U.S. election still unpredictable
The author is the Washington bureau chiefof the JoongAng Ilbo.
What would it feel like to stand at the edge of Niagara Falls and jump off? To this scary question, my neighbors half-jokingly responded and shared their answers. Pamela, who is in her 60s, said it would be fun if she could fly. Jacob, in his 30s, said it would be scary but fun. Anyone could have imagined such scenarios in their heads.
American documentary filmmaker Michael Moore made predictions four years ago about the U.S. presidential election. One that turned out to be true was his prediction that hundreds of votes would be cast in support of Donald Trump. In 1998, former pro-wrestler Jesse Ventura won a gubernatorial election in Minnesota, one of the smartest states in the country, because voters made an unreasonable and irrational decision. Moore explained that this was a Trump version of the so-called Jesse Ventura effect.
Moore’s recent interview with MSNBC reminded me of an interesting theory. On election predictions, Moore said, “Don’t underestimate Trump’s ‘evil genius,’” proceeding to make a rather absurd warning, “Listen, Trump has got a number of tricks up his sleeve to suppress the vote, to try to postpone the election.”
Coincidentally after a week, Trump mentioned postponing the election, only to retract it after nine hours. A day later, he stirred the social media market by announcing a plan to ban the Chinese video sharing app, TikTok. He made his supporters excited by saying that Covid-19 vaccines may be available before the election. A one-man show is airing every day on television.
But former Vice President Joe Biden is nowhere to be seen. As if he were being careful not to ruin his chances, he remains a hermit. While he has recovered some spotlight after naming Kamala Harris, a California senator, as his running mate, there is no sign of him getting out of his basement bunker. Sixty-seven percent of Biden supporters said they are voting for Biden not because they like him but because they don’t like Trump. The Trump versus anti-Trump structure is firmly established.
According to 10 recent nationwide polls, Biden is surpassing Trump by an average of 8 percent. However, funding is headed to Trump’s camp. Last month, he raised $165 million, surpassing the Biden camp by $25 million. The Trump camp publicizes that the money came from quiet majority donors.
Tourists on the U.S. side of the Niagara Falls are rapidly rising. Hotel occupancy increased by 58 percent in a month, and website traffic increased by 138 percent. Where are the minds of the voters with wild imaginations headed? The U.S. presidential election is still unpredictable.