Author: Zhining Zhao | Editor: Harry Liao, Max Fan | Updated September 18th 2020
President Trump’s election in 2016 signified a wave of conservatism and nationalism rising in America, teaching the “radical left” a lesson for ignoring the “silent majority” of lower income white Americans with its overly progressive policies. As the stage is set for the Biden versus Trump showdown in November, the odds are seemingly in Trump’s favor to be reelected. But are the odds truly in the incumbent’s favor?
The 2016 polls on the result of the presidential election was to say the least, inaccurate. Hillary Clinton’s “landslide victory” never came to realize. So while Biden does have a lead over Trump in the 2020 polls, does the numbers actually stand?
Yes, the polls are more accurate in 2020. In 2016, the polls could have been inaccurate because a significant portion of Trump supporters weren’t vocal about their support for him, perhaps because they’re afraid of being attacked for their political beliefs. Thus, the polls were unable to present a full demographic. Even Trump himself seems to endorse this theory - back in February, he suggested that one should simply “plus add 9 points” on to any political poll as a proof of its inaccuracy. However, in 2020, people are no longer shy about being a vocal supporter of Trump. With America being so divided, there is no middle ground for a voter to stand upon. You’re either a supporter of Biden and the Democratic party, or you’re a supporter of Trump and his fellow conservatives. There’s no more need to hide your political identity - the silent majority are no longer silent. Instead, according to the statistics related to Trump v Biden merchandise sales, Trump’s supporters are more than vocal to share their political views. As such, the polls would give a much more holistic and accurate representation of America’s political battlefield. Perhaps the polls would be correct indicating Biden’s victory.
Back in 2016, Trump had unstoppable momentum. His charisma, instincts, and position as an outsider to the “corrupt politicians” pushed him to become the president. His stances on America first was exactly what people needed to hear after so many years under the leadership of the establishment and the outsourcing of jobs. His momentum was built on bringing change to the progressive system, bringing the economy up, and ameliorating the quality of life for many lower income white Americans. But Trump is losing that momentum. His recent failures to address the COVID-19 pandemic unravelled everything that he had fought to build. Trump downplayed the pandemic, saying that “one day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear,” and his inability to take decisive action has indirectly caused the deaths of more than 198,000 Americans. As a result, COVID-19 is threatening to become a seasonal illness that will not magically disappear in the coming years. Unemployment rate has reached an all time high as the stock market plummeted more than 33% during the pandemic. Trump’s 2020 saw the one of the worst economic crises America had seen in over a century.
Furthermore, Trump’s handling of the Black Lives Matter protest proved that he was unable to bridge racial division in America. Instead, he is making it greater than before. Sure, just like any other examples of mass protests, there is unavoidable violence inflicted by certain extremists and opportunities within the Black Lives Matter movement, but the movement itself is founded on recognizing racial inequality and bringing equality to minorities and colored people. Calling the movement as a whole “a symbol of hate”, as Trump did in a tweet, probably does not help the incumbent’s position with minority voters.
On the other hand, Joe Biden is winning over southern states and suburban women, attacking Trump directly in his fortress. Assuming that the polls of 2020 are more accurate, Biden has a six point lead over Trump in Florida, which was a strong swing state for Trump throughout his candidacy. With good news in the South, the Biden campaign has promised to win more swing states that voted for Trump in 2016.
Yet another great change that may influence the election is the shift of suburban women’s votes from Trump to Biden. A Marist poll in late June indicated that 66% of suburban women disapproved of Trump. On the contrary, a CNN poll found Biden with a 14 point lead over Trump on suburban votes. Exit polls of 2016 found out that a great number of voters in Trump’s base were of suburban population, who were attracted by his promises of returning jobs back to the US. If Trump’s voting base begins to falter, his chances may diminish by a considerable amount.
While some may claim that people are easy to forget Trump’s faults, it would be hard to ignore them when the election is only two months away. Sure, Biden may not have the charisma nor the fierceness of Trump, but at least he is a politician who is willing to play by the rules of international relations. Biden is reasonable. Trump’s unorthodox method of running America was a piece of history to be remembered, but it has done too much harm to be continued.