The year is receding without a sense of finality. The Covid-19 menace extends into the next year and so too the unprecedented stress test for American democracy. This test is not yet over although it has been nearly seven weeks since the Nov 3 election in which President Donald Trump staked his personal credibility. Last Monday, presidential electors met across 50 states and the District of Columbia and cast a 306-232 vote in favour of Mr Joe Biden. The process is but a formality that does not merit much attention. But this year it was closely watched because Mr Trump continues to cling to his unproven claims that the election was fraudulently won and presses on with efforts to resist the outcome. Days before the Electoral College vote, more than half the Republican members of the House of Representatives petitioned the Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn the election results in the four swing states that clinched Mr Biden's victory. The attorneys-general of 19 Republican-led states also affixed their names to the petition - which was tossed out by the court.
But it appears that Mr Trump is not done. A flutter of protest is likely again on Jan 6, when Congress meets to certify the Electoral College votes. The Democrat-majority House will prevail but not before Republican representatives will likely raise fruitless objections. Even on Jan 20, when Mr Biden is sworn in, Mr Trump will likely insist that he won. Bucking tradition, he has not only refused to concede, but is also expected to stay away from the inauguration and stage a rival event in Florida to launch his 2024 presidential bid. It would not be out of character for Mr Trump, who unfurled his 2020 bid within hours of his inauguration in 2017.