The upcoming presidential election in the United States is the most important one in postwar history. Pollsters, bookmakers and analysts agree that Democratic candidate Joe Biden will probably score a clear victory. A number of pundits believe that the American media are reluctant to confirm his lead, afraid of a repeat of 2016, when they failed to fathom the rise of Donald Trump.
The truth is that so-called “silent voters” are a concern for pollsters and analysts. They believe that Trump voters either refuse to take part in opinion polls or won’t admit their preference in public. The incumbent president could theoretically again lose the majority vote but score a victory in key states, thus ensuring enough votes in the Electoral College to secure re-election.
A Trump win would be a big surprise. So would his arrogance, for it would mean he had been able to win despite the huge obstacles and his Covid-19 infection. There would be no stopping him this time. Whatever foreign policy decision he might make, there would be no obstacle big enough to stop him. As a key European leader has said privately, “a second Trump term would likely mark the end of the West as we’ve known it.”
A Biden administration on the other hand would be a lot like a pre-Trump style presidency; pretty much the classic American establishment on autopilot. Biden would seek to rekindle the traditional alliances of the US and he would most certainly be tough on Moscow as well as Beijing. The US would again become a predictable country, but no one really believes that it would be able to restore the prestige and power of past decades.
Meanwhile, a lot has changed on the global stage, most of it in deterministic fashion.
The worst scenario would be an ambivalent election outcome, which would then be challenged by Trump. Already, many US analysts are predicting tensions and riots on election night and subsequent to that.
Optimistic observers expect that, even at the last moment, moderate Republicans will rein in Trump, signaling “that’s enough.” Pessimists on the other hand believe that America will go through a prolonged period of violence and uncertainty – with all the consequences that this would entail for the rest of the globe.