The 2020 American presidential election is by far the most unique in the nation’s history as it is to occur amid the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. National issues, such as police brutality and the re-emergence of white supremacist groups, have left most Americans yearning for deep-rooted reforms in the nation. The contentious political contest between the candidates, incumbent Donald Trump and Joe Biden, however, has done little to inspire hope among Americans. Americans can help shape the future of their nation by voting during the forthcoming presidential elections.
Candidates’ Political Background
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has an illustrious political background that has prepared him for the presidency. A lifetime member of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden’s political career started upon his election to the New Castle County Council in 1970 (Cassidy and Chotiner). Two years later, he got elected to the U.S. Senate as the representative of Delaware, where he became a longtime member and eventually the chairman of the prestigious Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he opposed the 1991 Gulf War and the surge of American troops in Iraq. From 1987 to 1995, Joe Biden served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and played a significant role in the enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence against Women Act (Cassidy and Chotiner). Joe Biden resigned as a senator in 2008 after winning the vice presidency along with president Barrack Obama. Joe Biden has also vied for the presidency twice before in 1998 and 2008, making him quite experienced politically.
Incumbent American President Donald Trump has a reputable political background decorated by his 2016 successful presidential campaign. Donald Trump has changed his political party affiliations several times. He first registered as a Republican in 1987, then switched to the Reform Party in 1999, and the Democratic Party in 2001 (McAdams). In 2009, Donald Trump reverted to the Republican Party, where he has been an active member ever since (McAdams). Donald Trump unsuccessfully vied for the American presidency in 2000 as a presidential nominee of the Reform Party. After more than a decade of minimal political involvement, Donald Trump successfully contested for the presidency in 2016 as the Republican nominee. Donald Trump’s four-year stint as the president of America has given him immense political know-how and prepared him for the 2020 presidential election.
Challenges Facing Candidates
The advanced age of Joe Biden is a challenge to his presidential campaign and may hinder his election to the White House. Born in November 1942, Joe Biden is currently 77 years old, making him three years older than his opponent Donald Trump (Cassidy and Chotiner). Joe Biden’s advanced age has affected his performances on the campaign trail and allowed Donald Trump and his campaign team to troll him. Joe Biden stumbled severally through his impromptu speeches, making numerous gaffes that can ultimately hinder his chances of winning the election (Cassidy and Chotiner). Therefore, the constant gaffes made by Joe Biden, probably due to his advanced age, may hinder his chances of winning the 2020 presidential election. Due to his advanced age, Joe Biden has a limited ability to reach out to and attract younger and more progressive Americans. However, the challenge of attracting youthful voters affects all candidates, as Donald Trump is also in his seventies.
Joe Biden’s checkered record during his fifty-year spell as a public servant may also negatively impact his chances of winning the 2020 presidential elections. In a political career spanning almost five decades, Joe Biden had several achievements but also made numerous mistakes. In 2002, as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden supported and voted for the Iraq War (Stolberg and Hulse). The Iraq War, heavily opposed by the majority of Americans, resulted in the death of thousands of American soldiers. As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, Joe Biden bungled the confirmation hearings of current Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas, who had then been accused of sexually harassing law professor Anita Hill (Stolberg and Hulse). Joe Biden suppressed Prof. Hill’s testimony and prevented her from being recalled, earning the wrath of numerous feminists and women of color in America. Joe Biden’s past political mistakes may be leveraged by President Donald Trump and his election team to hinder his bid for the presidency.
The Electoral College and its integral role in America’s presidential elections is a significant challenge to Joe Biden’s chances of winning the 2020 elections. In 2016, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but failed to clinch the presidency as she garnered fewer votes than Donald Trump in the Electoral College. The Electoral College favors voters in small and rural states over those in large and urban areas, and this poses a big problem for Joe Biden (Cassidy and Chotiner). Joe Biden and the progressive Democratic Party have a massive following and support base in the urban areas and cities of America. Donald Trump and the conservative Republican Party, on the other hand, enjoy near-fanatical support in the rural areas of America (Cassidy and Chotiner). Therefore, the Electoral College and its integral role in determining the winner of America’s presidential elections is a huge challenge that Joe Biden and his campaign team have to surmount.
