US Election 2020 Live Results

US Election 2020 Live Results
Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

The 2020 US presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 3. See the live results and candidate positions on cross-strait policy.

Although the United States is thought to be a leader of democracy, there are many exceptions to the basic idea of “one person, one vote.” One of the most famous exceptions is the Electoral College, the process by which the U.S. elects its President and Vice President. Each of the 50 U.S. states has a number of electoral votes, which is based on the number of its Representatives and Senators in the U.S. Congress. Take New York for example. New York has 27 Representatives in Congress, and, like all states, two Senators. It has 29 electoral votes. As there are 100 Senators and 435 Representatives in the House, plus three electoral votes for Washington, D.C. (which is not a state), a total of 538 electoral votes make up the Electoral College. Winning 270 or more Electoral College votes is required to become president. Except for Nebraska and Maine, each state’s electoral college votes are awarded winner-take-all, so whoever wins the most votes in a state wins all of that state’s electoral votes — 51% of the vote in New York is good for all 29 of its electoral votes. In 2016, Donald Trump won the presidency by eeking out small margins of victory in several “swing states” like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, which allowed him to win the presidency despite losing the national popular vote. Though former Vice President Joe Biden is likely to win the popular vote in 2020, the race is still competitive because President Trump can still win more electoral votes.

Cross-strait policy

Joe Biden speaks of competition with China as a race for the future, expressing worry that the U.S. might lose out on technological innovation or clean energy. He promises to get tough on China regarding its human rights abuses and theft of U.S. intellectual property. He has called Xi Jinping a "thug" in speeches, and his campaign has described the treatment of Uyghur Muslims as "genocide," something the Trump administration has not done. But Biden also nods to cooperation where the U.S. and China have converging interests, like climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, and global health security. He hopes to work with China on denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. A major distinction with Trump, too, is Biden's commitment to confronting China multilaterally. Biden hasn't had much to say on Taiwan recently, though he was the first Democratic presidential candidate to call President Tsai Ing-wen to congratulate her on her victory in January and would likely continue with past positions of upholding the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

Between a trade war and fawning words for Xi Jinping, Trump's China policy has one constant: transactionality. This quality also exists in Trump's dealing with certain U.S. business sectors as well as his reelection campaign. John Bolton described how this foreign affairs approach applied to Taiwan, as Trump, seated behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, compared China's economy to the desk and Taiwan's to a pen. In his book, Bolton also accused Trump of trying to convince Xi to throw China's economic weight behind helping Trump win reelection. Although the Trump administration has been called “the most pro-Taiwan” in American history — for supporting Congressional measures signalling close U.S.-Taiwan ties — others warned that his administration may simply see Taiwan as a geopolitical pawn.