Resorting to American Carnage
The author is a Washington correspondentof the JoongAng Ilbo.
With four months left until the U.S. Presidential election on November 3, I asked people in Washington about their prospects. Most of them refrained from sharing their views.
But indicators show that incumbent President Donald Trump is likely to lose, with opinion polls predicting his defeat. According to Real Clear Politics’ analysis of seven polls conducted from June 22 to 30, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden received a 49.6 percent rating, 8.7 percent ahead of Trump’s 40.9 percent. In two polls conducted by Monmouth University and USA Today, Biden was surpassing Trump by 12 percent — Biden with 53 percent and Trump 41 percent.
Covid-19 is an important factor. The Trump administration praised an economic boom as his biggest accomplishment, but the epidemic made it look shabby. Since March, 48.4 million U.S. citizens claimed unemployment benefits. Some returned to work, but tens of millions of people are still worried about feeding their families. The meal distribution centers still have long lines. Hungry voters are not likely to vote for the current administration.
While conditions are unfavorable for Trump, experts cannot say for sure that he will lose. Trump has history of defeating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, although he was weak in the polls. While Trump lost when looking at the total number of votes, he won more electoral votes. While some experts make predictions, most practice wishful thinking.
There are two obstacles for Trump’s reelection: a second wave of Covid-19 and growing protests on racial discrimination. Trump thinks he knows how to win. He took out the familiar weapon he had used in 2016 — American carnage.
He rallied supporters by claiming that foreign looters committed carnage by taking away jobs from Americans, committing crimes, urging businesses to relocate abroad and engaging U.S. forces in wars faraway. The trade war with China, walls on the Mexican border and withdrawal of U.S. forces stationed abroad all originate from this idea.
Now, Trump has added his opponents to the groups committing carnage. Denouncing the “radical left” in his Independence Day speech, he said, “We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statutes, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample our freedoms.”
The fate of the world depends on whether his tunes turn out to be a bygone song or a hit cover that becomes more popular than the original version.