As I write this, at noon on 4th November, 41 of the 50 states have declared their results. In terms of the crucial Electoral College representatives neither Biden nor Trump has yet achieved the necessary 270 electors, but Biden is ahead with 224 places, Trump behind with 213.
Yet Trump has used all the panoply of the White House - rows and rows of Stars and Stripes, a band (or recording) playing "Hail to the Chief," - and declared that he has won.
This is surely fake new to the to the power of n.
On the strength of this totally false claim Trump has called on the Supreme Court to order all further counting of votes to be discontinued. How far from the ideals of liberal democracy (as brilliantly explained in Ian Dunt's highly readable "How to be a Liberal," published by Canbury a few weeks ago) can you get?
I think most of the rest of what used to be called the Western World were hoping for an overwhelming victory for Biden and the Democrats. However imperfect they may be, they would represent a return to normalcy and decency. The worst possible outcome from liberal democrats' (lower case deliberate) of view would have been an overwhelming victory for Trump.
Instead we have the second worst outcome: Biden comfortably ahead on the total vote but only neck and neck on Electoral College places, and challenges to the validity of the election which could go on for weeks and possibly involve the Supreme Court with its 6:3 Republican majority.
We should not be surprised.
This has been predicted as the most probable outcome for months. Clearly Trump anticipated it as he has spent those months drip-feeding totally unsubstantiated doubts about the reliability of the election into the public discourse. The mighty Fox News is on his side.
Biden and the Democrats will doubtless put up a doughty fight, but they are on the back foot, (cf Gore in 2020 and the hanging chads) as Trump will use all the trappings of his office, which he retains until next January whatever the outcome, to subvert the democratic will of the people.
Whether we like it or not the US is the world's leading and by far the most powerful liberal democracy. We can hope and urge that reason prevails