Donald Trump’s bungling up of the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact his chances of winning the 2020 presidential elections. Currently, more than 7 million Americans have been infected by COVID-19, with an estimated 230,000 individuals dying from the disease (Harris and Tarchak). The COVID-19 pandemic has also wrecked America’s economy, resulting in millions of individuals losing their jobs and source of livelihoods. Numerous Americans, particularly the Democrats, have lambasted President Donald Trump’s lackadaisical attempts at dealing with the virus during the initial stages of the pandemic. During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump allayed the fears of the diseasing by terming it an ordinary flue from China (Galston). Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during the recently held presidential debate called Donald Trump the worst ever president in America’s history for bungling up the COVID-19 pandemic and causing the death of thousands of individuals (Harris and Tarchak). The COVID-19 pandemic has also eroded President Donald Trump’s erstwhile greatest political asset, America’s economy, and this has weakened his popularity ratings.
Incumbent President Donald Trump has failed to contain the raging ethnic and racial tension in America, and this may hinder his reelection plans. Donald Trump has severally stoked racial and ethnic tension in the nation, particularly by his unabashed support of white supremacists. In the 2020 presidential debate, President Donald Trump failed to condemn the actions of white supremacists and specifically asked the Proud Boys, a far-right nationalist group, to stand back and stand by (Harris and Tarchak). Moreover, Donald Trump has failed to condemn police brutality in America and has always sided with law enforcement officers instead of taking adequate steps to reform the American Department of Criminal Justice. In the wake of nationwide protests in America, after the brutal murder of George Floyd by law enforcement officer Derek Chauvin, Donald Trump openly advocated for the use of force by law enforcement authorities. Trump’s failures in dealing with the ethnic and racial tensions in America may negatively impact his reelection bid.
Donald Trump’s brash personality may negatively affect his reelection bid in the forthcoming 2020 presidential elections. Incumbent Donald Trump, who likes to communicate to his support base directly via Twitter, is well-known for his brash and impertinent personality. Though his character played a significant part in distinguishing him from Hillary Clinton’s formal persona in the 2016 presidential election, it may hinder his chances of success in this year’s contest (Goldberg). National polls show that numerous Americans have grown weary of Donald Trump’s impudent character and brash personality (Goldberg). Moreover, with millions of Americans reeling from the devastating impact of COVID-19, Donald Trump’s brusque personality may serve to delineate him from his support base. Donald Trump’s brash personality was on full display during the presidential debate, where he attacked Joe Biden’s family, particularly his son Hunter Biden, who struggled with drug addiction in the past (Harris and Tarchak). The attack on Joe Biden’s family, coupled with his constant interruption of Joe Biden during the debate, resulted in the nationwide condemnation of Donald Trump.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is outgoing and may leverage on his gregarious character to not only win the presidency but also make a good president. A psychological and psychosocial analysis of Joe Biden conducted by the unit for the Study of Personality in Politics revealed that Vice President Biden’s primary personality is gregarious (Goldberg). Joe Biden is an outgoing and good-natured individual who is at his best when in large social groups (Goldberg). Joe Biden’s outgoing character has earned him the socialist tag that he could leverage to win the 2020 presidential elections. Due to his gregarious nature, Biden can make a good president as he can easily cooperate with others to enact deep-rooted reforms in the nation.
Joe Biden is also flexible, and therefore, can make a good president if elected in the 2020 presidential elections. According to a study conducted by the unit for the Study of Personality in Politics Study, Joe Biden has a flexible character shaped by years of working with divergent personalities and groups in the U.S. Senate (Goldberg). Top leadership positions require flexibility as good leaders should be able to listen to divergent perspectives and make compromises whenever possible. If elected, Joe Biden’s flexible character will also enable him to deal with other elected Republican officials easily, and therefore, achieve his vision for America.
