Can Donald Trump steal a second term?

International Oct 22, 2020

As the US Presidential elections draw nearer, the only question pervading everyone’s mind is whether Donald Trump would be reinstated as the leader of the world’s second-largest democracy. Ever since the election of Donald Trump to the presidential office in 2016, there has been an explicit degeneration of democratic norms and constitutional values. This has raised questions in the minds of the American public, how far is the ‘world’s most dangerous man’ willing to go to win the elections.

What factors indicate Trump’s loss in the Presidential race?

Trump is infamous for his distasteful remarks on Muslims and has long been condemned by the anti-Republican lobby for his administration’s ‘Muslim Ban’. Besides this, Trump is also under public scrutiny for his scathing remarks against the Black Lives Matter Movement which was validated when he described the protestors seeking justice for George Floyd as, a man who was killed by a bunch of cops during an arrest, “a bunch of thugs”. His problematic stance on the climate crisis - his repeated denial of the wretched state of the world’s environment - has stirred feelings of anger within environmental activism circles. From attempting to ban abortion throughout the United States to lying about his tax returns and getting impeached - the list is long.

Most recently, it is Trump’s inept handling of the COVID-19 crisis that has drawn national and global attention. Even after being infected by the virus himself, he continued to downplay the seriousness of the disease that has cost America nearly 226, 553 lives. This lack of empathy flies in the face of those who have been impacted by the pandemic, directly or indirectly.

How is the Trump administration planning to secure a second term?

The Trump administration has come under the scanner for resorting to undemocratic tactics to steal a second term for itself. One of the major ways in which this is being carried out is voter suppression. Over the last few months of campaigning, Trump has insinuated that ‘mail-in voting’ is fraught with fraud. Owing to the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans have resorted to postal voting in the 2020 elections. In fact, a CNN survey reported that, as of September 25th, nearly 71 million absentee ballots were reported, a figure that is about 50% higher than that recorded during the 2016 elections.

However, President Trump is extremely hostile to mail-in voting and has called it a fraudulent tool exploited by Democrats. The best conjecture seeking to explain his subversion of the absentee ballot system is a poll that recorded that Democrats are more likely to vote by mail as compared to Republicans. Moreover, in 2020, there would be a greater partisan split in mail-in voting as the president’s unsubstantiated claims seem to be dissuading Republicans from registering their vote via mail.

Secondly, Trump’s refusal to peacefully and civilly transfer power, in the event he loses the elections, has raised concerns. Political observers foresee armed clashes between the supporters of the two major factions as either of them tries to inaugurate the President of their choice. Trump’s repudiation of the authenticity of mail-in voting might also mean politically-motivated lawsuits wherein he would have an upper hand if Amy Coney Barrett, his Supreme Court judge nomination, is confirmed and installed.

All these factors have worried not just Americans, but also international spectators of American politics. The world is watching as the US readies itself for what seems like one of the most significant presidential elections in American history.

This article has been written by Ishaan Singh for The Paradigm

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