October 30, 2020

U.S. Election 2020: When all accounts are uncertain

It is dangerous to make any predictions three days before any election, especially if it is the 2020 US presidential election. After the convincing verdict of the analysts in the election four years ago was proved wrong, no one is free from any doubt about the possible outcome of this election.

While opinion polls in national and war-torn states continue to give similar results, analysts say no one is confident that Democratic nominee Joe Biden will win. Or, conversely, those who want to see the Republican candidate, President Donald Trump, win, cannot say for sure that 2016 will repeat itself. Analysts have multiple reasons for this skepticism.

First of all, everyone is talking about the mistakes of the 2016 survey. But that is not the only reason. Another cause is coronavirus. A second outbreak of coronavirus is underway in the United States, with the number of infections and deaths rampant. In at least 41 states, the number of infected people in the last two weeks, the number of hospitalized patients, the number of deaths has exceeded the first shock of July. Meanwhile, Republican candidate Donald Trump continues to claim that the epidemic is over, the situation is getting better and even though drug manufacturers say that tick testing is not over yet; But President Trump says the virus vaccine will be available to everyone very soon.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden, on the other hand, has repeatedly said that the death toll in the United States is higher because of the president’s irresponsible behavior and disregard for science and experts. So far 2 lakh 26 thousand people have died in the country; When the November 3 voting deadline expires, thousands more will join. This coronavirus has caused the economy to collapse, unemployment to rise, and trade to suffer. There is no way to know how much and how it will affect the decision of the voters. Because, this kind of situation has not happened before. All that can be said is that in the past, during the national catastrophe, the candidate who did not show a specific way to deal with this problem, did not dominate his election campaign, was defeated. But coronavirus is different from any other disaster.

মার্কিন প্রেসিডেন্ট ডোনাল্ড ট্রাম্প
US President Donald Trump Photo: Reuters

It was enough to dispel any possibility of re-election of a ruling president under any normal circumstances that he has repeatedly spread confusion about the coronavirus, which has contributed to the deaths of nearly two and a half million citizens. But President Trump is not a traditional candidate, the size of the group he has formed over the past five years is not small. The average number of people who are satisfied with the work of the president over the last four years is about 40 percent, up from 44 percent on Thursday; It would not be wrong to call at least 35 percent of them baseless or staunch supporters of the president. Not only that, but in the last four years, President Trump has brought the Republican Party into his own hands এখন there is no leader in the party who would be willing to make negative comments about his work. He did not do it with ideals or actions, but with degrading threats and intimidation. He has been able to make the ideological position of the party more right-wing on various issues. Trump has realized what the country’s conservatives have dreamed of for three decades, installing hardline conservative judges almost everywhere in the judiciary, and the dominance of conservatives in the Supreme Court has been built in such a way that it will continue for decades to come. President Trump has provoked the country’s far-right. Trump’s greatest contribution is his speech, his demeanor. He has been able to polarize the whole country, turn against immigrants, divide the country in various ways and give white supremacists a kind of acceptance in the country’s socio-politics, speaking on their behalf, which is unexpected even for them.

It is difficult to choose against such a populist candidate. It was a big weapon for President Trump until the coronavirus disaster, the positive state of the country’s economy. When the economy is good in the United States, it is rare to defeat a ruling president. Trump is pursuing the same economy that he inherited from his predecessor. But Trump was able to show that the economy has improved in his time. Now the economic crisis is deep but his supporters still think that he is the one who can get the country out of this crisis.

Despite all this, analysts are not saying that the president is on track to be re-elected; Almost everyone is talking, the president will show a surprise in the end. Because, so far, opinion polls do not indicate that Trump is ahead. In the states where he easily won in 2016, he has to fight and campaign. Arizona, Georgia, and even Texas, known as Republican strongholds, are now battlegrounds. It’s almost certain that Wisconsin, Michigan, the two main states on the Democrat’s blue wall, has melted away. The situation in Pennsylvania is not in his favor, even if it is out of reach.

Us Election 2020: Biden is worried about the ‘blue wall’

One of the reasons Trump’s condition is that no one disagrees with his position on the coronavirus. Despite the fact that he himself was attacked, he did not show sympathy for the victims and did not take any effective action. The way he has been rallying in various states over the past two weeks with a sense of recklessness is inspiring his supporters, but it is not sending a positive message to other voters. A recent poll found that 56 percent of Arizona respondents said they did not think positively of Trump, 56 percent in Florida, 56 percent in Michigan, and 54 percent in North Carolina. Those who viewed it positively saw 19 percent in Arizona, 16 percent in Florida, 18 percent in Michigan and 19 percent in North Carolina. He hoped the appointment of a conservative judge to the Supreme Court would boost his popularity; The surveys did not show any change as a result.

But Trump’s biggest threat has come from his opponent, Joe Biden, who has been able to turn the election into a referendum on Trump. Because of the coronavirus, the president’s behavior made it easy to do so. Another aspect of Trump’s electoral strategy is that he never made Joe Biden a topic of discussion. Last summer, police repression in different cities of the country and citizens with equal rights in a movement organized tumult Biden and Democrats tried to add.

Want to show yourself as a candidate for law enforcement. But he was not able to. He has to change this strategy in a few days. He wants to show that Biden is a “secret socialist” হয়তোthat he may have had some success with some of the Hispanics. Whether that is enough will be seen as a result of the election. But a large number of voters did not get water. His reckless behavior in the first debate did not bring good results for him.

জর্জিয়ার আটলান্টা নগরীতে ২৭ অক্টোবর নির্বাচনী সমাবেশে জো বাইডেন
Joe Biden at the October 26 election rally in Atlanta, Georgia: Reuters

In contrast, Joe Biden has established that this election is an election to lose to Trump. He has turned the election into a referendum. From the beginning, he has tried to present himself as the exact opposite of Trump, and he has succeeded. His position in running the country, as opposed to that of Trump, could easily have been explained, but at different times he has highlighted their differences as individuals, which has been able to appeal to non-partisan voters; He needs to be drawn into their team to win. Hillary Clinton lost in three states because she lost the support of a large part of them at the last minute.

Another thing for Biden was to encourage those who did not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 to vote. The preliminary vote count so far has already exceeded 70 million. This proves that some of them have started coming to the polls. The fact that Biden chose a moderate in his vice-presidential election also shows that he did not want to make such a decision that talks with his vice-president would continue. She has generated a lot of positive feedback inside and outside the party through the nomination of black women candidates as Vice President. As a result of the advantages that these strategies have given him, he is ahead of most of the states known as the Battleground. But there are still three days left; Even a day before the election is a long time.

Ali Riaz: Distinguished Professor in the Department of Government and Politics, Illinois State University, USA.

Translated from Prothom Alo

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