The November 2020 presidential election in the US would be a cesspool of controversies, including allegations and counter-allegations, racism and bigotry with the Republican President Donald Trump indicating that he might reject the results if presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins.
In an interview with Fox News’ host Chris Wallace, the master of shifting blame claimed that
mail-in balloting, being pressed by Democrats as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic, is “going to rig the election” and declined to be gracious enough to accept the potential defeat. “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no – and I didn’t last time either.”
Trump, who overly played down the threat of COVID-19 and is yet to come up with a public health strategy to contain the spread of disease, resisted the argument that the US has the seventh-largest mortality rate in the world and skirted taking responsibility for the dramatic surge in infected patients, passing the buck to the veteran US doctors.
He also challenged Biden’s mental sharpness, reiterating that if elected, Biden would ruin the country and be pushed to the radical left.
The defamatory comment “Joe doesn’t know he’s alive” was just a drop in the bucket about his imperious approach toward his political opponent and a playback of his aggressive foreign policy that bullies the US international relationship and global trade system.
Opposing a new Fox national poll that, like other surveys, revealed Biden’s glaring lead over Trump, he dubbed the erstwhile vice-president “mentally shot”. But one of the pollsters found precisely an inverse trend among the registered voters – showing that in mental soundness, intelligence and judgment capabilities – the former topped the latter in each of the measures.
Trump’s petulant instinct to cull and defy outcomes when they do not favour him could brew into a blistering and sulfurous post-election crisis that would be brimming with political disputes, charges of rigging and even violence in the streets over partial results because of mail-in voting and weeklong ballot counting.
Any hold up in the announcement of results over absentee voting could confound stark US challenges and its drift from an economic and health ordeal to political indecision.
Trump’s frustration following the low turnout at his election rallies and dipping approval increases the risk of a nightmare scenario if he is voted out by public ballot.
By endorsing Attorney General William Barr’s remarks that expanding votes-by-mail “absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud”, Trump has already illuminated his bullheaded nature that he would not vacate the White House benignly and has been preparing himself for a hard-line irrespective of whether it will shove the country toward political disaster.
Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University – alongside nearly 20 experts, political scientists, former lawmakers and historians –cautioned that there was “significant scope” of unprecedented crisis after the US wraps up the presidential election at the end of the year.
The “deep scepticism and concern across the political spectrum” could impinge on the economic fortune of millions of US citizens who have been tricked by Trump’s nonsensical economic, trade and foreign policies and are being bulldozed by his horrible virus prevention and control blunders.
Thanks to its own president, the US political system is confronted with a challenge: Protect the US citizens gearing up to queue in Nile-long voting lines from in-person balloting and the potential health risks or satiate Trump, perhaps the most hedonistic and unpredictable head of state ever, lest he rejects Biden’s victory.
Azhar Azam writes about geopolitical issues and regional conflicts. CGTN