Donald Trump is showing little sign he’s ready to hand Joe Biden the reins of power. Days after the election results were clear, a Washington power grab and a blizzard of lawsuits underlines what many suspected would be a worst-case scenario: a rejected US president refusing to go quietly.
But does Trump’s intransigence matter?
Declining to concede the election to president-elect Biden is not a good look for America, particularly when it’s a country that sees itself as a beacon of democracy and lectures the rest of world on peaceful changes of power. But the election result is highly unlikely to be overturned, and Biden will be sworn on January 20. But between now and then, plenty could happen.
The election result won’t change
In Britain, election results lead to an immediate change of government. In America, the presidential handover is staggered as as the results of the Electoral College vote is ratified. Tradition dictates that Trump would be in the Oval Office during the period, with his hands on the levers of power, while there is a gradual transition to the Biden administration.
Many of the protocols are continuing despite Trump digging in, including world leaders congratulating Biden and looking to their future relations with the US. On Wednesday, Boris Johnson welcomed a “refreshing” conversation with Biden as the UK prime minister labelled Trump the “previous president”.
“In theory it should not really matter,” Professor Natasha Lindstaedt, from the department of government at the University of Essex, told HuffPost UK.
“Every election official from every state has confirmed that there has not been any evidence of voter fraud. Even if vote counts take place, they will not change the outcome because the margin of victory is too large in too many states. All of the major news outlets have called it, including Fox, and a handful of past Republican leaders and a few Republican lawmakers have acknowledged that it’s over.”