Welcome to this weekly update leading up to the November 3 US presidential election. With this week: Trump is trying to divert attention from disastrous economic news and ‘Bernie Bros’ and ‘Bidenistas’ are arguing with each other.
My name is Matthijs le Loux. For NU.nl I write about foreign news and have been reporting on American politics since 2014. In this update I give you an overview of the big news of the week, but I mainly deal with less eye-catching developments and ‘side paths’ and I share facts, interesting sources and short analyzes to give you more context.
We start this week with the shameless promotion of one of my own pieces, about the state of the race, and then weigh up whether the US economy can make President Donald Trump a comeback in the polls. Then you read about the riot of the week (Trump’s proposal to postpone the elections), the upcoming big announcement from Biden and arguing within his campaign.
Unfortunately, the Swingstate Spotlight had to give way again due to lack of space, but in the run-up to the national conventions I come up with an extensive story about battleground states, electorial math and voter suppression, promised.
95 days, and counting…
“Trump also won in 2016, despite the polls,” is the reasoning widely used by people who see a second term for the president looming in their crystal ball.
With less than a hundred days to go, the campaign is about to explode. After the national conventions of both parties in August, only the final sprint remains.
For NUweekend this week I looked at the current situation. President Trump is back in the polls again – this time not on Hillary Clinton, but on Joe Biden. That’s not the only front on which the political situation in 2020 is fundamentally different from 2016. Trump is not now underdog outsider, but the incumbent, the incumbent president. Not to mention the influence of the coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter protests on the election race.
However, it must also be said: Biden cannot rest on his laurels. Because although past results offer no guarantees for the future, Trump has proven that he can pull the necessary surprises from his top hat.
Do you perhaps also have that economic recovery in a V-shape?
As I wrote in my NUweekend piece, a revival of the economy could still reverse Trump’s bad position in the polls. It is not for nothing that the President is strongly committed to reopening during the corona crisis. He makes little effort to appeal to voters outside of his own loyal constituencies and expects the economy to show what is known as a V-shaped recovery in the third quarter – a sharp climb from the deep trough of the corona crisis.
“We’re going to have a great year next year. We’re going to have a great third quarter,” Trump recently said Fox News. “And the nice thing about the third quarter is that the results will be announced before the elections.”
There are reasons to believe that Trump cannot count on such a recovery. Reporting for the third quarter is expected on October 29, just five days before the election. Quite apart from the voters who cast their votes much earlier, this leaves little time to placate floating voters with favorable numbers.
Whether these figures can be used as campaign material at all remains to be seen. The United States Department of Commerce announced on Thursday that the economy contracted 32.9 percent in the second quarter (year-on-year), the largest contraction since measurements began in 1945. Although some economic activity is taking place here and there, many states back earlier easings, because the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly. In addition, a financial cliff threatens many unemployed Americans and small business owners, as Congress cannot agree on additional benefits and loans.
Economists say that in the most favorable scenario, the third quarter will bring a limited economic recovery. Positive news about a corona vaccine, an important prerequisite for renewed confidence among consumers and employers, is unlikely to come until October or November at the earliest, when the first large-scale tests will be completed.
Postpone elections? Not at all. But we are talking about it now
Minutes after the Commerce Department outlined the grim state of the economy on Thursday, Trump suggested on Twitter to postpone the election. It was not the first time that the President has sparked controversy to divert attention from adverse news.
“By getting everyone to vote by letter (not proxies, because they are good), the 2020 elections will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT in history,” he wrote. “It will be very embarrassing for the US. Postpone elections until people can vote properly, securely and safely ???”
Trump echoed his previous claims that voting by mail is susceptible to fraud. Numerous studies, both nationally and in specific states, have never found evidence to support this claim. Consider an Arizona State University study of postal vote fraud from 2000 to 2012, which revealed 491 cases – out of hundreds of millions of votes cast.
As you read in an earlier edition of the Election Update, a president should not postpone elections. The date is set in a law that can only be changed by Congress. In addition, a delay of more than six weeks will require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides that the President of the United States House of Representatives will automatically become President if the resident does not leave promptly four years after his inauguration (although there are still some discussion about is among jurists).
Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell quickly shot down Trump’s test balloon. But the media attention that the president probably aimed for was received. He denied the same evening that he wanted to postpone the elections and again questioned the reliability of postal votes.
Furthermore, NU.nl reported this week …
- The United States will bring back 6,400 U.S. military personnel stationed in Germany and transfer 5,400 other soldiers to other European countries, it was announced Wednesday. Several billion dollars will be allocated for the move.
President Trump is challenging the release of his tax returns. His lawyers asked the New York court on Monday to declare a subpoena against prosecutors in that city to be invalid, allegedly involving “intimidation” and “bad faith.” The Supreme Court ruled in early July that Trump as the head of state was not exempted from criminal investigations, the argument the president had previously tried to parry the subpoena.
Would Biden’s possible vice president also become his successor?
Democratic Senator Kamala Harris from California. (Photo: Pro Shots)
In the Democratic camp, people wait anxiously until Biden announces his running mate. Biden said that the announcement can be expected next week.
Candidate Vice-Presidents are often chosen to increase support in a particular state or group of voters. Tim Kaine had to help Clinton in his home state of Virginia in 2016, Mike Pence gave Trump more credibility with Evangelical Christians, and Sarah Palin was John McCain’s guide to the populist Tea Party movement. Biden himself made up for Barack Obama’s lack of international experience.
In our podcast This will be the news I discussed this morning with presenter Carné van den Brink that the choice for a possible vice president has an extra load this time. When Biden becomes president, he is 82 years old at the end of his first term. That puts his vice president in a favorable position to succeed him.
We also talked about the candidates on Bidens shortlist, with the name Kamala Harris prominently at the top.
It is not exactly between ‘Bernie Bros’ and ‘Bidenistas’
Biden is still not much in the picture compared to President Trump, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening in his campaign. Behind the scenes, things are still rumbling between progressive and moderate Democrats, the report said Politico. A virtual meeting leading up to the National Convention on August 17-20 ended in an argument over corporate political donations. Painful: the committee that organized the meeting was set up to demonstrate unity within the Democratic Party.
Bernie Sanders supporters say Biden supporters called them “children,” among others. “It was not only shocking, but disrespectful,” said Nina Turner, former co-host of Sanders’ campaign. “Disgusting, shocking, unacceptable. And it’s not the way to restore confidence in people who already suspect the Democratic Party is unfair.” Turner compared voices on Biden a few days ago with the consumption of a bowl of shit.
A campaign spokesman for Biden said only a few people were interrupting the meeting and praised the committee’s work.
Thanks for your attention and until next week! Do you have questions about the US presidential race, a proposal for a topic or other comments? Send an email to [email protected]