Four years after the historic election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, the next round elections are on the horizon and the American people are aiming to ‘correct’ a perceived fault in 2016.
Now, it’s still uncertain if the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, has the voter reach to not only sway votes his way, but to a larger degree, to sway voters to go out and vote at all. In any case, the key to winning the 2020 Presidential race, both Trump and Biden are going to have to pay particular attention to demographics and local issues in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both Trump and Biden have had their own issues in the run up to this election. Trump has failed to responsibly and adequately address the circumstances of COVID-19, and with such high stakes, he has not had too much success in rallying public support especially during this time of racial tension across the nation. Biden’s gaffes have come more in the form of a faulty memory and in some cases a volatile temper. The former Vice President’s campaign holds a great advantage in forming a public image, as he has the opportunity to pick and choose when he wants to surface in the media to criticize and give insights to policies he deems to be faltering. President Trump though isn’t in the position to choose when and how he frames his public image, as his incumbent role naturally divides his focus among other priorities in the present moment.
From a broader perspective, race relations and coronavirus response are quickly solidifying as the main voting issues for this election, and Trump’s approval in those categories has been tanking in recent weeks. His initial nonchalant attitude towards the pandemic forces Americans to doubt the President’s commitment to adequately addressing the public safety crisis and to question whether or not he has any concrete policy plans to implement with the intention of curbing the spread and prolonged consequences of the situation. Only wearing a mask on a few public occasions does not frame President Trump in good position to understand the needs of the millions of Americans who are suffering during these trying times.
The former Vice President is far more aptly positioned to take on the delicate situation regarding race relations sweeping the nation in the past few months. Although he does have a questionable record on racial issues in his earlier years in the Senate, his years in the White House under President Obama has definitely given his platform a boost.
Joe Biden also has substantial deficiencies in his own capacity to lead. It’s quite likely that most are well aware of the former Vice President’s abundant speech and memory gaffes that have plagued his campaign so far. Whether they be simple mishaps or rooted by a more encompassing condition likely resulting from Biden’s advanced age, being presented in the media as an inconsistent and mentally unfit candidate for the highest office in the land certainly doesn’t bode well for any political candidate.
Although presidential elections unfortunately aren’t often decided by policies and platforms, it’s still important to lay out the comparisons. Joe Biden has teamed up with former competitor Bernie Sanders for progressive policy development, likely to attract emerging target demographics in the southwest. A $15/hour federal minimum wage, 12 weeks paid family leave, and universal pre-kindergarten programs form the foundation of the 2020 democratic platform. Additionally, Biden’s camp has proposed a restoration of the public health care option, corporate and estate tax hikes, as well as returning to net neutrality – all to reverse several damaging Trump implementations. Although, there is always some overlap in platforms even despite party differences. One such case is that the bipartisan effort to shift to a ‘Made in America’ manufacturing strategy and away from dependency on foreign industrial giants like China. This overlap indicates that broadly, both the Democrats and Republicans are seeking a more centralized economy that relieves reliance on foreign actors or environments and underscores the importance of an economically active America.
In any case, the Democrats’ electoral strategy might be shifting toward demographic growth in the nation’s southwest as opposed to focusing on their historic strengths in the Midwest. Looking at favourable voter positioning, industrialists in the Midwest and rust belt region are ageing towards conservatism while the younger and more diverse populations of southwestern states edge closer to leaning Democrat. With Trump’s wave of economic populism amplifying the partisan cries of Americans, the political atmosphere around the world is changing. Regions are more politically rigid than ever before; California and New York vote Democrat just like Middle America votes Republican – and it’s unlikely for these trends to be redirected anytime in the near future. Gone are the days of substantial policy-making and voting based on candidate as opposed to party. The new era of political marketing that President Trump has ushered in is changing the way elections are rolled out in every corner of the globe.
Joe Biden’s best chance at President is rooted in using Trump’s foundational division against him by focusing on the emerging Democratic electorate in strategic states where Republicans feel safe, rather than simply replaying past tactics of putting all of the proverbial eggs into the one basket that is the Midwest. Times are changing, and although the former Vice President’s advanced age may work against him, he is the chosen leader to expand the Democratic electorate into some long-forgotten regions. Although some of the Midwest is still likely to sway back to Democratic support, Biden’s field is open to try and make a run for some significant support in traditionally Republican states in the southwest – and that may very well be what can seal the deal for his chance at the Presidency.