Even If Biden Wins, America May Still Be Crippled by Trump

Even If Biden Wins, America May Still Be Crippled by Trump
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 951 in Grand Rapids, Mich., Oct. 2, 2020 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Edward Alden is filling in for Kimberly Ann Elliott, who will return next week.

The latest opinion polls in the United States show former Vice President Joe Biden with what looks like a commanding lead over a COVID-stricken President Donald Trump, less than a month away from the presidential election on Nov. 3. If Biden can sustain that lead and win a decisive victory, the country would avoid the damage of a long and contested ballot count that would leave America even more internally divided. For much of the rest of the world, it would rekindle the hope that the U.S. might start looking something like its former self again. But that hope rests very much on an unknown: Was Trump a shocking aberration from an open, engaged and responsible America, or does he represent a more lasting set of impulses that will not disappear when he is off the stage?

There are at least two ways to view Trump’s surprising 2016 victory. He could be seen as a historic accident—a telegenic career swindler, running against a weak opponent, who brilliantly harnessed the economic and cultural grievances of a just large enough slice of the American electorate to pull off the biggest con of his life. Once entrenched in the White House, U.S. policy became an expression of Trump’s prejudices: protectionist, xenophobic and proto-authoritarian. Under this version, a U.S. free from Trump’s reality show chaos might again look something like the country many Americans, and much of the world, would recognize.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review