As America holds its breath over an election outcome, Twitter lights up with cracks from around the world

November 4, 2020, 6:20 PM UTC

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It could be several more hours—if not days—before we know the fate of a handful of nail-biter states to swing the election in favor of Joe Biden or Donald Trump. We’re looking at you: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

While America remains gripped with the uncertainty of a marathon vote count, the world cannot help but gawk—and, this being the social media age, deliver some smart-aleck cracks at the expense of the world’s No. 1 superpower.

Fortune has found a few worth sharing. (What else are we going to do while we wait?)

East Africa

A Nairobi-based cartoonist who goes by the Twitter handle @gathara couldn’t help but point out (repeatedly) the irony of America’s disputed election. Kenya has been no stranger to Election Day controversy and even violence in recent years, sometimes requiring international observers, such as former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Gathara figured it was time to turn the tables, applying some of the same journalistic tropes used on his homeland to the situation in the U.S.


President Trump himself has provided some choice material to the chattering masses on Twitter. In a now deleted early-morning tweet, the President punctuated his stop-the-vote-count directive with a meatball-size malapropism that quizzically pointed out, “The Poles are closed.”

That proved too much to resist for Jakub Krupa, a London-based journalist who writes about Polish and European politics. Not long after Trump’s tweet, Poland did in fact close—well, Poland’s schools, shops, and cinemas did in order to fight back a deadly wave of COVID infections. “Thanks, Donald,” Krupa faux grumbled.

Of course, the U.S. does not hold the monopoly on excruciating moments in the history of democracy, as several British commentators point out. In some U.K. voting districts, the field of candidates is so diverse it sometimes means the Prime Minister is on the same ballot as Lord Buckethead and some man dressed as the Sesame Street character Elmo. (Social media loves this about British politics. Please. Don’t. Change. A. Thing.)

With that in mind, one commentator, Owen Barder, asks his followers to consider what a “well-functioning democracy” looks like.

Down Under

Others cannot help but marvel that the fate of America’s presidential vote depends so heavily on the United States Postal Service—national postal services being a punching bag the world over.

Upon reflection, that realization elicits some sympathy, and plenty of yucks.

Additional reporting by David Meyer in Berlin.

Correction and update, November 4, 2020: This post has been updated to correct the initial heading. It now correctly reads, East Africa.