“It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s the people who count the votes.” That is a famous statement on the difference between voting in elections and winning in elections, attributed to Joseph Stalin, dictator of the U.S.S.R.

The United States of America, the world’s leader in democracy, has repeatedly proved the validity of this statement. It was when the U.S. was hurled into a lengthy court battle of Bush v. Gore on the recount of presidential election of 2000, this quote was salvaged from oblivion of the Communist history and widely circulated sarcastically among the people in the free and democratic world.

This time again, counting is more important than voting.

Mr. Trump, as expected, declared prematurely a victory late at night of the election day Nov. 3, based on the early counting of rural counties of the “Red States” where conservative voters are predominant.

Mr. Biden took over Trump until next morning, after the vote counting proceeded in large cities and results of the counting of absentee votes and Mail-In ballots flew in. Trump campaign filed lawsuits, as expectedly, to stop counting ballots in key swing-states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan. Contradictorily, Trump team is demanding a recount in Wisconsin while the handling of ballots in Georgia was challenged.

Though the near future is not expectable, the middle and long-term trend is.

George Friedman, world leading geopolitical strategist, published recently a book titled The Storm Before the Calm: America’s Discord, The Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and The Triumph Beyond in which he forecasts the trend of the U.S. internal division and upheavals throughout the decade of 2020s.

In his theory, the American history has two “cycles,” one is the institutional-political cycle which lasts for 80 years each and the other socioeconomic cycle which ends in each 50 years, both approximately. Each of the cycles end in instability caused by their own successes. The institutional cycle and socioeconomic cycle converge in the mid-2020s, the first such case in American history, leaving with it a period of unprecedented degree of difficulty and instability.

These cycles, however, are not negative factors of the U.S. society, according to Dr. Friedman. Rather, they are driving forces which move America forward, attaining more confidence and prosperity, creating new models overcoming the problems caused by the previous cycles.

The Trump administration, whether it ends in a single term or continues another 4 years, is not the cause or end-result of this instability, but it’s the precursor of the coming larger instability. We must be bracing for that.