- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
US election 2020: Join local online debate on 3 November
It’s the final sprint in the Trump versus Biden clash that will shape the next four years in American politics as well as international relations around the world.
As Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic hopeful Joe Biden hit the campaign trail in hotly-contested battleground states, national and state polls are predicting a comfortable win for Biden. But with both parties not sure how far they can trust the polls, campaigners are still encouraging people to get out and vote.
Here in Belgium, local Republican and Democrat parties are getting ready to debate the key issues in a virtual US Election Night discussion on 3 November at 18.00, organised by the American Club of Brussels (ACB).
The nonprofit local association traditionally hosts the capital’s biggest election night party every four years. This year, with Covid-19 safety measures in place, it has switched to an online event.
Says the ACB’s Brian Dunhill: "No matter what your political affiliation or even if you just want to learn more about the American system, we will come together to celebrate American democracy on Tuesday, to learn more about the process, candidates and history of the United States of America."
The bipartisan event features several speakers discussing relations between the United States and Europe, debates between Democrats and Republicans, and talks on the difference between the economic and tax plans of each candidate.
Republicans Overseas chair Mike Kulbickas says the key issues are: civilization - Republicans vs mob rule Democrats/Marxists/Anarchists; the economy - historic growth (Trump) vs perpetual stagnation (Biden/Harris); peace in the Middle East - three treaties with Israel vs no progress for decades; and the return to appeasement of China vs China policy reset to recognising China as the threat that it is.”
He also sees the election as a “referendum on Trump keeping most of his promises: the return of federal bench and SCOTUS to a proper role (not a super legislature inventing new rights and rewriting laws), replacing NAFTA with a better deal, criminal justice reform, and many others.”
And who does Kulbickas predict to win the presidential race? “I think Trump will win, if not immediately, eventually because of the messy balloting.” As for his predictions for Congress, where Democrats are looking to further strengthen their hold over the House, he believes Republicans “will keep the Senate” at least.
Democrats Abroad chair Pauline Manos says the critical point about the election is for Americans abroad to vote. “There are over three million of us abroad, yet less than 10% of us cast ballots in 2016 - given how close races are, not just for President, but also for House and Senate, we certainly can make a difference.”
She pinpoints “historic crises from all sides: health, economic, racial, climate” as the critical issues. “Americans are deciding just what kind of leadership they want to deal with these challenges - the inclusive, unifying leadership of Joe Biden & Kamala Harris or the exclusive, divisive leadership of Donald Trump & Mike Pence.”
Manos also highlights the importance of voter turnout and ballot counting in the 2020 election.
“The voters are clearly enthusiastic, as we’ve seen in the record early voter turnouts across states, particularly amongst younger voters… But will the President and media be just as patient when it is unlikely that we’ll have an accurate forecast the morning after the election?”
Asked for the likely outcome of the presidential race, she says: “To the question, ‘are you optimistic about Biden’s chances?’, I will quote Stacey Abrams, who famously said, ‘I’m not pessimistic or optimistic, I am determined!’”.
As for the result, as Manos points out, the predictions are that there could be a long wait to discover whether Trump or Biden will be sworn in next January. Voting officials are warning that it could take days or weeks for the result because of the expected surge in postal ballots.
US Election Night discussion
Tuesday 3 November, 18.00-19.15
Free for ACB members; €5 non-members
Photo: iStock/Getty Images Plus © yorkfoto