Bihar Elections 2020: Results & Comparison With US Elections

Bihar Elections 2020: Results & Comparison With US Elections

One of India’s biggest elections during the Covid-19 pandemic completed recently, with the winner being declared within 3 days unlike the elections across the Atlantic ocean. In this light, let us look at some facts of Bihar elections of 2020 as well as its differences with the US Elections.

Crux of the Matter

NDA The Winner
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won the 2020 Bihar elections. Home Minister Amit Shah of the BJP claimed that “there is no if or but. Nitish Kumar will be the next chief minister of Bihar”. Kumar belongs to the JD(U) of the alliance.

Kumar has been Bihar’s CM since 2005. Jitan Ram Manjhi served as the CM between May 2014 and Feb 2015. NDA has won 125 out of total of 243 seats in 2020.

Who Won How Many Seats?


NDA parties and seats won (total 125):

  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): 74.
  • Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)): 43.
  • Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM): 4.
  • Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP): 4.

NDA defeated Mahagathbandhan, which won 110 seats. Mahagathbandhan parties and seats won:

  • Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD): 75.
  • Congress: 19.
  • CPI (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation: 12.
  • Communist Party of India (CPI): 2.
  • CPI (Marxist): 2.

Other parties:

  • All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM): 5 seats.
  • Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP): 1 seat.
  • Bahujan Samaj Party: 1 seat.
  • Independent: 1 seat.

Bihar Election Facts
The 2020 Bihar elections took place in 3 phases:

  • Phase 1: 28 October (71 seats)
  • Phase 2: 3 November (94 seats)
  • Phase 3: 7 November (78 seats)

Around 4.1 crore people voted. Also, the number of polling stations increased to 1,06,526 in 2020 from 65,367 in 2015 to have fewer people per station owing to Covid-19. Postal ballots were also allowed for people:

  • Over the age of 80.
  • With physical disabilities.
  • Covid positive/symptomatic in quarantine.
  • In ‘essential services’.

52,000 people chose postal ballot in phase 1 alone.

Changes In Bihar Elections Due To Covid

  • New time: 7 AM to 6 PM (instead of 5 PM).
  • Thermal screening before entering to vote – people with higher temperature asked to come after 5 PM.
  • 5 PM to 6 PM slot for people with Covid positive/symptoms.
  • Glove provided to press the EVM button.
  • Hand sanitization mandatory.
  • No. of voters per booth restricted to 1,000.
  • Postal ballot option extended to people with Covid-19 positive/symptoms and in quarantine.
  • Restricted door-to-door campaigning – only 5 (including candidate) allowed.
  • Nomination form and security money transfer available online.
  • Max limit of 5 vehicles in convoys for roadshows.

US Elections 2020
Early voting started before the General elections of 3 November, starting as early as 18 September in Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming. 6.5 crore people chose to vote by postal ballot out of the total 15.8 crore votes (projected).

Major Differences In Bihar And US Elections

  • Bihar: Elections managed by an independent Election Commission across all state and national elections.
    US: Election rules vary with state.
  • Bihar: Voted for MLAs (representative of the constituency) – MLAs choose the CM.
    US: Voted for elector (different from Representative). Electoral college meets on 14 December – electors choose the President they have promised to the party (defections happen, though rarely). Elections for Representatives are separate from the Presidential elections in the US. Voting for President is the only task of electors.
  • Bihar: Result officially announced within 3 days on 10 November.
    US: Dates for Certification (official announcement after verification) vary state by state. The dates range from 5 November in Delaware to 11 December in California. All results before Certification are ‘projections’ of media. Delay has occurred as postal ballots are still being counted in several states. A drastic increase in the postal ballot has occurred due to Covid. Candidates usually concede after the projection results – an exception in the case of Trump.

Read More: Trump, Biden And Media Partisanship

Curiopedia
  • RJD politician Tejaswi Yadav is a former cricketer and was a part of the IPL team ‘Delhi Daredevils’ from 2008 to 2012
  •  LJP President Chirag Paswan tried his luck in Bollywood too and starred opposite Kangana Ranaut in a Hindi movie Miley Naa Miley Hum in 2011
  • The Bihar Legislative Assembly was established in 1937 – 10 years before Indian Independence. The first session of the first Bihar legislative assembly having 152 members had begun on July 22, 1937
  • Rachiyahi of Begusarai constituency was the place where the first instance of booth capturing in India was recorded during the General Elections of 1957.
  • Ram Vilas Paswan, chief of Lok Janshakti Party holds a Guinness world record for winning with a margin of 4.24 lakh votes. He won the Hajipur constituency (in Bihar) in 1977.

