The recent presidential election indeed appeared to be one of the most extremely divisive, contentious, and controversial polls in the history of the US. However, the likelihood of President Trump winning or losing the battle was influenced by several contentious issues, and events that happened before the recent election illuminated the outcome of the election. The first-term impeachment, the global COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented civil unrest, and the economic shutdown indicated strongly that Trump would will his second term. This essay discusses the main factors which illuminated the possible winner of the recent US presidential election.
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Poor Handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Public attitude and opinion about how President Trump’s government handled the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most significant factors which strongly predicted how the incumbent president wbe ould fair in the poll. 4.4 million Americans had contracted the coronavirus by early (Owens 24). In addition to the 151,000 deaths, millions of citizens had lost jobs and filed for unemployment benefits throughout the country (Owens 24). Consistent with this trend, many people perceived the current government’s approach to managing the disease to be ineffective. Owens confirms that the opposing views influenced strongly public reaction and attitude to the incumbent (24). The results of one poll mirrored this trend, with 88% of the respondents indicating that they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned about how the pandemic would impact the US economy (Owens 24). These results are confirmed by the findings of a more recent poll that predicted the outcome of the vote (Gruca and Rietz 3). The results of the survey indicated a dramatic drop in the incumbent’s popularity, giving him a 30.99% chance of re-election by August 26 (Gruca and Rietz 3). Gruca and Rietz explain this trend by stating that the incumbent’s chances of re-election dropped during the initial wave of the illness. The authors attributed this trend to economic trough to the impact of the novice pandemic (3). Therefore, the poor handling of the disease contributed to President Trump’s low approval ratings which illuminated his defeat.
President Trump’s reaction to the pandemic exacerbated the negative impact of this event on his chances of winning. He perceived the disease as a political threat and proceeded to defund agencies and programs responsible for managing the event (Owen 1). He downplayed openly the danger posed by the disease in an attempt to minimize its impact, especially on the economy and public. For example, after realizing the dramatic effect of the illness on the stock market, he claimed that “Low Ratings Fake is are doing everything possible to make the Carona virus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible” (Owen 1). He had good intentions of cushioning the economy from the scourge, but his responses deepened his chances of losing the poll.
Besides that, the current government’s handling of the initial wave of the pandemic signaled the president’s failure. His administration made some gross mistakes whcoststed his bid. For instance, it failed to take necessary precautions by allowing a cruise ship originating from Wuhan, which was the epicenter of the virus (Owen 1). Ain addition his government repatriated US citizens from China alongside healthy people, endangering personnel who attended to them (Owen 1). These missteps exposed many people to the virus, consequently escalating the number of infections and deaths in the country.
Easing COVID-related restrictions on businesses and reopening public schools prematurely, as well as downplaying the role of masks are other prominent factors in Trump’s failure. One poll reported that over half of Californians (61%) believed the governments (state and city) eased the restrictions too early (DiCamillo 2). Democrats overwhelmingly stated that the decision was hasty by 80% compared to 73% of the Republicans who held the contrary view (DiCamillo 2). Such partisan attitudes strongly influenced the opinions of the candidates and their chances of winning the poll (Gary 3). Gary attributes the fading approval of the incumbent’s performance to the unfavorable reviews among the citizens (Gary 3). Therefore, the series of blatant failures by Trump’s administration were clear indications that he will not be reelected.
The stock market collapse and credit crunch illuminated the current president’s fate. The health of the US economy matters a lot in presidential campaigns (Owens 4). Gruca and Rietz document how the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) price changes responded to the major events (2). Gruca and Rietz reports that the incumbent’s probability of triumphing in the poll fell during the market crash due to COVID-19 shocks and remained unchanged even after the economic depression (Gruca and Rietz 3). Other mega-events that characterized the presidential campaigns such as the protests and the skyrocketing COVID-19 infections and deaths explain this trend. Therefore, the plummeting economy reflected President Trump’s dwindling prospects of staying in the oval office for a second term.
The attempted impeachment was another significant indicator of the current president’s failure. The incumbent was charged with abusing his power and obstructing justice concerning the congressional investigation of his dealings with Ukraine (Piotrowski 1). Despite his vindication, the charges were detrimental to President Trump’s re-election. Piotrowski argues that although the event had unintended negative consequences on President Trump’s political career as Democrats were expected to capitalize on his misconduct and involvement in unscrupulous dealings in the presidential campaigns (2). In addition to all Democrats, Mitt Romney, a Republican, voted against the incumbent. Therefore, the scandal demonstrated the fading public trust in the president.
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The massive demonstrations following the George Floyd’s murder signaled that the president will not win his second term. The incumbent made inflammatory remarks and demonstrated a lack of empathy for the relentless Black Lives Matter movement. A June CBS News study established that slightly above half of the whites (52%) perceived the brutal murder of Floyd was consistent with the broader pattern of the unwarranted use of violence by police officers toward Blacks (Owens 25). In a related poll, a significant percentage of individuals who were polled (including 42% of whites) was concerned about the president’s reaction to how the Floyd died and the demonstrations that erupted in the country (Owens 25). The civil unrest influenced strongly public evaluation of Trump (Gruca and Rietz 3). Thus, his low approval ratings are partly explained by the chaos that characterized Floyd’s murder.
In conclusion, the outcome of the fiercely contested presidential election remained unknown to many people as either side stood an equal chance of winning. However, several contentious events happened before the polls, which suggested the fate of the incumbent and his fierce rival. These events hurt the attitude and perception of voters and provided reliable evidence that President Trump was likely to fail to secure his second term.
DiCamillo, Mark. “Release# 2020-12: How Partisan Differences and Views of President Trump are Framing Voter Perceptions of the Virus.” Institute of Governmental Studies, 2020, pp. 1-6.
Dyer, Owen. “Trump Claims Public Health Warnings on Covid-19 are a Conspiracy Against Him.” BMJ, 2020, p. 1-2.
Gruca, Thomas S., and Thomas A. Rietz. “The 2020 (Re) Election According to the Iowa Electronic Markets: Politics, Pandemic, Recession, and/or Protests?” PS: Political Science & Politics, 2020, pp. 1-5.
Jacobson, Gary C. “Donald Trump and the Parties: Impeachment, Pandemic, Protest, and Electoral Politics in 2020.” Presidential Studies Quarterly, 2020, pp. 1-34.
Owens, John E. “Donald Trump’s Re-election Prospects.” Political Insight, vol.11, no. 3, 2020, pp. 8-11.
Piotrowski, Mateusz. “Impeachment: Consequences of Acquitting Donald Trump.” 2020, pp. 1-2.