle Tennessee State University, told TASS.
He remarked it was quite possible that the final election returns would become known not in the early hours of November 4, but much later. "The changes that have been made to the election procedures over the past six months may have such an effect, of course. I am referring to voting by mail and ever-greater reliance on early voting. As well as a number of other mechanisms," Korobkov said. He warned that "voting by mail, in particular when ballot papers are not requested by voters, but just mailed to all registered voters creates colossal loopholes for manipulations."
Such methods allow for "procrastinating on the decision as to who has been elected," Korobkov explained. "If some ballot papers are disputed by election commissions or dismissed, such decisions can be appealed against in courts of law. Such litigations may last weeks or months."
He stressed that when the current administration's tenure expires on January 20 , there may follow a vacuum of power. In fact, this will entail a "constitutional crisis."
Korobkov recalled that a similar situation occurred in the 2000 election, when the Republican Party's George W. Bush and the Democratic Party's Albert Gore clashed for the presidency. "The Democrats tried to challenge the election returns in courts of law. The affair reached the Supreme Court," Korobkov said.
The election returns were validated much later than it had been originally expected. The Republican candidate then gained the upper hand.
The expert remarked that in the 2016 presidential election the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, refrained from acknowledging her defeat during the post-election night. "In fact, she kept quiet till the next day. But such a long stalemate has been unparalleled since 2000," Korobkov stressed.
What will the Supreme Court say?
The Supreme Court is actually "bracing for the possibility it will have to address the issue somehow," Korobkov believes.
"Supreme Court members are always reluctant to handle such cases. In 2000, there was precisely this type of situation. They are certain that it is not a legal issue but a political one, and it is up to the executive or legislative branches of power, and not the judiciary, who are in a position to decide, Korobkov said. "But they may be forced into a situation where there will be no options to choose from."
The Republicans, the expert went on to say, have a majority in the Supreme Court. Until just recently there had been "three outspoken liberals and four outspoken conservatives." Korobkov believes that the Supreme Court's Chief Justice John Roberts is a "right-of-center moderate."
Korobkov stressed that securing the Senate's approval of Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court Justice on Monday was a matter of principle.
"She is a stalwart conservative," Korobkov said. "That Donald Trump managed to "ram through three conservatives into the Supreme Court of the United States during just one presidency is his colossal achievement."
"Now this is one of his main cards, which makes many Republicans, even those who hate Trump, vote for the incumbent, because they recognize his success in changing the composition of the Supreme Court," Korobkov said.
Asked about the possibility that the Supreme Court after Barret's appointment might have to pronounce its verdict regarding the presidential election outcome, he remarked that the "six-to-three ratio is certainly better than five to three in this situation, so for Trump it is a question of principle, a question of popularity with the Republican base, and a question of extra security."
Where will the election outcome be decided?
In 2000, the results of the voting in Florida were the core of the dispute, Korobkov recalled.
"There are high risks again that Florida will become the stumbling block," he said, adding that the same was true for any of the swing states.
On the list of the "swing states" that are most crucial in the current election campaign Korobkov mentioned Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada. "These states will decide the outcome," he stressed.
Korobkov pointed out that since 2016 political preferences in the swing states have changed somewhat, because "the demographic picture of the American population is changing all the time." "The share of whites is shrinking fast, while that of Hispanics and other minorities, including Asian Americans is soaring," he explained.
"The white population is increasingly aware of its precarious position. They are becoming more pro-Republican, and yet in a number of states, the white majority is losing political control," Korobkov pointed out.
In 2016, he recalled, Trump won the election because he "snatched away” three long-time industrial states “from the Democrats” with their large segments of white industrial workers and farmers. "Those states are Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin," the political guru explained. "All of them had traditionally voted Democrat."
"But in 2016 the white workers came to the conclusion that the Democrats were doing nothing to protect the poor and workers. Protecting minorities turned out to be their prime concern. For this reason, they voted for Trump. It remains to be seen what will happen now. All these states were strongly hit by the economic crisis and the pandemic," he stressed.
"The question is how far can the Democrats peddle the idea to the electorate in these states that their plight is the result of Trump's policies, and not objective causes," Korobkov believes.
Roughly equal chances
Korobkov points to a number of major distinctions between the current race and the 2016 election. One of the most important factors is "Trump has found himself in a different situation."
"In 2016, he challenged the political establishment regardless of political affiliation - both the Democrats and the Republicans," the political scientist says. In his opinion, Trump’s political opponents back then underestimated this high-profile political outsider. "The current state of affairs is cardinally different. The elite's opinion of Trump is more than serious and it is prepared to fight hard. They are determined to get rid of him by hook or by crook," Korobkov emphasized.
The way he sees it, "this election, in contrast to 2016, is a referendum on the overall attitude towards Trump."
"It has really turned into a referendum, and this is something very unusual in US politics," he added.
"The situation for Trump is now far worse than it was in 2016," Korobkov insisted. "I believe that the chances are split down the middle, Fifty-fifty. Neither candidate has a real advantage. The last week before the election will decide everything. The voters, in particular, the centrists, are going to make their final choice."
The 2020 United States elections are scheduled for November 3. Nationwide, American citizens will go to the polls to elect 435 representatives to the House, 35 senators out of 100 to the Senate, and the President and Vice President of the United States. Democratic contender Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris will be vying to unseat incumbent President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of the Republican Party. In addition, voters will head to the ballot boxes to decide on 13 US state and territorial governorships, and numerous other local elections will be held.