Incumbent President Donald Trump is firm and determined, making him a good president. Donald Trump’s first term reign as president of the U.S. has shown his firmness and determination, particularly when dealing with issues such as migration and foreign affairs and international commerce. For example, President Donald Trump’s firmness enabled North Korea’s president Kim Jong-un to agree to bilateral talks between the two nations in 2019 (Goldberg). Donald Trump’s character traits of firmness and determination are, therefore, essential traits that distinguish him as a good leader fit for the presidency.
Donald Trump also has an exuberant and socially dominant character that may make him a good president if re-elected in the forthcoming 2020 elections. According to psychologists Steven J. Rubenzar and Thomas R. Faschingbauer, incumbent President Donald Trump has sky-high extroversion that makes him quite exuberant and socially dominant (Goldberg). Successful leaders need to manifest exuberance and social dominance to lead their organizations or nations towards the visions they have planned for them. Coming at a time when America is sharply divided along ethnic and racial lines, Donald Trump can leverage his exuberance and social dominance to steer the nation to greatness.
COVID-19 Pandemic and 2020 Elections
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the 2020 presidential elections unique as it has relegated political campaigns to the digital realm. Due to the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus, political candidates have been forced to conduct their campaigns mainly through digital platforms. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have massively relied on their social media platforms and digital campaign applications to connect with their support base and proselytize for votes. Currently, with Donald Trump positively diagnosed with COVID-19 and in self-isolation, his campaign has gone fully digital with his pre-planned public rallies postponed. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have also switched to virtual fundraising in order to fund their electoral campaigns. Due to the limiting restrictions imposed to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the traditional fundraising galas and events are impossible to hold; thus, candidates have reverted to virtual fundraising.
The 2020 presidential election is also unique as various states have embraced the controversial mail-in ballot systems of voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mail-in ballot system of voting enables registered voters to cast their votes for their preferred candidates while in the comforts of their homes. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned the main-in ballots system as highly susceptible to electoral fraud (Harris and Tarchak). Medical experts and numerous Americans, particularly Democrats, however, hold that due to the vicious COVID-19 pandemic, the mail-in ballot system of voting is the only way of guaranteeing Americans’ safety during the election.
Issues to be Addressed
The presidential candidate who wins the 2020 elections will have to deal with the following issues within his first 100 days in office:
- The COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of a second wave of infections.
- The Economic aftermath of COVID-19
- The ethnic and racial divide in the nation
- The re-emergence of violent far-right and far-left groups, such as Antifa
- Police Brutality and Institutionalized racism in America’s law enforcement department
- The Sino-American relations
- Climate Change, particularly global warming
- Healthcare, particularly child care
- Gun control
I am of the opinion that incumbent Donald Trump will win the forthcoming presidential election by defeating Joe Biden in the Electoral College. Donald Trump has a massive following in the rural areas and small towns of America compared to Joe Biden. Due to the centrality of the Electoral College in America’s election and the fact that it favors the small and rural American towns, Donald Trump will win the 2020 elections.
Cassidy, John, and Isaac Chotiner. “The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Joe Biden.” The New Yorker, www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-challenges-and-opportunities-facing-joe-biden
Galston, William A. “Trump’s Reelection Campaign Is in Crisis.” Brookings, Brookings, 29 June 2020, www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/06/29/trumps-reelection-campaign-is-in-crisis/
Goldberg, Jonah. “Column: Trump’s Biggest Impediment to Winning in 2020? His Personality.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2019, www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-goldberg-trump-personality-campaign-polling-20190618-story.html
Harris, Rachel L., and Lisa Tarchak. “The More I Watched, the More Unsettled I Felt.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Sept. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/opinion/presidential-debate-highlights.html
Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Carl Hulse. “Joe Biden Expresses Regret to Anita Hill, but She Says ‘I’m Sorry’ Is Not Enough.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Apr. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/us/politics/joe-biden-anita-hill.html