The referendum: "We must expel the beast" | USA elections

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A Joe Biden supporter demonstrates in favor of the Democratic candidate in Miami this Sunday.David Santiago / AP

The reporter's job is usually pretty dumb. On many occasions it consists of walking around, watching what is happening and asking questions of strangers. Let's get on a Sunday morning, in an American city hall. The one in Miami Beach, Florida, because the reporter is closer to hand. It rains, like almost every day lately. There is little influx between eight and nine. People drive up, park, run through puddles to the building, vote, and run back to their vehicle.

No one wants to stop and chat with a masked guy with a strange accent. But someone gives a minute. The funny thing is that nobody, nobody, mentions Joe Biden. They only talk about Donald Trump. In this case, mostly against. Furiously against. One concludes that what is unfolding, more than an election, is a referendum on the most divisive and controversial figure in the world.

In reality, what is going to happen on November 3 has already happened. It happens that we still do not know.

The USA Elections Project, an independent body, estimates that 150 million voters will vote this year. That represents 65% of the electorate. If the forecast comes true, it will be the largest turnout in more than a century. At least in that sense, it is undeniable that Trump is promoting a formidable democratic mobilization. According to the accounts of the agency cited a few lines ago, to date more than 50 million Americans have voted, through the open polls in public libraries and municipalities or through the mail. In other words, more than a third of the votes have been cast. With this percentage it is possible to conclude that the elections already have a winner. But you have to wait until day 3 (or much later, if the results are tight and a legal battle opens) for the count to take place and it is known who will live in the White House for the next four years.

In general, every president running for reelection presents his fellow citizens with a certain form of referendum. You already know what you can and cannot do. It is approved or disapproved. On this occasion, however, as in almost any Trump issue, approval or disapproval reaches extremes near hysteria. The New York tycoon provokes fierce hatred or delusional enthusiasm. On Sunday morning, at the Miami Beach electoral headquarters, much more of the former was perceived. To an innocuous question, of the type "what do you expect the result to be?", A lady replied that it was necessary to "expel the beast." A young man who barely stopped called himself "anti-Trump." Another man, older, was relatively secretive and limited himself to saying that he expected "a clear and uncontroversial result."

The reporter had lunch with an old friend, a manager in a major television company. The manager pronounced the word "referendum". Later she spoke by phone with an old friend, a prestigious journalist. The journalist pronounced the word "referendum". One has the feeling that, at least until the result is known, these elections do not have two protagonists, but one. The current president.

Except among irate Trump players, Joe Biden is generally recognized as a good guy. Not much more. Some criticize him for being a veteran of "Washington politicking" (as if amateur politicians are better than professionals) and some see him, at 77, too old for the presidency (Ronald Reagan finished his second term in office). He was 79 and looked like a wreck), but it doesn't cause as much polarization as previous Democratic candidates. Barack Obama (oops, he's black) won. Hillary Clinton (oops, it's Hillary) lost. Both elicited love or hate.

Joe Biden, that gentle man with traces of his youthful stuttering, somehow evokes the man who in 54 was appointed Emperor of Rome by the Praetorian Guard. That man, Claudio, was also a stutterer. His great merit consisted in not being Caligula.

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