Tomorrow, the millions of Americans who have not already done so will take to the polls to vote for who they want to be their President for the next four years. Will it be former Vice-President Joe Biden? Or will they want the current incumbent, Donald Trump, to carry on the work he’s already started? Will there even be a clear winner?
Below, the Backbench editorial team weigh in on these issues, and multiple more. The only thing clear is that, from November 3rd, the course of America in the 2020s will be set.
Maheen Behrana, editor-in-chief
Where to start really when talking about the upcoming American election? For many people here in the UK, watching the political situation across the Atlantic is fascinating and baffling in equal measure.
Seven in ten Brits would prefer to see Biden win this next election, so I imagine a large number of of us are looking on with some satisfaction as he continues to beat Trump in the polls. Of course, this is no guarantee of a win (as we saw with Hillary Clinton in 2016), and like in 2016, the outcome of this election will probably be swayed by electoral college votes in swing states.
But I don’t actually think that it is this election we should be worried about. The situation is clear – we either see another four years of Trump (something that many people find unconscionable) or we have four years ahead with a non-radical Democrat in the White House – who, I feel, is unlikely to oversee any particularly groundbreaking policy changes. Biden is having to play it safe, of course, but what will he actually bring to America?
The important election, in my view, is the one coming up in 2024. If Biden becomes president and spends an uninspiring four years in the White House (and do bear in mind he will face significant difficulties over this upcoming presidential term, dealing with the effects of the coronavirus crisis and economic crash), will he simply be paving the way for an extreme right-wing figure to capture the public interest in four years time?
And if Trump remains president, will we perhaps see Americans finally lose patience with the system as it is and turn to radical leftism? I highly doubt it. In fact I think another four years of Trump will simply secure the foundations for far-right ideology to flourish in the US. The likes of Tom Cotton could then be on the world stage – and I think that could be a very dangerous prospect for us all. Overall, I think whichever way this election goes, 2024 is looking pretty bleak.
Daniel Clark, deputy director
I think it’s fairly certain that Joe Biden is set to be the next President of the United States. I’m faintly aware that there is still a chance, no matter how small, that Trump could surprise us – after all, he’s done it before. And there’s no reasonable argument to justify the assumption that his supporters are adequately represented in the polls.
And if I’m right, I’d say it’s also fairly reasonable to assume that the most vocal (and, indeed, more extreme) clique of Trump supporters will fade into the background, their vocal cords shredded by the embarrassment of their disjointed leader.
However, it would be a mistake to think that those views are going to disappear, a threat to liberal-democratic values simply melting away. Those opinions that so emboldened Donald Trump will still exist, and the mundane vision that Biden presents will do nothing to clip their wings. Instead, they’ll wait until a new figure makes them heard once again.
The real question of this election is, upon whom will their new home be built?
Violet Daniels, general editor
Donald Trump lost the election when he tweeted, ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.’
Despite 225,000 Americans losing their lives, the President demonstrated a complete lack of sensitivity, and a type of sensitivity, given the scale of the crisis, which should transcend politics. The amount of heartlessness shown by Trump throughout is enough to put any loyal Republican off. And it’s appearing to show in the polls.
The polls are not bulletproof, everyone knows that, but they currently show Joe Biden taking key states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin – states that all turned Republican in 2016. The tide has already begun to turn. Joe Biden will win the election by a small majority, but this will be heavily contested, it will go to Congress for a recount, and the US will be plunged deep into a constitutional crisis. Whatever the outcome, it is going to be one car crash of an election with a lingering aftermath.
Eleanor Longman Rood, general editor
One scene from The West Wing always enters my mind when talking about the outcome of an upcoming election. ‘Go out outside, turn around three times and spit!’ yells one senior aide to another when, one election day, he discusses the wording of the victory speech. Politics has a wicked sense of humour at times, and predicting the future may tempt fate.
Florida and Pennsylvania, with the former holding 29 and the latter 20 electoral votes, are set to define this election. Trump cannot win without Florida, and with his handling of the Coronavirus pushing seniors to the left it seems he may be oblivious to this. Looking up North, Trump won Pennsylvania by less than 1% of the vote in 2016, and with Biden now estimated to have a double digit lead in the state, the Democrats may claim victory here. Despite this, my gut tells me with these numbers’ margin of error being 4.4% in Florida, and stats not including factors such as voter suppression, Trump may still emerge victorious.
My biggest prediction, however, is that, regardless of outcome, this election will solve very little. Another 4 years of the Trump administration will further isolate the left while a Biden victory will infuriate the right. The US is deeply divided, and it will take more than a single exercise of democracy to unite it.
The analysis here has been ordered alphabetically.
Backbench is a non-partisan site and, as such, the above is reflective of the individual opinions of our editors. In no way do these pieces reflect a general partisan commitment, and we continue to welcome writers from across the political spectrum.