It was over a year and a half ago that Joe Biden, the former Vice-President and Senator, announced his candidacy for President. The long and gruelling race between the Democrat and Donald Trump has been unique in many ways, from their clashes over racism to allegations of potential election interference.
But, the Coronavirus pandemic has, by far, been the most unprecedented event in this election year. Based on average polling numbers, Joe Biden has widened his lead over Trump throughout the crisis.
Many pudits have also argued that the best thing the gaffe-prone Biden did during the height of the Covid crisis was to do nothing
In the depths of lockdown during spring and summer, we saw Biden tucked away in his basement giving television interviews, while Trump was front and centre in the White House often leading Coronavirus press briefings. These messages were often confusing, and contradictory with the Federal Government’s own advice. Trump’s response to the crisis has severely dampened his campaign, and led to sinking poll numbers in key swing states.
Many pudits have also argued that the best thing the gaffe-prone Biden did during the height of the COVID crisis was to do nothing, slowly letting Trump do more damage to his re-election chances.
As lockdowns were eased in late summer, the Democratic and Republican conventions were held virtually for the first time ever, with Biden nominating California Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate – a historic nomination as she was the first African-American woman nominated for Vice-President.
Many experts expected the polls to tighten as we got closer to the election day, but this simply did not happen, and Trump’s expected boost from the Republican Convention failed to materialise.
Trump was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19
The Biden-Harris ticket was riding a wave of anti-Trump energy as we surged into the Autumn, mainly due to the devastating COVID-19 death toll and economic stagnation, but also because of Trump’s supposed antipathy to the growing movement for police reform and racial justice.
On the 30th September, Trump and Biden clashed in the first Presidential Debate, which was widely regarded as the worst in U.S. history. The ninety-minute debate was marred by constant interruptions from Trump, and frequent clashes with the Fox News moderator, Chris Wallace.
Only days later, Trump was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, part of a growing spread of the virus in the White House, due to events being held without social distancing.
After a brief stay in hospital, Trump declared himself ‘immune’ from the virus, despite being visibly out of breath at public engagements and having not isolated for the CDC’s recommended time.
The Second Presidential Debate was cancelled after Trump refused to participate virtually, as the independent Commission on Presidential Debates saw the recently infected President as a health risk.
The Vice-Presidential debate was tame in comparison to the Presidential clash, and the most remarkable thing to happen for many was a fly that perched itself on Mike Pence’s head.
The Final Presidential debate took place on the 22nd October with new rules, like the ability to mute candidate microphones. This new rule clearly had an impact, as the debate seemed remarkably calm compared to the first one, with few interruptions and outbursts – as well as the moderator, Kristen Welker, being praised by Trump himself.
can they pull this election back from the brink
It is difficult to know whether these debates have an impact on candidates chances, and over forty-five million Americans had already voted before last night’s debate. But whatever the impact of the debates, this election is Trump’s to lose.
The Trump campaign must ask themselves this question: With over 220,000 Americans dead from COVID in less than a year, economic stagnation, increasing national debt, and violence in U.S. cities, can they pull this election back from the brink?
Featured image courtesy of Gilbert Mercier on Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.
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