This conversation should begin by putting the dots on the i’s: it is rash to say that Donald Trump is defeated. Nobody can assure that Donald Trump will “bite the dust of defeat.” We could see this in the chaotic first presidential debate with a “energetically impertinent” Trump, who did not make his commitment to accept the election results, and a “emotionally relevant” Joe Biden who failed to capitalize politically on the US $ 750 that Trump paid income tax in 2016 and 2017, according to a report in The New York Times.
2020 did not always have Trump on the “tightrope.” They say that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and we saw it on February 5, when the Senate acquitted Trump in the notorious impeachment trial, in which he faced charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress .
Like the phoenix, Trump rose from the ashes to add to his list of personal accomplishments – not necessarily the country – that he boasts about daily. For Trump, it was a wonderful February of dreams and redemption / reaffirmation of the unorthodox positions that he has assumed since his rise. It was, more than the effect on others, his self-validation.
Until February 2020, the future of the United States (here I add Trump’s electoral future) looked promising. The president repeated it frequently as part of his self-assigned nickname of “job creator” and only history will dispel the myth of reality. Later, we would know that the US would officially enter a recession in February, but this did not worry the president for two fundamental reasons: first, he was still celebrating his triumph in the Senate and no other news would be the hangover from that celebration; second, it still enjoyed the 3.5% unemployment rate, which had been consistent since September 2019.
Rumors of the approaching virus were gathering steam at the end of February 2020 and this coincided with an unemployment rate of 4.4% in March. Already in the midst of the pandemic, the “Trump economy” succumbed to the global crisis of covid-19 with 14.7% unemployment in April. The rest is history.
The end of Trump’s prime came in February and since then he has had to campaign against an unofficial, nonhuman (and inhuman) and unknown candidate. One that takes lives and for which someone has to pay. He had to name it the “Chinese virus,” and incidentally give nationalist sentiment a sweetheart and a spark to the trade war with China, while trying to ignore the importance of his royal contender, whom he mockingly calls “Sleepy Joe,” in allusion to Joe Biden. In political communication the state of denial, as well as the degradation of the importance of the opponent, stimulates our own confidence and generates perception in the distracted audience. Trump is an expert in this art.
The enemy that was not a candidate is the pandemic that sank him … and the pandemic must save him.
The coronavirus affected the “success” of the Trump administration. In the electoral campaign, the incumbent has more outreach power with his message (the fine line between his personal and institutional accounts on social media) and also more achievements to display compared to the opposition candidate, whose strength is the change it offers.
The pandemic, not Biden, changed the landscape of the president. However, the pandemic could be Trump’s last electoral card. This was the desperate move for re-election, because during this health crisis not only covid-19 abounds, but also the virus of disinformation accompanied by uncertainty. Imagine giving people what they don’t have: security and confidence to go out on the streets, casually go out to vote, give them a vaccine. In a letter to the governors, the federal government spoke of the mass distribution of a vaccine starting on November 1, almost on ‘D-Day’. Saving lives is what matters, but how do we separate this ‘good faith’ from an ethical conflict in the face of elections? I interpreted it as a moment of desperation because we do not have an approved vaccine and its distribution would hinder the electoral logistics.
In my opinion, the president knows that, due to citizen insecurity, voting by mail will be decisive, which is why he wants to provide an electoral solution to the pandemic. This is in keeping with the agenda being developed to weaken the credibility of the postal vote. This narrative is consistent with his goal of claiming victory on November 3.
Joe Biden and the adrenaline rush that revived his campaign
Adrenaline is known as a substance capable of bringing dead people to life, although it does not always help heart patients. From my perspective, Biden’s team did not want to rule out the opportunity to inject vibrant energy into their campaign that, although it has not been “moribund”, an extra dose of nitro always helps to reach the goal faster. This letter from the Democratic Party “House of Cards” was Senator Kamala Harris.
This move to announce a woman was brilliant for these elections and a precedent for future politics. The strategy will result if Harris achieves the following: that women identify with a woman as their representative of struggles; retain the support of Barack Obama’s black base; win back the black population who voted for Trump when there was no black face in the last presidential campaign; and regain the confidence of those women who in 2016 seemed to turn their back on Hillary Clinton.
Without being dramatic by any means, as Vice President Kamala Harris would be the woman – and also the first of black and South Asian descent – to have her foot closest to the Oval Office for many reasons. Biden is 77 years old (it takes Trump three years) and by the end of his potential four-year term he would be 81. At best, health may not allow Biden to seek reelection at 81.
RBG, the surprise ingredient: Republicans have much to gain and Democrats, much to lose
The death of United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) raises the dilemmas of this electoral battle. With a usual 5-4 lead, the Conservatives already had power in the highest body. Now, the president appointed his third judge, which would bring the count to 6-3, a blow to progressives and the agenda of social groups that advocate on immigration reform, the rights of the LGBTI community, the right to abortion. and more recently, social justice or racial justice, as we commonly call it these days.
The Democrats, unless Biden wins, are not fighting to increase the progressive quota, they are fighting to keep the fourth magistrate they lost in RBG’s death. I think that from the first day of his presidency, Trump prepared to replace this position, as RBG’s health had been precarious for years.
The future of America depends on this court. The elections themselves may depend on this body when we consider that these could be the most disputed elections in history. Nor imagine the case in which the president refuses to acknowledge the results. The Supreme Court will be our “Justice League.”
The electoral history of the United States has a “fetish” with repetition, resurgence and the underrated.
With a country that loves “comebacks” (triumphant returns or resurgences), “underdogs” (underrated) and with an electoral history that repeats itself, we are clear that a Trump victory should not be a surprise. Here, whoever has the most people does not win, whoever has the most votes in the Electoral College wins. In the universe, who had more support than Hillary Clinton in 2016? Maybe Pope Francis or the Dalai Lama. According to Michael Wolff, in his work “Fire and Fury”, Trump was one of those surprised with his own triumph.
Biden must, then, win back the traditionally Democratic states that were taken from his party in 2016, including his native Pennsylvania. Only 270 members of the Electoral College are needed out of the 538 counted in all states, but each one is worth as none. If not, let’s ask Andrew Jackson (1824), Samuel Tilden (1876), Grover Cleveland (1888), Al Gore (2000) and the most recent victim of the Electoral College system, Hillary Clinton (2016). Of this group, only Tilden and Cleveland were not favored with the popular vote.
This conversation must end as it began, landing expectations: for Trump, as the glory of baseball Yogi Berra said, “the game does not end until it is over.”
–-Geovanny Vicente Romero is a Washington DC-based political analyst, international consultant and professor Political commentator for media such as the BBC. He is the founder of the RD Center for Public Policy, Development and Leadership (CPDL-RD). Follow Geovanny on Twitter @GeovannyVicentr