The conditions are very different from 2016, the prognosticators and pundits insist. Trump has been eroding support from suburban voters, seniors and independents. Additionally, there are not as many undecided at this stage of the race as in 2016. The tribal nature of the current environment has folks locked into their red and blue teams.
The world is holding its breath. The United States holds its presidential elections on November 3rd, and to most, it’s the most consequential in recent years. The word ‘existential’ is bandied about on all sides of the political spectrum. To say the last four years have been tumultuous for the U.S. is an understatement. The world has been watching the past four years with something that looks like pity and embarrassment, and now follows the election to see if the U.S redeems itself.
The elections will bookend a long and distressing year of endless bad news. Indeed it has been four years of a disastrous presidency with the mishandling of the pandemic being the final straw. Polls show Joe Biden maintaining a steady lead over Trump in recent months. Democrats remain skittish, however, scarred by memories of 2016 when the unimaginable happened and Donald Trump became president. Despite losing the popular vote by over 3 million votes. Republicans seem wary and holding on for every last advantage.
The conditions are very different from 2016, the prognosticators and pundits insist. Trump has been eroding support from suburban voters, seniors, and independents. Additionally, there are not as many undecided at this stage of the race as in 2016. The tribal nature of the current environment has folks locked into their red and blue teams.
The Senate seems poised to flip as well. Senators from states such as Arizona, Maine, North Carolina are in precarious positions mainly due to blowback for their craven support of an indefensible president.
The money poured into campaigns for democratic candidates up and down the ticket has been unprecedented. Jamie Harrison’s campaign reports contributions of $57 million just in the third quarter of 2020, a record for senate races. Amy McGrath in Kentucky has also amassed record campaign funds. The money in the current election cycle reflects the extreme polarization in the country and the level of rage and activism in the electorate, particularly among Democrats. Lindsey Graham(R), the Senator from South Carolina is fighting for his seat against Jamie Harrison (D), an unthinkable outcome for Graham who is synonymous with S. Carolina politics.
Voting is already underway across the country through mail-in and early in-person voting, with a quarter of all the votes from 2016 having already been cast. COVID is a significant factor in this trend, but so too is the level of polarization and division. Voters are outraged and ready for a fight. The President, afraid of losing, is shrouding the election process with misinformation, designed to sow doubt on the outcome. It is likely that the election results will not be known till weeks after Nov 3rd, and will be battled in the courts. More bad news for a weary electorate, with all that 2020 has already been.
Three weeks to go, an eternity for a country that has been in a state of tumult, anger and division for close to four years. And that is no overstatement.
Mala Rajamani is a technologist who lives and works in Washington, D.C., USA. Loves traveling, reading, wandering through historical cities and nature. Also loves a good conversation.