Knowing Joe Biden, US President-Elect

Knowing Joe Biden, US President-Elect

Let’s know Joe Biden, the US President-elect, his background, his plans regarding immigration, environment, wages and several issues and some quick facts.

Crux of the Matter

Quick Facts

  • Elected President at the age of 77 – oldest President elected. Biden would be 78 by Inauguration day.
  • Reported win of 50.61% total vote and 290 electoral votes (as of 9 Nov).
  • Elected in 3rd attempt – previous attempts for 1988 and 2008.
  • 2nd Catholic US President – after John F Kennedy.

Early Criticism

  • 1988 candidacy suspended after plagiarism in speech.
  • Against Government intervention in “racial desegregation busing”. Busing: Transportation of students to schools usually outside their “local school districts”.
  • Promoted the 1994 Crime Bill, which increased numbers and duration of imprisonments.

Biden has publicly claimed change in opinion on the mentioned issues ever since.

Political Journey

  • Elected to the US Senate at the age of 29.
  • 1990: Introduced the Violence Against Women Act – passed in 1994.
  • Served as Vice President under Barack Obama for 8 years.

Supports

  • Increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour.
  • Expansion of Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
  • Removing tax-cuts for big corporations.
  • Increasing income tax rate from 37% to 39.6% (for people earning over $400,000 per year).
  • Increasing corporate income tax rate from 21% (currently) to 28%.
  • Cancelling $10,000 in student debt.
  • Increasing monthly Social Security payments by $200.

Proposed To

  • Sanction $2 trillion to “eliminate” US carbon emissions.
  • Invest $300 million into the ‘community policing programme’.
  • Stricter gun control.
  • End travel ban from 13 Muslim-majority/African nations.
  • Reunite children separated from parents at the US-Mexico border.
  • Immediately rejoin Paris Climate Accord and reverse Trump’s decision to leave the World Health Organization (WHO).
Curiopedia
  • In the early 70s, Biden decided to run for Senate for the Democratic Party. He defeated his political opponent, J. Caleb Boggs in 1972 and became one of the youngest Senators ever, at age 29.
  • In 2016, as vice president, Joe Biden participated in the Oscar gala to announce a performance by Lady Gaga. He talked about the theme of Lady Gaga’s song ‘Til It Happens to You’.
  • In 2015 his eldest son, Beau, died from brain cancer; Biden recounted the experience in Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose (2017).

US Elections: How Do They Work?

As the counting for the US Elections continues, let us look at how the country’s electoral system works, including the now famous term “electoral college”.

Crux of the Matter

Presidential Elections
Presidential elections occur in the US every 4 years. President is both the ‘Head of State’ and the ‘Head of Government’ in the US. The new President would be officially sworn in on 20 January 2021.

Even though having several parties, the major 2 parties in the US are:

  • The Republican Party (conservative).
  • The Democratic Party (liberal).

Simultaneously Going
Elections are also going for:

  • All seats of The House of Representatives.
  • 33% seats of The Senate.
  • Proposed laws.

Ballot paper in the current election may ask one to vote for, besides President:

  • Representative
  • Senator
  • Judge
  • Proposed laws and policies, etc.

Voters approved legalization of “recreational marijuana” in Arizona and New Jersey, and approved both recreational and medical use in South Dakota (as per CNN). Oregon became the 1st state to “decriminalize” possession of hard drugs (cocaine, heroin, LSD).

US Congress Constitution
The US Congress is formed by:

  • The House of Representatives (Lower House).
  • The Senate (Upper House).

Both the Houses are similar to the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha (RS) respectively. Difference: Senate members are elected directly while the RS members elected by ‘State Legislative Assemblies’.

  • Number of Representatives per state: According to its population.
    Elections for all seats of the House of Representatives occur every 2 years.
  • Number of Senators per state: 2 (independent of population). Senate members are elected for 6 years, with elections on 33% seats occurring every 2 years.

Electoral College
US voters vote for electors appointed by parties, which have promised to vote for the particular candidate.

  • Total electoral college votes: 538
    270 or more required to win for the President.
  • Number of electoral votes per state = Number of Representatives + Number of Senators (2 for all states).

