- Area of Expertise
It should be news to no one that the United States is having its most consequential election – maybe ever – this November. Everything is on the line: we have a crippled economy, a divided country in the middle of social unrest, strained relations with some of our closest allies, and a current president already sewing distrust in our elections. Despite what some voices may lead you to believe, this election is still extraordinarily close. It will come down to just a few thousand votes in a handful of swing states, and anyone that tells you they know what’s going to happen simply isn’t telling you the truth.
As president, Donald Trump continued to stoke the fires of nationalism and advance his protectionist agenda. He destroyed transatlantic relations and pulled out of the most important multilateral agreements and organisations. Take, for example, the recent survey that found Germans fear Donald Trump more than they fear the Coronavirus by a margin of almost 2 – 1. His response to the COVID-19 crisis has made it impossible for most Americans to travel abroad and for many international visitors to come here. And he’s done all of this while essentially running a four-year reelection campaign from the White House and his various rallies.
If he is reelected, this time it will be without fear of losing his reelection bid, and it will be without several of the more principled administration officials that have left or have been fired over the years. With “America First” hawks like Peter Navarro and Larry Kudlow as some of Trump’s closest advisors, you can expect to see a continued, potentially more aggressive dive into the same foreign policy themes that we’ve seen over the past three and a half years: shutting down our borders to minority groups he doesn’t like; withdrawal from landmark deals, councils, and organisations; and warm relations with dictators, just to name a few.
A Joe Biden presidency should be a return to transatlanticism, global cooperation, and American leadership abroad
On the other hand, when Joe Biden laid out his foreign policy principles in a speech a few months ago, he delivered a message of unity and globalism, of moral leadership and democracy, and of restoration and rebuilding of allies and partnerships. In his platform detailing early actions he would take as president, he proposes establishing a “Summit for Democracy” that would “bring together the world’s democracies to strengthen our democratic institutions, honestly confront the challenge of nations that are backsliding, and forge a common agenda to address threats to our common values.”
He further pledges to “restore and reimagine our historic partnerships” which “means keeping NATO’s military capabilities sharp, while also expanding our capacity to take on new, non-traditional threats like weaponised corruption, cyber theft, and new challenges in space and on the high seas; calling on all NATO nations to recommit to their responsibilities as members of a democratic alliance; and strengthening cooperation with democratic partners beyond North America and Europe by reaching out to our partners in Asia to fortify our collective capabilities and integrating our friends in Latin America and Africa.”
Of course, all of this is hypothetical unless and until Joe Biden wins in November, but, based on his platform alone, one could assume that a Joe Biden presidency should be a return to transatlanticism, global cooperation, and American leadership abroad.
Parallel to the presidential election, it is also important to consider the ramifications of the down-ballot races. The Democrats have a decent chance of taking back the Senate, which, if Joe Biden wins, would mean an all Democratic-led government. That makes it much easier for a Biden administration’s policy principles to get through Congress.
Women will again be a pivotal part of the electorate this November
In 2018, women played a decisive role in the US midterm elections – not only were they running for office (and winning) in record numbers, but their votes – many of them voting across party lines – helped propel a new generation of leaders in Washington.
Women will again be a pivotal part of the electorate this November. Just as Donald Trump tweets about how much the “suburban housewives” love him, those same “suburban housewives” are being polled as saying that they can’t vote for Trump again, with his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, his separation of families at the border, and his missteps on healthcare being their main concerns.
Republicans have long chastised gender and identity politics as being some sort of political sham used by Democrats to advance their agenda instead of getting the most qualified candidates elected to office. But this year, as the Trump campaign tries so hard to play gender and identity politics in an effort to win back suburban women voters, Latino voters, and other groups that helped him win in 2016, those groups may very well be the turning point in deciding this election. And, to be sure, if Donald Trump is re-elected in November, you can expect to see another uprising of women and minorities running for office and running campaigns, to help change the face of politics, have a seat at the table, and make sure that their voice is heard in an administration that has ignored them for far too long.
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