With U.S. Presidential Result Finalized, Time to End Conflict over Election ‘Fraud’

This should be an opportunity to put an end to the futile confrontation over the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and move forward. Admitting the legitimacy of the election is surely expected to be a step toward restoring deteriorated U.S. politics.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party candidate, obtained a solid majority in the electoral votes for the presidential election, effectively confirming his victory.

The electoral votes are a formality and usually do not attract attention. In the Nov. 3 balloting by eligible voters, the winners of each state and the number of electors each has won became clear. The electoral votes are just a procedure to confirm the winner.

The reason for the unusual confusion is that U.S. President Donald Trump has refused to concede on the grounds of election fraud, engaging in legal battles demanding among other things the nullification of the outcome.

The Trump camp has lost a series of lawsuits. Concerning the casting and counting of votes, it is obvious that there were no irregularities that could shake the outcome of the election. The president bears a heavy responsibility for repeatedly making baseless assertions on his own and damaging public trust in elections, which are the foundation of democracy.

With the inauguration of the Biden administration on Jan. 20, it is important not to create any gaps in such areas as the handling of the infectious disease, economic measures and security policies. Trump’s stance of continuing to appeal to his supporters as if he were still in an election campaign runs counter to such efforts.

Trump’s move to sack U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and his policy to reduce U.S. forces in Afghanistan could affect the next administration. They were not matters the outgoing president should have decided. Trump should put priority on a smooth transition of power and make efforts to exercise self-restraint.

Biden called for unity and healing in a divided nation in a speech after his electoral victory. The cooperation of Trump supporters is essential to bridge the divide among the public.

The lineup of the new administration includes many senior officials of the administration of former President Barack Obama, with conspicuous emphasis on their practical skills and experience. Another feature of the new lineup is that consideration is given to balance in race and gender, putting an emphasis on diversity.

It is understandable that the new administration aims to emphasize the differences from the Trump administration, but it may be necessary to seek a wide range of human resources without sticking to those related to the Democratic Party in order to promote social harmonization.

The regular media and social media have also been questionable over their coverage of the presidential election. It is a serious situation when many people accept and believe Trump’s Twitter messages that there was election fraud.

Twitter Inc. places a warning notice on problematic tweets to draw people’s attention. Recipients must also develop the ability to calmly discern the authenticity of information and the intentions of the tweeters.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on Dec. 16, 2020.