‘Winner Takes All’ System
Example of state X with 50 electoral votes.

  • Party A wins 52% votes.
  • Party B wins 48% votes.

Result: Party A wins all 50 electoral votes.

The system is followed in all states except Maine (4 electoral votes) and Nebraska (5 electoral votes). These 2 states provide 2 votes for the popular vote in the state, and provide 1 for popular vote in “each congressional district”.

Popular Vote
Electoral College is the opposite of the popular vote, which basically is the votes received by a candidate across the country. Interestingly, a candidate may overall have more total votes (popular vote) and still lose. It occurred in 2016 when Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes than Trump overall but lost in the electoral votes.

Swing States
Swing states are also known as ‘battlegrounds’ or ‘purple states’. These states have voted for both Republicans and Democrats in different elections, with both parties having strong support here.

38 states have voted for the same party in 5 presidential elections between 2000 and 2016. The remaining 12 states have changed their votes. The Swing states for 2020 include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, etc.

Read More: Trump, Biden And Media Partisanship

Curiopedia
  • George Washington was the first and only US President who won the elections, running as an independent.
  • Libertarian Party, with Libertarianism ideology, is the 3rd biggest Party in the US. Jo Jorgensen is the 2020 Presidential nominee for the Party
  • Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for President in 1872 while Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party ticket in 2016
  • John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B, Benjamin Harrison, George Bush. and Donald Trump are the 5 Presidents who lost the Popular Vote but got more electoral votes than their contenders

Amy Coney Barrett Appointed To The US Supreme Court

Amy Coney Barrett Appointed To The US Supreme Court

As the US Senate confirmed the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, who was nominated by President Trump, let us take a look at her views on key issues and the controversy regarding her appointment.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Appointment
On 27 October, 2020, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Justice in the US Supreme Court. She was appointed after the Senate voted 52-48 in her favour. All the Democrats voted against her appointment, citing the proximity of the November 3 Presidential elections as the reason. Barrett became the first Justice in 151 years to be confirmed without “a single vote from the minority party”.

The US Supreme Court now has a 6-3 majority of Conservative judges. President Trump nominated Barrett on 26 September. He allegedly expressed a wish to have her on the council in case of disputes in the Presidential Election.

Barrett replaces the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the notable Justice famous as a liberal and feminist icon, who died on 18 September 2020.

Who Is Amy Coney Barrett?

  • Barret has worked as a Professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School.
  • She has served in clerkships under Judge Laurence Silberman and former Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, both renowned Conservative Judges.
  • 2017: She was appointed by Trump (and confirmed by the Senate) to the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
  • She is identified as an “Originalist”, interpreting the Constitution as it was at the time of writing.

I interpret the constitution as a law, that I interpret its text as text and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it…so that meaning doesn’t change over time. And it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it.

Amy Coney Barrett

Controversy

  • Barrett is associated with the People of Praise – a conservative Christian “faith group”. Even though she has claimed that she won’t let her religious views interfere in her decisions, critics are still apprehensive of such a possibility.
  • ‘People of Praise’ has been accused of a strong anti-LGBTQ stance. Human Rights Campaign has described Barrett’s appointment as a “threat to LGBT rights”.
  • Barrett allegedly advocates the loosening of the Gun control laws.
  • Trump advocates the removal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which covers healthcare of millions of people. A hearing on Obamacare is scheduled 1 week after the election, where Barrett is expected to vote for its removal as per analysts.
  • Trump has expressed a wish to overturn the historic ‘Roe v Wade’ judgement, which legalized abortion in the US in 1973. Recently, Trump claimed that it is “certainly possible” to have Barrett part of the ruling to overturn Roe vs Wade, with Barrett having called for more restrictions on abortion in the past.

2016 Situation

  • February 2016: Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.
  • The then-President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the vacant seat, who is widely known as a ‘Centrist’ judge.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several Republicans refused any hearing on the nominee. They cited elections (still then 9 months away) as the reason for the refusal.
  • Garland has been in discussion again as ironically, the Republicans nominated Barrett 1 week before the 2020 Presidential election.

