Skip to content


Juan Villalobos

The electoral process in the USA, a strategic action of Mexican diplomacy?

- It is worth reflecting on the possible mistake of not having congratulated the virtual president-elect Joe Biden.

The electoral process in the USA, a strategic action of Mexican diplomacy?

On November 3, the presidential elections were held in the United States, where through the popular vote as the first stage of the electoral process towards the White House, citizens freely chose between the Republican and current President Donald Trump or his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

The first thing that should be known about this complex democratic process in the US polls is that it is not through the direct vote of citizens as in countries like Mexico to reach the presidency. In the neighboring country, it is required through the vote of US citizenship to reach 270 electoral votes. So far, through different official media, the count is in favor of Joe Biden with a total of 306 votes counted, that is, 51.3% of the total electorate in the US, which translates into 81,282,903 votes counted. For the current president, Donald Trump, he has a total of 232 electoral votes, 47% of the total, translated into 74,223,030 votes.

Popular vote as the first stage of the electoral process towards the White House.

Derived from the result thrown by the North American media, which keep a count on par with that thrown by the state governments, media such as the New York Times, The Associated Press, Washington Post among others, "declare" the winner of the elections, of course, in an election as controversial as the one that took place this year, the count was followed minute by minute by all the media in the world without leaving behind the accusations to the system itself by President Trump, another paradigm that it has been broken thanks to him, on the unquestionable legal handling of voting.

The complexity of the US electoral system historically derives in two parts: the first through the popular vote and the second through the Electoral College. In this first stage, 48 of the 50 States use the "winner take all" method, that is, if a candidate is the winner in a State, all the votes go to that candidate, an example in the current vote was the State of Georgia, which by declaring the Democratic candidate Joe Biden the winner with a total of 49.5% of the votes, takes the 16 electoral votes that the State has.

Of the above, the only two states that use a different method are Nebraska and Maine, since they handle the counting of votes by district, giving the winner the votes that correspond only to that district. In Nebraska, the biggest winner was incumbent President Trump, leaving his rival to win within the state in Omaha and Lincoln.

Although the media and television stations in the USA announce the winner, the official results take place weeks later in the framework of the meeting of the 538 voters (435 members of the House of Representatives, 100 members of the Senate and 3 voters). of the District of Columbia) representing the 50 States of the American Union and the District of Columbia. Only at that moment, the president is officially elected and must reach the 270 electoral votes necessary to become president of the USA.

Each state has a number of electoral votes equal to the combined total of its delegation in the US Congress, coupled with the liberties granted by the Constitution, state legislatures have the power to determine the electors who will be called. Usually these electors are determined at the convention or state party committee. Voters, as a requirement, must have a recognized track record in the party, as well as loyalty, which guarantees that their vote is equal to that generated at the polls through the popular vote on November 3.

Up to this point, the process seems clear and well structured, however, in the election system, there is a category called unfaithful voters, that is, voters who vote for another candidate they represent, either for individual or group interests. Historically, unfaithful voters have never been able to modify an election, although it is speculated that President Trump may use business strategies, handling of highly classified and sensitive information for national security, use the well-known "men's market" ” where you can buy the will of some voters or seek to favor officials who support you during this electoral process in a high-ranking position in the government.

The times established to continue with the process, stipulate that from December 1 to 8, were the deadlines to resolve electoral disputes in the states where there is any controversy. There was not, President Trump's strategy collapses but we will have to see the votes cast by the Electoral College.

The governors of each state must send the electoral ballots and they will be received by the president of the Senate. December 23rd is considered, the deadline for this part of the process.

The date on which the presidential election will take place through the voters will be next December 14. Although, in theory, voters must cast their vote according to the popular vote, this does not necessarily have to happen and they may not coincide with the State they represent. The voting system is called indirect suffrage.

Historically, in the more than 23,000 electoral votes cast in 58 presidential elections, only 156 electors have cast a ballot differently and it has never – until now – resulted in the candidate who obtained the majority in the Electoral College losing the election. That is to say, for there to be a true substantial modification and modify the election, it is if it is found to be very close between both candidates and enough voters cast a contract vote to that of their State.

