American poll season kicks off - Hindustan Times

American poll season kicks off

ByHT Editorial
Jan 09, 2024 10:16 PM IST

The battle between Joe Biden and Donald Trump will shape the future of the world

In this year of elections across democracies, the most important poll is undoubtedly the one in the US. What happens in the US affects the world because the country contributes a quarter of the global GDP and has the most widespread military presence across the world. And Americans are going to vote for two radically opposing visions of how they want their State structured, society shaped, and global engagements determined. Just like 2020, the men who represent the vision and are most likely to be on the ballot on November 5 this year are Joe Biden, now 81, and Donald Trump, now 77.

What happens in the US affects the world (HT imaging: Malay Karmakar) PREMIUM
What happens in the US affects the world (HT imaging: Malay Karmakar)

Biden launched his campaign last week, marking the third anniversary of the January 6 mob attack on the Capitol. The President’s pitch to voters was simple: This election is about the very future of American democracy. Can voters trust a man who refused to accept legitimate electoral results, pressured officials to manipulate the outcome, refused to respect court verdicts rejecting his claim of a stolen election, encouraged a mob to attack the citadel of American democracy, and now has promised to unveil the largest deportation exercise in American history and hollow out the federal government to remove constraints on his power if elected? Biden’s team will cite his achievements on the economy, infrastructure, climate and geopolitics while reminding voters of the Republican position on abortion. Biden, of course, faces serious concerns about his age, but when an incumbent decides to contest, the rest of the party falls in line.

But as compelling as that narrative may sound to the Democrats, Trump’s pitch to voters is equally appealing to Republicans. America is in crisis on the diplomatic, economic and social front; it is involved in too many wars; the economy between 2016-2020 was better; the “radical Left” is dictating policy on race and sexuality in schools; and most importantly, Joe Biden has presided over the largest illegal immigration in history with an “invasion” from the southern border. Trump, of course, faces serious legal challenges.

How both sides tailor their messages, maintain their control over the base, expand their appeal among independents and minorities, and respond to events over the year will shape how voters in critical swing states vote. And that, in turn, will shape the kind of power America will be at home and abroad.

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