Musings on the American Election:More Like a Agatha Christie Thriller
When the month of January dawned this year it was apparent that Trump had the upper hand. The economy was doing well and the unemployment was at its lowest. The presumptuous Republican nominee was pretty sure he would win the November election as the Democrats appeared to be in disarray. Then came the coronavirus and changed the equation completely. Suddenly Trump began to lose support among the masses and his ratings began to slip proportionate to the rise in the death toll in America. To date almost 70,000 have died and that's a pretty high figure, more than the number killed in nine years of the Vietnam war.
The likely Democrat candidate Joe Biden did not look all that hot especially when business dealings of his son came up and an old case of molestation in 1993 caught up with him. He has denied it but then it was expected of him. No man will accept such an allegation against him least of all a presidential candidate. One, however, needs to bear in mind the old red Indian adage, ' there is no smoke without fire'. I don't think I have to elucidate further on this.
The coronavirus earlier referred to by Trump as the "China Virus" has however completely changed all equations. I wonder why Trump stopped using that terminology immediately. China had objected to it vociferously, no doubt about it but then the 26 patents that Ivanka Trump got from China for her beauty goods earning her sizeable sum of money be a cause as well?
Trump was a bit slow to react to the virus. In the initial stages he did not take it seriously and he went around praising President Xi and China for the way it was handling the virus. Too many people it raised eyebrows but then the virus engulfed America and Trump was supposed to change tracks. Over the weeks it has become apparent that Trump did not take the China threat seriously and now the intelligence sources and many other leaders of the world are convinced that China played a dubious game in the spread of the virus. We do not know all the facts yet because China has rejected any investigation by an independent team of scientists and experts. This shows that China has something to hide.
In talks with my friends in America a strange fact was put forward to me. It appears there is a thinking in the Democratic party that Joe Biden can be persuaded to sit back and the nomination handed over to Hillary Clinton with Barack Obama as running mate. The very thought of this will give cold feet to Donald Trump and put paid to his hopes of re-election in November. Agatha Christie is a famous mystery writer and the coming election with all its ingredients is nothing short of a mystery that will be difficult to solve.
What if Obama teams with Hillary
These are early days and the way China's perfidy and the coronavirus are spreading its tentacles anything can happen. Trump wants the economy to open up because America has no choice if it wants to remain as the number one economic power. As it is there are almost 30 million unemployed and the economy has suffered a $1 trillion loss. The flipside is the virus and one doesn't know what will happen if the economy is completely opened and life brought back to what it was before. Experts have cautioned that it could lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths and that will be a very big price to pay to try to remain the number one economic power.
In such a scenario in case the nomination is handed to Hillary Clinton with Barack Obama as her running mate for Vice President the fat will be in the fire for President Trump. It will be a Herculean task for him to win again.
Barack Obama has his niche in the American psyche and most Americans feel he did a good job. In case he becomes the running mate to Hillary Clinton, in my view, it would be all over for Donald Trump bar the shouting.
What does the Constitution say? Obama can certainly stand for vice president but the tricky question is what happens in the case of Hillary as president, is incapacitated at any stage. Can Obama as Vice President step into her shoes? I am not a constitutional expert but some people have opined that this would be perfectly legal. In that case, history would have been created.
All this is in the realm of conjecture at the moment but with the way, the events are unfolding and the threat from China is emerging anything can happen. President Trump is on a sticky wicket and his tenure has seen a slide in American prestige all over the world. His deference to China is difficult to understand. One can recollect that he visited China and also invited the Chinese President before he met the other world leaders.
America is in a state of flux. It is on a dangerous cusp on the curve and the need of the hour is a strong nationalist leader. America certainly does not lead a leader who has contacts with China and who believes that a relationship with China will be helpful to America. Both Biden and Trump fail at the bar of China.
These are early days and the election is still five months away. The China virus will be a big factor in the coming election. What happens if the economy is opened and deaths start to multiply? even today there are almost 2000 deaths per day due to the virus when there is a lockdown on. Experts have cautioned against a complete opening up.
Throughout history, America has always faced adversity and got away with it. This time the stakes are high and one does not know which way the dice with spin. What I have written is the opinion of former White House and Pentagon official Douglas MacKinnon, a longtime Republican, getting creative in an op-ed in The Hill about a potential replacement ticket for the 2020 election. One can take it with a pinch of salt.