The British have long held elections, Indians vote in large numbers, but the most important use of democratic suffrage is when the presidential election takes place in the US. America is the richest and powerful country in the world, so there are consequences for the entire humanity. Boris Johnson’s policies barely impact outside of Europe. Narendra Modi’s policies do not matter outside of South Asia, but what the US President does or does not do can affect the entire universe. If Al Gore had won the election instead of George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, the Iraq War certainly would not have happened, and today the world would have been a safer place.
The presidential election of 2020 would have been important for the world anyway, but in view of Covid-19 it has become more important. There is no question that whether President Donald Trump’s first term has been good for America or not, it has been good for Americans but bad for the world. His withdrawal from the Paris Agreement made the threat of climate change more serious. New sanctions have further upset Iran. Middle East became more unstable. Trump’s policies exacerbated the refugee crisis. Often his shrill and racist speech about the people of Asia and Africa has given rise to an ill will that cannot do good to America or the world.
In February I was in the US and I listened to some debates by Democratic Party contenders. Senator Bernie Senders was the leading contender at the time. My American friends (who don’t like Trump) were divided on this. Some thought that only Bernie Senders could inspire Democratic voters to vote in sufficient numbers to defeat the current president because of his appeal among the white working class and youth. Some believe that because of being a solid leftist, senders will probably weaken overall.
When I moved from New York in early March, Joe Biden was also competing with Bernie Sanders. Some of my friends believe that Biden’s decency and tenacity will lure a section of white voters, while his association with former President Barack Obama may inspire African-Americans to vote in large numbers. Others believe that Biden’s age and lack of energy, his son’s deal in Ukraine, etc. will prove decisive in the Democrats’ hope of defeating Trump.
Here, the outbreak of Covid-19 and its spread in the US has raised some fresh questions. Trump was previously in denial. When the number of infected people increased dramatically, they acted. At the same time, he also made racist rhetoric, calling it the ‘Chinese virus’. Perhaps under pressure from his advisors, Trump has let China down, but has discovered a new goat in the form of the World Health Organization (WHO). He claims that the WHO underestimated the intensity of the virus infection and that is why the US did not take immediate action. However, such criticism would be called excessive for two reasons. First, Trump has always been in contempt for multilateral organizations such as WHO; He has cut US grants for these organizations and has also rejected the advice of such organizations.
The second reason, in late January, President Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro warned that the Corona virus crisis would devastate the American economy and cause many deaths. The New York Times also commented on Navarro’s advice that Trump was denying America’s risks in those days, and later went on to say that no one could predict such disastrous results. It is difficult to say whether Covid-19 has hurt Trump’s chances of being re-elected. One might think that this time of crisis will lead voters to a safe and stable Biden. Right now, Trump is calling this virus a threat from abroad. He is fueling superstition, which helped him in the 2016 election. There is also an idea that whoever is in charge during a major national crisis, citizens are with him,
If Trump’s election in 2016 was bad news for the world, his re-election would be worse. Climate change can make the challenge for humanity more dangerous. Civil war may intensify in the Middle East. US-China relations may worsen. The relationship between the US and Europe can be the same. Multilateral organizations such as WHO will find themselves further neglected.
However, the economic, social and psychological costs of the ongoing war against the virus can only be compared to two world wars. The path Covid-19 has taken will require extraordinary energy, intelligence and empathy to bring the world back on track. In this endeavor, we will need to work with major countries more than ever. The major countries will have to work together to provide a new vaccine to everyone, to restore normal routes of trade and communication, and to restore confidence in the finance system. If Donald Trump is to be elected President of the most powerful country in the world, creative cooperation between nations is unlikely given his modalities, whereas now the world desperately needs it. The US presidential election is the most important democratic activity for the world, But only American citizens can vote in it. The results of the American election have been deciding the fate and future of millions of people who are not American. In such a situation, the presidential election of 2020 is more special than all the earlier elections.


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