In most instances, as the state-by-state meetings of the United States Electoral College took place, there was little more than a smattering of applause. Each state meets “on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December” to proclaim the will of the people, and no matter what the current incumbent has said or done since election day, the American voters have spoken: they want Joe Biden as their next president.
For most of America’s history, the official rubber-stamping of the presidential election has been a perfunctory affair, more formality than a focus of political fervour. But this was no ordinary election, and Donald Trump is no ordinary president. Never one to allow precedent or the facts to get in his way, Mr Trump has stress-tested America’s democratic institutions in unprecedented ways.
While those institutions have held firm, it has been a remarkable spectacle to watch his attempts to bulldoze his way into a second term.
In the days after the election, some of his political supporters talked of him needing time to digest the loss, but as the weeks have gone by, his “stolen election” accusations have not receded. That is despite the utter inability of his lawyers to get any judge, from the US Supreme Court down, to take the allegations seriously. When his court efforts failed, Mr Trump changed tack, but he was also rebuffed when he directed his bullying tactics at those in swing states he hoped would overturn the result.