Subsequently, on January 6, 2021, in the city of Washington, in a joint session of Congress, the votes of the Electoral College will be ratified or declared invalid, as the case may be.

The particularity in this election is the allegations of President Trump, about "illegal" votes and the unfeasibility of the elections in some States, where the votes cast could not be verified.

It does not stop there, President Trump will go further, he will seek, if necessary, that the Supreme Court of Justice, with his impeccable prestige and reliability, verify the electoral process.

Even the US Attorney General, William Barr, has made it clear that no fraud has been observed so far that could have affected the elections. This upsets President Trump, who has begun to generate a series of firings of officials before his potential departure from the White House, the prosecutor is one of whom is in the crosshairs of being fired for his lack of loyalty to the president. North American.

For this reason, it is why many analysts and experts in the field have mixed opinions. Some ask to remain patient, wait for the competent institutions to give their opinion on the votes in the States where there is a place and declare a winning candidate before finalizing the electoral process and avoid setbacks. Others, for their part, request immediate congratulations and correct the diplomatic mistake of not congratulating President-elect Joe Biden on his electoral victory.

Of course, given the rupture of the political paradigm when the current president Trump arrived on the political scene, of bringing the current elections to a controversy due to fraud and mismanagement, trump idealism, challenges at all levels the presidential scheme that was held until now. However, his legal strategy to dispute the elections has been practically blurred.

According to the Washington Post, “As president, Donald Trump selectively disclosed highly classified information to attack his adversaries, gain political advantage, and impress or intimidate foreign governments, in some cases endangering America's intelligence capabilities. As a former president, there is every reason to worry that he will do the same, posing a unique national security dilemma for the Biden administration." Until now, the administration of President Trump is beginning to take the first steps of rapprochement, will they keep classified information at their convenience?

Marcelo Ebrard's performance has been widely accepted in Mexican society.

When seeing the ins and outs that make up North American democracy and the results of the virtual winning candidate, Democrat Joe Biden, it is pertinent for President López Obrador to have maintained a prudent diplomatic position in his own words "We want to wait for the matter to be resolved legally of the election in the United States.

Mexico's position on bilateral policy issues is always complex, given our closeness to the US and the intertwining of both economies. While countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Spain, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela among many others have congratulated, in Mexico the right has been reserved. In other words, we adhere to the principle of the Estrada doctrine, we apply the policy of non-intervention and the right to self-determination of peoples, notions enshrined in Article 89 of the Constitution.

And in the national palace, what do you think? It is worth reflecting on the possible mistake of not having congratulated the virtual president-elect Joe Biden. President López Obrador, identifies with President Trump, for him -the process in the USA- is an experiment of a possible scenario in the ballot itself and the revocation of his mandate. The strategy in Mexico is already in place, it seeks the destruction of the establishment, the vilification of the media and maintaining direct communication with "the people."

For now, in our country they await instructions, they await the result to find out whether to congratulate the virtual winning candidate Joe Biden or stand firm together with President Trump.

Mexico knows the electoral political times in the USA, as well as the results of the election. Taking refuge in the Estrada doctrine as a law without interpretation is not possible, although waiting for the due legal processes to end in the US, this is dated December 8. Voting by the Electoral College will take place on December 14. Mexico should closely monitor the process and begin rapprochement with the transition team. The congratulations by the administration of President López Obrador also have a deadline: January 6, 2021, when the US Congress counts the votes of the Electoral College during a joint session of both Chambers.

It would not be suggestive to congratulate until the inauguration of the new president of the USA (January 20, 2021). It would not be a bad strategy either, to begin the rapprochement and the bilateral political work that starts before and stays away from the media.


    Associated Press (2020) Understanding the election. Consultado el 11 de diciembre de 2020 en:

    The Washington Post (2020). As an ex-president, Trump could disclose the secrets he learned while in office, current and former officials fear. Consultado el 11 de diciembre de 2020 en:

The best content in your inbox

Join our newsletter with the best of CEMERI

Related articles

Villalobos, Juan. “¿El proceso electoral en EUA, una acción estratégica de la diplomacia mexicana?.” CEMERI, 13 sept. 2022,