The world’s “best democracy” and once a solo super power is going to witness
Its Presidential elections this year at a time when the world is fighting the deadly COVID-19.
What will be interesting to note this time is that the elections were preceded with events like the unsuccessful impeachment of US President Donald Trump and the huge number of deaths due to COVID-19, among other things. The polls are always important, especially given that it has a global impact and that its results matters both, people at home and also to countries across the globe.
The US Presidential elections are quite different from electoral democracies across the world, wherein Donald Trump’s own Republican Party may not even have control of the US Congress even if he wins, as there is a dual party rule in America. Power politics revolves around the Republican and the Democratic parties.
This time, both Trump and his Democratic Party candidate, Joe Biden, are in their 70s. Trump would be 74 years old at the start of his second term if he wins again, while at 78, Mr Biden of the Democratic Party would be the oldest first-term president in history if he is successfully elected.
“I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask, everything
disappears. I would not order Americans to wear masks to contain the spread of
the Corona virus. People should have certain freedom,” says the fearless incumbent President- Donald Trump. From such comments, he appears to be pragmatic, as he says that Americans should be ready to stand up to the losses and mitigate their sufferings together.
He’s the leader of what remains the world’s most powerful nation; often playing a game with global consequences. One may agree with his attitude and approach and feel that instead of wooing voters by giving them false promises, he is
rather trying to win their hearts by giving out clear cut message of what will
happen next as it is. (sounds a to like someone we know in India perhaps?).
While on the other hand, Joe Biden has been talking to “re-embrace international engagement, leadership, and cooperation.” His platform states, “Even as we take urgent steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at home, we must also help lead the response to this crisis globally. In doing so, we will lay the groundwork for sustained global health security leadership into the future.”
Unlike Trump, Biden is for a decisive public health response that ensures the wide availability of free COVID-19 testing, the elimination of all cost barriers to preventive care and treatment for COVID-19 and also for the development of a vaccine. He also wants the full deployment and operation of necessary supplies, personnel and facilities.
Throughout the pandemic, and even as cases and deaths increased, President
Trump has downplayed the threat of COVID-19. What we have are two opposite
poles contesting. Joe is thinking globally whereas Trump only has America in mind. “Make America great again” has also always been his battle cry.
The Electoral College:
What complicates the US Presidential elections is the Electoral College system that the US uses to elect its head of the nation. Under the system, each State is given a number of votes based on how many members it sends to the Congress –
the House of Representatives and the Senate.
A total of 538 Electoral College votes are up for grabs and so a candidate needs to hit 270 to win. Some States have a lot more Electoral College votes on offer than others and hence candidates often spend a lot more time campaigning in those places them.
In Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, lowa, Ohio, Texas,
Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada and Georgia etc, all have
predicted Joe Biden’s win. But things can change at the last minute too and more
likely when Trump is involved. Joe Biden has been ahead of Donald Trump in
most national polls since the start of the year.
Biden has hovered around 50 percent in recent months and has had a 10-point lead on occasions. The voters are going to decide the verdict on November 3. However, even the polls cannot give the exact picture. In 2016, the polls predicted Hillary’s win but it turned out differently. Clearly anything can happen.
If Donald Trump comes back, there will be a change in the international politics
and world order in all likelihood. The US leader, already considered to be polrarising and brash, will have more robust policies if voted to power. For the next four years, there will be disruptive foreign policy, especially given that he has been speaking against the illegal entry of migrants into America, which his critics say is nothing but an attempt to target minorities in the US.
On the other hand, Joe Biden is someone who has promised to work on the Corona virus pandemic, US-WHO relations, climate change and space exploration if he wins the upcoming US election. Whoever wins, there is a hope that he will have to weigh up the oldest democracy from crisis and revive relations with the countries across the globe.
The US Presidential election in 2020 is the first major election in the USA, which is being held in a year that has been full of uncertainties, so the world should be ready to accept the unexpected.
Fatima Hasan is a Hyderabad based journalist