Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday November 3, 2020
Canadians await U.S. election in fear, as poll reveals anxieties about aftermath
Canadians absorbed the first trickle of results Tuesday as their American neighbours went to the polls, capping a campaign marked by voter intimidation, threats of postelection violence, and concern about the potential breakdown of democracy itself.
The first returns showed U.S. President Donald Trump ahead, as expected, in Indiana and winning Kentucky, while an early see-saw for the crucial state of Florida was underway. But it was going to be a long night that would likely not produce a definitive result, said Mark Feigenbaum, the Toronto tax lawyer who is the chairman of Republicans Overseas Canada.
“It’s really encouraging that a lot of people are out voting. Whomever they’re voting for, I think it’s good,” he said.
Bessma Momani, an international affairs specialist at the University of Waterloo, said it was too early to draw any definitive conclusions.
“People are just projecting their own hopes,” she said.
“The early voting is pretty spectacular. From the academic side of this, usually early voting does not indicate a vote for the incumbent.”
Earlier Tuesday, a new poll from Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found a clear majority of Canadians surveyed worried that the United States will suffer a breakdown of its system marked by “social chaos” if no clear winner emerges.
That fear was driven by the assumption that Trump won’t accept defeat if he does in fact lose, or may prematurely declare victory on election night before all votes, including mail-in ballots, can be legally counted.
The Leger poll found that three-quarters of those surveyed in Canada are worried about the U.S. election, and 68 per cent worry that there will be a “complete breakdown of the political system in the U.S. leading to a period of social chaos.”
Four out of five respondents said they were concerned that increased racial tension would lead to protests and violence. (CTV News)