Americans have headed to the polls to pick their next president – incumbent Donald Trump or his Democrat challenger Joe Biden. The US presidential elections are seen with keen enthusiasm as it has a profound impact around the world.
Near 100 million Americans voted early and now it is up to Election Day voters to make a decision. The election campaign was one of the most diverse and bitter in recent history as both sides vehemently opposed and even traded insults at each other. The past four years have been the most tumultuous for US politics as Trump has focused more on himself than the country.
The elections are being held in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of 233,000 Americans and weakened Trump’s campaign. The brash talking president has made baseless claims that the pandemic is under control and held massive rallies with complete disregard for social distancing and where facemasks were shunned. The economy is not under control either as more than 1.8 million people have filed for unemployment during the pandemic.
To make matter worse for Trump, there have been massive anti-racism protests in recent months. Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists has not gone down well with the African-American community who are likely to vote against him. On the last day of campaigning, Trump visited the town of Kenosha in Wisconsin where the death of a black man by police brutality caused violent protests. Such antics are unlikely to sway the minority Black and Hispanic voters.
On the foreign policy front, Trump has weakened relations with US allies in Europe and with Canada. Instead, he strengthened ties with Saudi Arabia and pushed for Arab recognition of Israel. The US was embroiled in a trade war with China which threatens our global system and can escalate into a new Cold War. Biden has called Trump a threat to democracy as he called for voters to dump him.
Biden’s success might come not from his policies or campaigning but from Trump’s failures. During the 2016 elections, many voters stayed away but have turned in this time around. Biden is a former vice president and has deep insight into US politics, while Trump has done more talk than action. The results will not just decide the direction the USA moves forward but will shape global politics.