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The eyes of the world are locked on the United States, eagerly awaiting the official outcome of the presidential election. According to 7 News, “US election” was the most searched term by Australians on Google this year with “Trump vs Biden” rounding out the top ten list. The election results are one step closer to being complete as today’s “safe harbor” deadline marks the date by which a state’s electors in the Electoral College are deemed protected from further legal challenge. For all practical purposes, the window for legal challenges to the election outcome has closed. Each state’s electors will meet in their state capitals on 14 December; in many states, the electors role is purely ceremonial, with state law mandating that they vote for the certified winner of the election in their state. Any further challenge to the election outcome would have to come via extraordinary political action, such as a state legislature endorsing an alternative slate of electors, or Congress not accepting the Electoral College results on 6 January 2021.
Another dominant trend in Google searches this year were coronavirus queries and comparisons of Australia and the United States in particular. As Non-Resident Senior Fellow Bruce Wolpe noted in April, the pandemic has been “a tale of two plagues” and the United States has now passed the grim milestone of 15 million cases of COVID-19. Even as the first vaccines start to roll out, the international competition is heating up, pitting the United States against the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and other countries to secure limited doses of vaccines while production gears up. President-Elect Biden has promised 100 million doses in his first 100 days and has said he will get the vaccine injection live on TV to convince others to get it as well once it has been declared safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).