While the Democratic convention ended Thursday, August 20, the correspondent of World in Washington, Gilles Paris, returned to the campaign of presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Max Sail: Didn’t the Democratic convention focus too much on Trump’s presidency and far too little on the Biden project?
Gilles Paris: This is indeed the main criticism that can be made at the end of this agreement. But it must be remembered that the main driver of the Democratic vote in 2020 is the outgoing president himself, not the program. The voters of this party, with an overwhelming majority vote against Donald Trump and not for Joe Biden and his ideas, however innovative, especially for him.
We can hypothesize that the Democrats did not want to stage too strongly this program which is the most leftist ever defended by a presidential candidate in recent decades so as not to fuel accusations of drift radical which constitute, with the questioning of the mental capacities of Joe Biden, one of the main Republican angles of attack.
Joe Biden’s calculation is clearly that the election will be played out as often in the center, which forces him to this tightrope walk illustrated by the appearance during the convention of figures as different as the rising star on the left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and former Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich.
Maé: How the Democratic camp, yet very disunited less than six months ago, could line up behind the candidacy of Joe Biden, without a dissenting voice?
In fact, the rally around Joe Biden’s candidacy came fairly quickly during the primaries at the start of March. The former vice president was carried away by a helpful vote reflex. Rightly or wrongly (we won’t know until November 3), he was considered the best placed to challenge Donald Trump.
Contrary to what happened in 2016, this reflex spared him a long nomination contest, then his political talent allowed him to find common ground with the spokesperson for the left wing, the Vermont independent senator Bernie Sanders, who strongly supports him.
A few dissenting voices were heard, in particular to deplore the excessive importance given to former Republicans during the convention which has just ended, but the Democratic camp has managed to display an image of cohesion which should at least hold until the election. It is very likely, however, that the differences and divides will reappear with force once the deadline has passed, regardless of the outcome.
Steve: Who are the Republicans behind JoeBiden’s candidacy? Do they have a significant influence on the voters?
We can doubt that Donald Trump was able to shape the Grand Old Party around himself and to impose a loyalty that does not suffer any challenge. The personalities who spoke during the convention are no longer considered true Republicans by Trumpist voters, and Trump vehemently denounces Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) whenever an elected official criticizes their actions.
The stake lies mainly for Democrats in the vote of voters in peri-urban areas. In 2018, as opposed to Donald Trump, these rather centrist voters, especially women, toppled many Republican ridings.
However, these voters do not identify with the slogans of the Democratic left either. The presence at the convention was intended to reassure them by showing that the Democratic Party was above all a “Big tent”, open to all sensibilities, and not a corporalized party.
a worried observer: How is Joe Biden perceived by those who voted for Trump? Is a scenario similar to 2016 conceivable, namely a voter count victory by Hillary Clinton, but a voter count victory by Trump?
We can already predict that Joe Biden will get more votes at the national level than Donald Trump. The gap could even be greater than that of 2016 (just under 3 million ballots) without solving its problem in the electoral college which is the real arbiter of the presidential election. This election will be played, as often, in a handful of states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, but also in Arizona, North Carolina and Minnesota, with Florida still the eternal unknown.
As for Donald Trump’s voters in 2016, he has a higher acceptance rate than four years ago among Republicans. On the other hand, he is left behind by Joe Biden in two sub-electorates which could prove to be decisive. First of all among those who do not identify with either of the two candidates. In 2016, they gave him the benefit of the doubt and they were overwhelmingly supportive, which is not the case for the moment.
Likewise, Joe Biden distances him from voters who had chosen a candidate four years ago other than those of the two major parties (libertarian or environmentalist). It is only a matter of a few thousand votes but if we put aside the question of Democratic mobilization, we must remember that Donald Trump owed his election to just under 80,000 votes in Michigan. , Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
plm0960: Isn’t Joe Biden’s age an issue for his election? Can young people identify with such an elderly candidate?
This is the main handicap recognized by voters according to converging polls. Donald Trump is not much younger (74) but he conveys a much more energetic image, even his interventions also highlight an ignorance of the files and a muddled and often confused verbal expression.
The ideas of Donald Trump are overwhelmingly rejected by the youngest voters who demand more social justice, a more humanist migration policy, greater control of the arms market and a greater role for the federal state to reduce inequalities .
In this case, it is more the centrist positioning of Joe Biden that has turned them away from him so far than his age since they supported (when they voted, which remains comparatively rare), a candidate still older, Bernie Sanders. The turn to the left aims to overcome this age barrier, although it is not yet known whether this strategy will be effective.
Philou: What are the Democrats’ chances of also winning the Senate on November 3?
They are not negligible, but largely depend on the performance of Joe Biden. Democrats set to lose a seat in Alabama have high hopes in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and maybe Georgia or Montana.
If Joe Biden is elected, he will only need three more seats to secure a majority thanks to the voice of Kamala Harris who, as vice president, will also be president of the Senate. But this tiny advantage will not solve all of its problems. To envisage ambitious reforms, on immigration or health, he will have to obtain a qualified majority of sixty votes and therefore the reinforcement of certain Republicans.
Renewal of the Senate is crucial to avoid being condemned to impotence. Joe Biden assures that his experience would allow him to break a Republican camp weakened by a possible defeat of Donald Trump, but Senate Democrats believe that times have changed since the former Delaware elected left the Upper Assembly and we have heard recently Barack Obama, who was very opposed to it, raised the hypothesis of the abolition of this qualified majority.
In action: What pitfalls will Joe Biden have to avoid until the election?
This presidential campaign under the pressure of Covid-19 is unprecedented. She serves Joe Biden by limiting, for reasons difficult to criticize, his exposure to the media and to voters. But he has three debates on his agenda with Donald Trump that will be all the more followed. During the Democratic primaries, Joe Biden didn’t really excel in the exercise.
The stakes will be high for him. The incumbent president’s campaign team unsuccessfully called for additional confrontations, saying he would make short work of his Democratic opponent.
By dint of presenting Joe Biden as a has been overtaken by events, Donald Trump however takes the risk of underestimating him, as we have seen with the speech in which Joe Biden accepted the Democratic nomination and which was considered one of the best of his long career.