To know about how the media and social media in US have been in discussion due to their non-partisan behaviour concerning 2020 US Elections, click here: Trump, Biden And Media Partisanship

Curiopedia
  • Ruth Bader was the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. President Obama has also served as the first black President of the review in 1990.
  • One of the historic judgements of the US Supreme courts is a 5–4 majority ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
  • William H. Taft is the only US president to also serve as a Supreme Court justice. Taft was the 27th president (1909–1913) and the 10th Chief Justice (1921–1930) of the United States. 
  • According to a tradition, Supreme Court justices shake hands with each of the other eight when they meet to discuss cases. This serves as a reminder that in spite of differences of opinions, the Court still works in overall harmony.
  • Sandra Day O’Connor was the first lady to be appointed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. She was nominated by President Ronal Reagan.
  • Scott v. Stanford, also known as the Dred Scott decision, struck down the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Act and ruled that just because an enslaved person was living in a “free” state, that didn’t mean they weren’t still enslaved. This ruling increased tensions between the North and South in the build-up to the Civil War.

Trump, Biden And Media Partisanship

Trump, Biden And Media Partisanship

As one of the most polarising elections draws near, several media as well as scientific journals have endorsed Biden and opposed Trump. The phenomenon has ignited the age old debate: if and when should media be non-partisan?

Crux of the Matter

Rolling Stone Magazine
Rolling Stones magazine recently announced its official endorsement of Democrat candidate Joe Biden. Previously, the magazine had endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Elections. The magazine wrote “we’ve lived for the past four years under a man categorically unfit to be president” for Donald Trump.

Rolling Stone magazine also wrote that “four years of Trump have left 215,000 of us and counting dead from a serious but preventable public-health crisis, and the public’s faith in its elected representatives at an all-time low”. They backed Biden by saying that his “platform offers progressive solutions to every major problem facing the country”.

USA Today
USA Today, reportedly the “highest-circulation newspaper” of the US, endorsed a candidate for the first time. It has claimed that “Biden is well-positioned to repair the wreckage Trump has made of the federal government”.

USA Today cited a Washington Post report, which claims that Trump made 20,000 false/misleading claims within 1,267 days of service. On average, that comes down to 15.8 false/misleading claims per day.

Science Journals
In an unprecedented move, several scientific journals have openly endorsed Biden or opposed Trump. The move came amidst Trump claiming “people are tired of hearing Fauci (top US epidemiologist) and all these idiots”.

  • The Lancet Oncology wrote, “Trump has repeatedly politicised, undermined, and slashed funding to US federal scientific and health agencies” – and officially endorsed Biden.
  • Scientific American wrote, “Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science”. Endorsed Biden – its first endorsement in 175 years.

Republicans Against Trump
Republican Voters Against Trump, The Lincoln Project, and several other groups comprising of former Republicans have been formed. These groups have urged people to vote against Trump (Republican candidate).

  • Michael Steele, the first African American chairman of the Republican National Committee, has openly backed Biden against Trump.
  • Ron Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan (Republican), recently claimed that his father would have been “horrified” of Trump administration.
  • NY Times reported in June 2020 that former President George W Bush (Republican) would vote for Biden instead of Trump.

Twitter And Hunter
Twitter and Facebook recently restricted a story regarding Joe Biden’s son Hunter, with Twitter banning the sharing of the link. The story, coming from New York Post, has claimed that Hunter arranged a meeting between “a Ukrainian energy firm and his father” when his father was the vice president.

The story has been labelled “false” by several fact-checks. However, Twitter later reversed the ban.

Question For Readers

Overall, two camps exist regarding non-partisanship in media:

  1. Media should always be non-partisan.
  2. Non-partisanship can be abandoned in times of emergency.

Here are 2 questions for the readers:

  • Should media always be non-partisan?
  • Is the current situation fit to be called ‘Emergency’ where non-partisanship can be abandoned?

Send us your views on namaskar@summachar.in.

Curiopedia
  • The United States federal government shutdown of 2018–2019 occurred from December 22, 2018, until January 25, 2019 (35 days). It was the longest U.S. government shutdown in history of the USA. The shutdown stemmed from an impasse over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in federal funds for a U.S.–Mexico border wall.
  • The Apprentice is an American reality television program that judges the business skills of a group of contestants. Donald Trump was the show’s host for the first fourteen seasons, with the show affording him popularity that contributed to his rise to the presidency of the United States.
  • The 1988 presidential campaign of Joe Biden was considered one of the potentially strongest campaigns in the field. However, in September 1987, newspaper stories stated he had plagiarized a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock. Other allegations of past law school plagiarism and exaggerating his academic record soon followed. Biden withdrew from the race later that month.