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Can Joe Biden Capitalize on a Politically Weakened Trump?

Updated on June 30, 2020
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MG is a keen political observer and commentator who has a ringside seat to the turbulent years of the present political scenario


Donald Trump and Joe Biden are the two likely nominees for the 2020 presidential election. A point to be noted is that both are respectively the oldest and second oldest major party presumptive nominees in US history. If Biden wins the election he will become the oldest serving president. Many do not consider this a plus point. It will also mean going back to the status quo of years back but to many, this is acceptable as they feel that Trump has failed as a president.

Trump had sailed through the last election, though the opinion polls gave Hillary Clinton the advantage. Trump did lose the popular vote but the peculiar structure of the electoral college ensured that he entered the White House.

The 2020 election will be a unique collection as it will be held at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has taken deep roots in America and has affected the American economy to a great extent. How President Trump has handled this virus will be one of the biggest factors in the coming election.

Generally, Trump has not been a popular president and he has evoked strong feelings for and against him. To his credit, the popular right-wing base is solidly behind him. Also, his supporters are more enthusiastic about his election than those supporting Biden.

Things appeared to go very well till January this year. Trump was basking in the glow of a resurgent economy and the lowest unemployment rate in US history. The coronavirus changed all this and in a short time, Donald Trump has become the underdog.

The latest opinion polls show that Joe Biden has been consistently increasing his lead nationally as well as in the swing states. Trump is hogging the headlines, no doubt, but this is for the wrong reasons and the gap between him and Joe Biden has been increasing every day.

Polling graph. blue- Biden
Polling graph. blue- Biden

Coming election

The attention of the world is riveted on the 2020 presidential election. Whoever wins, the problem of China and its expansionist designs as well as the spread of coronavirus are daunting problems that may be difficult to solve.

Opposition to Trump is by far the biggest factor propelling support for the presumptive Democratic nominee. As on date, nationwide surveys show that Biden leads Trump by 12 percentage points 53 to 41.

One factor going in favor of Trump is the significant enthusiasm among his supporters which is almost double of the enthusiasm among supporters of Biden. As things stand Biden is ahead mainly because there is no alternative other than him to defeat Trump.

To reach the White House he will have to generate more enthusiasm among democratic groups as well as young people. In this connection, his choice of a running mate will be crucial as well as his performance in the coming debates with the Republican presumptive candidate Donald Trump.

There are two factors going against Donald Trump which has hardened opposition to the President. Firstly his handling of Covid-19 is being faulted and secondly, his response to demonstrations demanding racial justice and changes in policing have put him in the dock.

A clue to the election is the Coronavirus pandemic.Dr. Fauci has said that though he was reluctant to make predictions, yet there are 40,000 cases per day now, and there are troubling signs coming out of states in the South and West. In case the virus spreads it could very well be the end of the campaign of Donald Trump despite his committed voter base.

Last word

A fact that has come out is that on handling the coronavirus, those surveyed overwhelmingly say Biden would do a better job than Trump 57% to 33%. Job Biden needs to capitalize on his present lead by selecting a running mate who can add impetus to his campaign.

Biden has said again that he will name his pick for a running mate in early August. The top three picks are Val Deming's, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris. Many are encouraging Biden to pick a minority running mate.

Some are predicting that the pandemic infection may reach 100,000 a day. This will have a big bearing on the election. But despite this Biden will have to marshall his resources and make himself more acceptable and in that respect, his running mate is very important. He has also to generate more enthusiasm among his supporters because Donald Trump has a committed voter base and he has been pandering to it with his presumed racist comments and requirement of strong-arm tactics to put down the demonstrations all over the country after a black was strangled to death in a knee hold by the police.

When Biden, if at all enters office he will go on record as the oldest serving president to enter the office. One hopes he will have the energy for the job which is the toughest in the world and is tougher now with China breathing fire all around.


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