The Rundown on upcoming US presidential elections

How does the US choose its presidents ? 

The US political system counts two opposing parties; on one hand the ‘liberal’ Democrats, and on the other the ‘conservative’ Republicans. While there are other parties, such as the Green party, and candidates that do not belong to any party at all, voters have only ever tended to consider Republican or Democrat candidates (BBC, 2020).

Candidates for US presidency run against each other in order to win their party’s nomination, and nominees then go on to face each other in the general election.

It is important to note that the winner of the US presidential race is the candidate that takes the most electoral votes rather than the popular vote. In total, there are 538 electoral votes, and it takes 270 to win. 

What’s happened in the last few months ?

Candidates for the Democratic party included 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders as well as Senator Elizabeth Warren, but Joe Biden was effectively left the last candidate standing when Sanders announced his exit from the race. Biden formally accepted his nomination for the Democratic party in a speech on the 20th of August, offering an upbeat vision promising light, love and hope (Daily Mail, 2020).

Donald Trump has yet to be formally nominated as candidate for the Republican party, but he has experienced virtually no competition for the role. As such, he is the most significant Republican in the 2020 presidential race. 

In preparation for the 2020 US general election, the outcome of which we will find out in November, President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden have slowly but surely built up their respective campaigns.

What are Trump’s chances of winning? 

The fact that Trump’s presidency until now has been divisive and has suffered from a lack of support from independent voters, does not mean that his reelection is off the table. 

Certain US states are predominately blue or predominately red, meaning that the candidate that they elect will correspond to their political inclinations. The state of New York for instance has historically been liberally inclined and can be expected to favour Biden. However, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin are all states that have an unpredictable outcome, worth a combined total of 86 votes out of the total 538.

We established that American presidential elections do not take into consideration the popular vote, which is how Trump won 2016 elections despite losing the popular vote by 3 million ballots.

CNN correspondant Zachary Wolf wrote in 2019 that as long as the country is split into red states and blue states with only a few swing states in between, even an unpopular President, like Trump, can win reelection (CNN, 2019).

What consequences would Trump’s reelection have?

The reelection of Trump would only worsen the state of emergency for US democracy and rule of law. The outbreak of COVID-19 has already granted the President 123 emergency powers (IBA Global Insight, 2020), and opened up the range of means with which he can consolidate his demagogic grip. 

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