Joe Biden verses Trump: Landslide or nail biter?

Thursday September 03 2020

In the United States, both the Democrats and Republicans have wrapped up their conventions nominating former vice president Joe Biden and Donald Trump as their candidates for president.

Kamala Harris, a Senator from California, is the Democrats choice for vice president and Mike Pence former Governor from Indiana is the incumbent vice president.
Close election watchers start tracking the polls after Labour Day in the United States which falls on September 8.

The person ahead on that day may go on to win. That was not the case with Hilary Clinton in 2016 even though she came ahead of Trump in the popular vote by more than three million votes out of about 120 million votes cast, the most cast ever for any candidate for US president.

Consensus is while the Democrats had a decent convention, Republicans had a more aggressive convention and lost no chance to display the trappings of power. President Trump gave his big speech at the White House.

These were the Covid conventions with a thin ground presence at the convention sites due to risk of spreading the pandemic, which has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the country. Biden, the challenger, stands a good chance of picking up votes Hilary Clinton lost in Pennsylvania where both were born, Michigan both a union and conservative state.

Trump is working hard to bring Minnesota and New Hampshire to his side. In 2016, he barely lost these two unpredictable states. For now, no one is mentioning the big states which seemed close but have lost everyone’s attention, Florida and Texas. Joe is ahead in Florida and Trump likely to win in Texas.

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Since travel is limited by the pandemic, this factor is likely to favour President Trump who has shown no signs of slowing down and has presidential cover to campaign. Joe’s major claim to the throne is that it was his turn to run after giving up in 2016 to support Hilary Clinton after the death of his son.

President Barack Obama has been behind his former No. 2 to get him over the top. Some Americans believe Trump has been a better record prior to the pandemic on the economy even though now post pandemic unemployment has hit 15 per cent.

Trump’s big wins have been ironically on the international front, forcing Canada, the EU and probably later China to renegotiate trade deals with the United States.

He has tripped like most of his predecessors in the United States in Israel. Changes are coming in Europe where he has proposed to cut US troops in half clashing with European leaders who have refused to increase spending on defence.

The old cold war between the United States and Russia is heard from less. Putin hasn’t been able to really take a hardline pitting his 150 million people against America’s 350 million people. The Russian population continues to drop undermining its claim to superpower status even though Russia has the biggest weapon and unmounted military hardware in the world.

The most divisive issue in America pitting two different bases, from the two parties is immigration. President Trump married to a former Slovenian Melania Trump has promised to slow down immigration to a crawl. The future of temporary worker programs like the H1B for foreign specialty workers is now very much in doubt. Family reunifications automatic for years under the Immigration and Nationality Act are also under threat.

The immigrants have put previously red states in a shade, Georgia, Florida, and Texas all in the south. Big cities vote Democrat and rural areas vote Republican each outcome favoring one of the parties. President Trump acerbic language has left fellow Republicans worried and some ex-officials abandoning him completely but because he has the potential to “primary” current office holders they can’t do much but privately complain. Next big day is the first presidential debate.

Mr Ssemogerere is an Attorney-At-Law and an Advocate. kssemoge@gmail.com

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