• Maeve Schaffer

Opinion: A Historical Election No Matter What The Result

The results of this election will change the course of history, as many US elections have. One ponders what the world might have looked like if it were Al Gore who won the presidential election in 2000, or even if it were Mitt Romney who succeeded Barack Obama in the 2012 election. Yet the weeks

leading up to November 3rd, 2020 are distinctly more onerous and tense, filled with electric possibility as either presidential result will strike fundamental change. With the world already in such disarray, the vote that the people of the United States must make this autumn may push us further, as the human race seems to spiral down without a firm grasp on what the future has to bring.


As anyone with the slightest notion of physics will know, the future is unpredictable. There are a vast array of different possibilities that could result from the winner of this US presidential election. However, in this article I would like to focus on the absolutes; either Donald Trump will win once again, or the 46th President of the United States will be Joe Biden. While the vote rests in the hands of the citizens of the United States, I will explore the possible outcomes of this historical election amidst such global tribulation.


Firstly, the scenario in which we wake up to the incumbent securing his seat, where Donald Trump is successful in ensuring his devoted supporters turned out to vote. After the shambles of the 2016 election, Russian hackers will be suggested and investigated as a possibility, but even with this investigation: nothing is likely to change, just like the 2016 election. Now that the Supreme Court is officially a majority conservative court with 3 judges appointed by Trump, it is extremely likely that any violation of the infamous abortion precedent, Roe v Wade 1973, will lead to a ground-breaking overturn. Trump now has 3 judges loyal to his cause, who I regret to say would most probably defend his corner if any court cases against the administration reach the US Supreme Court.


With each new divisive speech, Donald Trump incites anger on both sides; one side is angry for him, angry at the “liberals” who threaten his position in the executive, Trump’s reliable scapegoat. The other side is angry at him, angry at his presidency and the fact so many forces that should have worked against him do not seem to make a difference to his cult-like following. This is the group that will be angry if Trump triumphs once again in the 2020 election and retains his seat in the Oval Office.


Donald Trump’s miraculous coronavirus recovery only highlights the failures of his government during this pandemic that has caused over 200,000 deaths in the United States. The ever-growing movement of ‘anti-maskers’ will continue to push cases across the country higher and higher, and with Trump’s seemingly apathetic attitude toward the virus, his re-election does not encourage high hopes for change. Furthermore, once Trump is re-elected, it will solidify the promise that no matter what Trump does he will face no accountability, no checks or balances, and will only persist with his dodgy deeds. Without punishment from the electorate, Trump has no challenges left.


The second scenario, while positive on some levels, will not be any less problematic. Former Vice-President Joe Biden’s victory guarantees conflict from die-hard Trump supporters, with some promising a ‘civil war’. Even now, the recent news of a (foiled) plot to kidnap the Democratic Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer sparks concern and raises questions about reactions to a new Democratic President of the United States. Militias, far-right groups and the ‘Proud Boys’ are proclaiming to heed Trump’s calls to “stand by”, ready and waiting for reactionary riots and protests. Only adding fuel to the fire, Trump has already expressed worry that the only explanation for a Republican loss at the 2020 election is electoral fraud and the tampering of mail-in ballots. If that’s the belief of his following, who is to say how they will react if Biden wins – with or without any rumoured tampering.


As the American air is already thick with apprehension and partisan hostility, a major shift towards a moderate political position may trigger a violent response from those dedicated to the ‘Make America Great Again’ cause. Trump only encourages this by vowing to stay put, even if he loses the election, which would make him the first president to disregard one of the most important ideals in America: democracy. By making it difficult to transfer power from Trump to Biden, a whole host of brand-new issues will arise, only increasing the tension between parties and voters tenfold.


From the other side of the pond, it will be interesting and ever-so-slightly scary to witness the consequences of this election. As America votes, white-knuckled and anxious, all we can do is wait. Wait and see which of the two Presidents will go down in history for the most electric and divisive Presidential win that the world has ever seen.


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