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USA: 100 days before the election

The winner is still unclear

USA: 100 days before the election

There are exactly 100 days left until the United States general election due on November 3. On this day, the President, the Vice President, 35 senators, all the 435 members of the House of Representatives, 13 governors of states and territories, as well as local authorities will be elected.

Certainly, most of the focus is on the presidential election, with representatives of the two major parties – Republican (elephants) and Democratic (donkeys) – fighting hard over the place in the White house. At the moment, the two competitors are almost known – 74-year-old Republican Donald Trump seeking re-election to his second term, and former Vice President in the Obama administration Joseph Biden, 77. Note that by the critical stage of the election race, both Trump and Biden have secured formidable financial resources: $295 million and $242 million respectively.

Six months ago, almost no one doubted President Trump's victory. But the situation got reversed first by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn, and then by large-scale racial riots in many American cities triggered by the death of an African-American man, Joseph Floyd,  at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Seemingly written off "Sleepy Joe", as Trump would sometimes call Biden, has once again get caught up in game and vibrantly engaged in the election race. Moreover, according to various opinion polls, he even outperformed the current head of state by 10-15 percentage points: American voters are specifically dissatisfied with the Trump administration's performance amidst the pandemic.

However, this stage of the election campaign does not allow being 100 percent sure about a particular candidate's victory; American history knows many examples with the new President's name becoming known in the nick of time. Suffice it to recall that in the 2016 election, Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 130 thousand votes, but the latter became President because of having secured the electoral college members' votes. And in this regard, claims by some analysts that Biden will defeat Trump in the upcoming November 3 election are obviously premature. Especially given that recent days saw Trump significantly close the gap to 2-3%, which is within the margin of survey sampling error.

Considering that the current election campaign is taking place in extremely unusual conditions, the fight between the two candidates is going to be fierce in the remaining months prior to the election. It is due to the current presidential race's unusual nature that many political observers offer prospects of Trump's sharing the same fate of Republican President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), who unsuccessfully sought re-election in 1932 at the height of the Great Depression, or of Democratic President Jimmy Carter, who campaigned in 1980 in the midst of the Iran hostage crisis.

In a lot of ways, the choice of ordinary Americans will depend on what Trump and Biden will offer in their programs for the country's further development, that will soon be approved by delegates to the Republican and Democratic party conventions. As for the "elephants", back in early June, the party leadership discussed the possible retention of the same 50-page-long platform prepared for the 2016 election. However, in mid-June, President Trump said on Twitter he would like an updated platform, well-knit as far as possible. It is entirely possible that changes will be made before the convention, particularly as regards China, US relations with whom have recently become strained.

It should be noted that the Beijing policy issue is also addressed in the draft party platform prepared for the Democratic Party convention. The document particularly states that in case of their victory, the Democrats will closely coordinate action with European allies aiming to exert pressure on China. As for foreign policy topics, Joe Biden himself has often dwelt on them recently, noting in one of his speeches that he did not seek higher tensions Russia or other countries. But at the same time, he expressed readiness to arrange for sanctions and cyber attacks against countries invested with attempts to interfere in American electoral processes, naming Russia among them.

However, let's not forget that ordinary Americans are typically more interested not in the US administration's foreign policy, but in what is happening inside the country. In this regard, the situation with the American economy and the coronavirus will largely determine the voters' sentiment. And given the current unusual election campaign, we should not discount contingencies that may seriously affect their disposition. As an example, the national TV debates between Trump and Biden can be cited. The first debate is due on September 29 at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, the second one will be hosted by the University of Michigan on October 15, and the third one will take place on October 22 at the Belmont University, Tennessee.

We should not overlook the possible activation of Trump's "silent supporters" on the voting day – those who usually refuse to take part in the polls but are extremely concerned about the wave of racial riots. It is held that the typical "silent supporter" is a middle-aged white American with secondary education. Such people may well determine the outcome of voting in the country's key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Just a reminder: on the voting day, the presidential candidate will have to enlist 270 of the 538 electoral college votes. Until then, let's not jump to conclusions and wait till November 3, when the outcome of the 59th US presidential election become known.

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