Tuesday, March 3, 2020, also known as “Super Tuesday,” brought major wins for Joe Biden in the Democrat presidential primary. Of the 14 states that voted in the primary that day, Biden won 10. These wins were crucial for Biden to secure the nomination to run against President Donald Trump in the general election this November.
It has been an arduous path for the former vice president, whose questionable debate performances and tendency to forget basic details — like the name of his former running-mate Barack Obama — raise questions about his mental ability to handle the presidency. However, his platform of electability and moderation have made him a favorite among big Democrat names such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton. Supporters also point to the fact that 38% of voters identify as independent and may wish to seek a ‘middle ground’ between the hard-right politics of Trump and the radical leftism of earlier prospective Democrat candidates such as Bernie Sanders.
To compare Trump’s reelection chances to his race four years ago, one must compare his 2016 and 2020 opponents. And while Hillary Clinton was a hard-left candidate whose email scandals were never out of the ridiculing eye of Donald Trump, Biden appears to be a moderate candidate that is more humble than Trump — a trait which will cause voters to look more favorably on his overall character.
According to the Pew Research Center, a 41-year old Biden supporter stated, “I think [Biden] has stronger moral fortitude, is kinder, and will think more before he speaks than our current president.”
Additionally, many polls indicate that Trump should be getting a little antsy. The Economist puts Biden’s chances of winning the electoral college at around 88% and his chances of winning the popular vote at an even higher probability of 98%.
Despite all of this, 90% of Trump hopefuls are confident that their candidate will win, which is a huge improvement over the 74% who expressed confidence in 2016.
Just four years ago, conservative Americans were in the depths of political despair as they watched Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton take commanding leads in every poll, with some predictions putting her chances as high as 99%. Now, the message of Mitt Romney and other conservatives is that Trump won then, and the polls have become too biased to mean anything, so he will likely win again. Given the jaw-dropping Republican win in 2016, Trump’s supporters may have a point.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, the stock market has correctly predicted every election since 1984 and it only has eyes for Joe Biden. On February 19 of this year, stock markets reached an all-time high before plummeting 35% to a depressing state of bare functionality on March 23. Although this was due to the coronavirus and not the actions of Trump, the events favor Joe Biden because he was not even in office at the time. After all, when Americans vote in November, they do so with their checkbooks in their hands.
Moreover, while the liberal media outlets’ constant attacks on Trump have not made large dents in Trump’s voter base between 2016 and 2019, the two things that have made the public opinion of Trump swing away from its rather stable position are the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19.
Since March, Trump’s approval rating for his coronavirus response coordination has dropped by 11 percentage points over both Democrat and Republican demographics. Moreover, 34% of Independents say they disapprove of how Trump has handled the recent social justice protests and riots.
While Trump has been consistently outspoken in his condemnation of leftist policy, both BLM and COVID-19 are different than most political issues because they have touched the lives of almost every American citizen. The protests against police brutality that often devolve into violent riots startled many Americans, regardless of their political views. Similarly, the COVID-19 lockdowns had a negative impact on the financial stability of many Americans.
President Trump’s seemingly flippant responses to both these issues, coupled with the continual association between his presidency and global chaos that is pushed by the liberal media, creates a world in which Americans, and particularly independent voters, are much less confident in their president.
Although no one can truly know if BLM and the coronavirus will still be as relevant to the political scene in November as they are today, one thing is clear: the past few months have been a nightmare for Trump’s reelection chances. As the stock market continues to bounce back at an impressive rate, Trump appears to be recovering voters in some areas. However, it may be too little, too late for President Trump.
Quin Colhour is a sophomore studying Biology.