Advantages and challenges posed for both sides in US presidential race

Thursday, 2020-09-03 10:09:57
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Both sides in the 2020 US presidential election are facing advantages and challenges.
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NDO – Candidates on both sides in the 2020 United States presidential election are approaching the "final stage" in the intense race to the White House, facing both advantages and challenges.

Incumbent President Donald Trump has secured the Republican nomination to run for the second term alongside incumbent Vice President Mike Pence. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden has also been confirmed by the Democratic Party as its nominee for the election, with Biden’s running partner to be Senator Kamala Harris.

The race for the "hot seat" at the White House accelerated after the national congresses of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, the two largest political factions and had alternate ruling representatives in the US since its founding. The national congress is not only to officially select the candidates to represent the respective party to run for the presidency and vice presidential position, it is also an opportunity for parties to introduce their policy directions in the new term. The 2020 US presidential election sees a rivalry between the two plans, the Democratic candidate's "Build Back Better" of former Vice President Biden and “Keep America Great!" of the Republican representative, the incumbent President Trump.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the traditional way of elections in the US, both in mobilising voters and organising candidate introduction events. Similar to the Democratic convention, the Republican national congress was also held in an online format, revolving around the theme of honouring the "great America", which aims to highlight the "vision" of President Trump of America's greatness as a land of promise, heroes, opportunity and greatness. Fighting against COVID-19, boosting economic recovery, and maintaining social stability are the main goals of the Republican side and also the outstanding content in President Trump’s re-election campaign “Keep America Great!”.

With Republicans choosing "the great story" as the core element of America's vision, Democrats celebrate their solidarity goal in former Vice President Biden's " Build Back Better" campaign, which calls on American people to engage in bringing the country out of the current turmoil and crisis, thereby building a better future. At its recent unifying-themed national congress, the Democratic Party affirmed its support for Biden’s plan, especially the goals of promoting investment, creating jobs, immigration policy improvement and responding to climate change.

Not only is there a difference with the "spearheads" in the views on policy among the presidential candidates, this year’s US election also has many unique points, regarding the socio-political situation in the country, the nomination of candidates and the campaigning form. The special features bring advantages, but also create challenges for the candidates.

For President Trump, the outstanding economic achievements in his first term are an important advantage, helping to gain him "plus points" in his re-election dossier. However, they are being overshadowed by the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic. The US economic growth dropped to the lowest level in the past decades, with the unemployment rate hit a new high and the incumbent president is facing a difficult dual task in trying to curb the epidemic and promote economic recovery amid his support rate has been lowered due to the public dissatisfaction with the government's methods of handling COVID-19. In the context of the raging pandemic, the presidential election group led by President Trump still maintains the campaign form of "door knocking" – visiting each house to mobilise voters’ support. Meanwhile, former Vice President Biden’s side takes advantage of online campaigning that has been supported by many Americans as they believe that it could open a "new era" for presidential campaigning.

For Biden, his most important advantage is the atmosphere of internal solidarity within the Democratic Party, which is much more prominent than in previous elections. The selection of young female Senator Harris brings a “new wind” to the former vice president’s election efforts, aiming to erase the "age weakness" of an elderly candidate. As the first black and South Asian American woman on the ticket, as well as coming from an area which is not in the "traditional territory" of the Democrats, Harris is seen as "a wonderful addition" for Biden. This means Trump faces much stronger rivals, both in terms of election platform and internal unity.

The domestic economy has been the dominant topic for many presidential elections in the US and the 2020 version is no exception. This is understandable, because the top concern of US voters today is employment and wiping out COVID-19. However, the unfinished "foreign relation records" in matters of Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as well as relations between the US with NATO allies and partners in Europe and the Middle East, will be back again in the debates between the candidates in the next sprint.