We should be worried about the 2020 US election – Conservative Article
Donald Trump is a controversial president. There is no doubt about that. With his sinking poll numbers, there is speculation as to if he will win the 2020 election. But there is an important issue that is being ignored. If he does lose the vote to Biden, will he accept the result? I don’t think so.
In John Bolton’s tell-all book, he claims that Trump wanted to serve more than two terms in the White House. This alone should be worrying enough. John Bolton was a high ranking member of the administration, suggesting his former boss would so openly violate the American Constitution. But, as stated in this article, there’s more than just this.
In 2019, Trump tweeted that his supporters would ‘demand’ he stayed longer than two terms. He retweeted a post saying he should get two years back because of the Mueller investigation. In 2018, he praised Xi Jinping for being a ruler for life, and that the US should give that a shot.
Even after he won in 2016, he claimed three million people voted illegally. And just recently, Fox News released an interview with Trump in which he said that “he will have to see” if he accepts the 2020 election result. He said the same thing in 2016.
Clearly Trump intends to flout democratic norms. This is extremely worrying. The leader of one of the most powerful democracies intends to ignore the democratic system.
And yet somehow, there is more evidence that he might flout these norms.
In John Bolton’s book, it said that Trump sought help from China to win the election. Not only does this go against all of what Trump has said about China, but it is also illegal. It is a felony to accept or solicit foreign help in an election. In testimony on 28 July 2019, Attorney General Barr was asked if it was appropriate for a president to seek foreign assistance or accept foreign help. He had to be asked twice. Him struggling with a basic question should immediately set off alarm bells.
Suggestions for increased use of mail-in votes have been raised due to Covid-19. But Trump is not for this. In May, he claimed that mail-in votes would rig the election. He doubled down on this in June, saying foreign countries could rig elections because of increased mail-in ballots.
These claims are false. These claims are dangerous. This sows doubt into democracy, weakening people’s trust. This is already evident from Trump, as trust in democracy and government is worsening. These words have a profound impact and in a period of partisanship, this makes the above doubt worse. Gallup cites Trump as undermining trust in the media. It is possible he will do the same to democracy.
Trump makes these claims because he fears an expanded electorate. It is clear he thinks it benefits Democrats and hurts Republicans. But this isn’t true. This is just a move so he can cling onto power.
Now Trump is asking to delay the election. He does not have the power to do this unilaterally. He is claiming it is because of the fraud mail-in voting would cause, “2020 will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history”. There is zero evidence for this. The only way the election could be changed is if Congress and the President agree to change the date. That is extremely unlikely. Especially as they could not delay it by long. Unless Trump is reelected, he has to be out of the White House by 20 January. This will not be changed unless the Constitution is – which is not going to happen.
The Supreme Court will have to get involved. Trump will seek their approval to legitimate claims of corruption or of a rigged election. It will be even more controversial than Bush vs Gore. It will be the second time the Supreme Court will decide a president, not the voters.
Even though the court has a conservative majority and two Trump appointees, I think it will go against him. He will not go quietly even then. But I think at that point he will leave. Hopefully it doesn’t take the army to remove him as Biden suggested.
In a time of a pandemic raging across the US, this should not be the focus. We should be able to trust all of our politicians to be able to respect a democratic vote. We should be focusing on the overall American failure to handle Covid-19. We should be holding Trump accountable for his failures on Covid-19 and everything else. Not on focusing on his outbursts against democracy.
This is all just speculation. Trump could win convincingly. The polls have been wrong before. But make no mistake, the 2020 election is under threat. But it is threatened primarily by Trump himself. The election must be watched with closer eyes than before. Because if it isn’t, American democracy will be badly damaged.
Written by Junior Conservative Writer, Kieran Burt
Point of Information
American Democracy is Fundamentally Flawed – A Liberal Response
I strongly share Kieran’s concern over Trump’s desire to bypass democratic norms. Election Day is established in the American Constitution and has never once been delayed. I find it ironic that the GOP, a Party that claims to defend the Constitution, is now actively ignoring it.
Whether Trump will act is a different question. Trump cannot postpone the election by himself. He would have to win the support of a Democrat-majority Congress, which seems extremely unlikely. There are – thankfully – some insurmountable obstacles in Trump’s way.
Then there is Trump himself. His presidency has been much more bark than bite, with Trump fulfilling only 35% of his 60 key promises. Trump has consistently failed to deliver on his desires. Will this time be any different?
Trump is a threat to democracy. Kieran displays this very well. Yet, his article misses something crucial. The biggest threat to American democracy is American democracy itself.
American democracy is fundamentally broken. In 2016, for the first time in its history, America was ranked as a ‘flawed democracy’. Four years on, it has not regained any lost ground. This is not surprising. Congressional districts have been gerrymandered beyond belief. Political opinion has become severely polarised. Americans do not trust their government to function.
As Kieran aptly shows, Trump has made his own moves against democracy. However, Trump is benefitting from fundamental flaws in the system. If we wish to fight for democracy and a successful election, we need to challenge both Trump and the flaws in America’s democracy.
Written by Senior Liberal Writer, Frank Allen
A week is a long time in American Politics – A Labour Response
Nowhere else in American political history has its unique form of traditionalism taken such blows other than under Trump’s unique but abrading approach to running the state.
This November will see his presidential efforts available for democratic scrutiny for the first time; something he has little empirical understanding of and will struggle to adapt to during this Covid-19 crisis.
This week saw the first signs of this struggle when Trump demanded November’s election be extended. He claimed postal voting fraud will deliver the ‘most fraudulent result in history’ in an effort to hide how his popularity has continued to wane.
July of this year saw 34% of American citizens identify as Conservative, down from 40% last year and Trump’s approval rating dropped 8 points since April – not that he was ever concerned with opinion polls. Kieran’s point on Trump’s wishes to run more than two terms may have had validity last year, but now his primary concern is not running for a third term, but winning his second.
In the opposite camp, Joe Biden has been curiously keeping a low profile in this crisis period, other than professing to ‘rip the systemic racism out of the US’. Trump retorted in an unconsidered fashion that he’s supporting the criminals. An obvious electioneering response.
It’s expected that Biden will begin to ramp up his presence as the convention period looms ahead and he has yet to announce his running-mate. This is the time when a decision can either unite or divide the base; something Trump cares not a jot for as he was originally Independent and was reluctantly adopted by the Republican brand. But this moment will be pivotal because as we have learned from the 2008 election with the media sloppy Sarah Palin: a running mate can easily turn your electioneering sprint into a pub crawl.
Written by Guest Labour Writer, Thomas Sloman
Hello, my name is Kieran Burt and I am going into second year at Nottingham Trent University studying Politics and International Relations. I first developed an interest in politics through reading the Dictator’s Handbook by Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, when I was 16, and have furthered my interest by studying politics at A level and now at university.
Politics was a completely taboo subject for me as a young boy. Having lived almost all my life in Brunei and Qatar – two very strict, theocratic autocracies – I was cautious to keep my opinions well-guarded. The smallest negative remark about either country’s governance, for example, would’ve meant deportation for my family and I. Any non-approved political activity, no matter how naïve, had to be kept a secret. It was best not to question at all.