The Focus: 2020 U.S. Presidential Election
Martin Chevreau
16 Sep

What is at stake? Derivative, using a texture and a check mark.

It could be argued that the world had been losing interest in U.S. politics. But, as Barack Obama’s administration gave way to Donald Trump, and the transactional ‘America First’ ideology he represents, the world looked to the United States again.

Could such a leader reignite wars in the Middle East? Start a new Cold War with China? Threaten the healthcare system that millions of Americans depend on? The answer, with the benefit of hindsight, is yes.

But questions like these are immeasurably complex. Between the electoral college, swing states and caucuses, there’s already enough jargon in U.S. politics to discourage many people from engaging with it.

So, let’s take a step back and break down the two most important questions: what is at stake in the 2020 presidential election? And what could it mean for the rest of the world?

Fire burns though a forest in Eastern Oregon. 22 August, 2020. Image by The National Guard, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Get The Locus sent straight to your inbox
Thanks for subscribing to The Locus!
Something went wrong. Sorry about that.

Climate change

Scientists have consistently echoed a key fact over the last few decades: climate change is a global phenomenon that knows no boundaries; something the incumbent president is keen to set aside in order to pursue economic growth.

Last year, almost two-thirds of the United States’ energy sources for electricity generation came from fossil fuels - a trend not aided by the ‘fracking boom’ or the billionaires in the energy sector making contributions to the Trump campaign.

According to the Atlantic Council, a re-election scenario would see the further deregulation of energy development as part of the U.S. trade agenda. Undoing many of Obama’s climate initiatives has been a common activity of the Trump administration.

Given the nature of climate disasters, this will likely reinforce current trends of droughts in drier parts of the world (such as Australia and California) and flooding on certain islands (the U.K. and Kiribati, among others). The same report predicts that a Biden presidency would see the U.S. return to the Paris Agreement, and adhere to an appropriate climate strategy.

Without such a plan, Dan Shreve, Wood Mackenzie Research Director, says the U.S. will “forfeit four more years in the fight against climate change”.

Lunch in the White House. 2 October, 2019. Image by Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Ian Franks is the managing editor of 50 Shades of Sun.

Science and democracy

Forget white coats and laboratories. Here, science is the scientific method – the process – conducive to making rational decisions within government.

Certain institutions have been put in place to support this process, yet the Trump administration dismissed some of these institutions even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

This is not only true on the national level, but also internationally, such as the president’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO), an organisation that cherishes the promotion of research to achieve healthy standards of living. As the WHO’s most important contributor financially, the Unites States’ decision to halt funding symbolises a major step back in science as a core element of governance and foreign policy. 

Cooperation is only as strong as its weakest link. If the U.S. continues its battle against institutions, this could have an impact on the balance of power the country has fought for since its conception.

Doing so on an international level could unwind the ties that nations have created since the end of the Second World War.

A Juneteenth display in Plainfield, Illinois. 18 June, 2020. Image By Roman K, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Racial justice

The prevailing systemic racism in the United States prevents a fully-fledged democracy. It has become the subject of worldwide attention and fierce protests in recent months, due to the murder of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake.

In response to the unrest, President Trump has consistently used Twitter to support sending in the national guard, as well as Tweeting “LAW & ORDER” several times.

Though the president visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake was shot seven times, he was expressly asked not to by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who feared that Trump could worsen the situation.

In a letter, Mr Evers wrote: “I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”

The truth is that these issues - and all of the issues at play in the 2020 election - go hand-in-hand. One cannot be solved without addressing the others.

Democracy can only be attained with science, the rule of law, and social and racial justice at its centre, among other values.

This year’s election doesn’t just determine the next presidency of the United States - it sets the tone for the future of the country and, by extension, the world.

OPINION
The Focus: 2020 U.S. Presidential Election
Martin Chevreau
16 Sep

What is at stake? Derivative, using a texture and a check mark.

It could be argued that the world had been losing interest in U.S. politics. But, as Barack Obama’s administration gave way to Donald Trump, and the transactional ‘America First’ ideology he represents, the world looked to the United States again.

Could such a leader reignite wars in the Middle East? Start a new Cold War with China? Threaten the healthcare system that millions of Americans depend on? The answer, with the benefit of hindsight, is yes.

But questions like these are immeasurably complex. Between the electoral college, swing states and caucuses, there’s already enough jargon in U.S. politics to discourage many people from engaging with it.

So, let’s take a step back and break down the two most important questions: what is at stake in the 2020 presidential election? And what could it mean for the rest of the world?

Fire burns though a forest in Eastern Oregon. 22 August, 2020. Image by The National Guard, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Get The Locus sent straight to your inbox
Thanks for subscribing to The Locus!
Something went wrong. Sorry about that.

Climate change

Scientists have consistently echoed a key fact over the last few decades: climate change is a global phenomenon that knows no boundaries; something the incumbent president is keen to set aside in order to pursue economic growth.

Last year, almost two-thirds of the United States’ energy sources for electricity generation came from fossil fuels - a trend not aided by the ‘fracking boom’ or the billionaires in the energy sector making contributions to the Trump campaign.

According to the Atlantic Council, a re-election scenario would see the further deregulation of energy development as part of the U.S. trade agenda. Undoing many of Obama’s climate initiatives has been a common activity of the Trump administration.

Given the nature of climate disasters, this will likely reinforce current trends of droughts in drier parts of the world (such as Australia and California) and flooding on certain islands (the U.K. and Kiribati, among others). The same report predicts that a Biden presidency would see the U.S. return to the Paris Agreement, and adhere to an appropriate climate strategy.

Without such a plan, Dan Shreve, Wood Mackenzie Research Director, says the U.S. will “forfeit four more years in the fight against climate change”.

Lunch in the White House. 2 October, 2019. Image by Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Ian Franks is the managing editor of 50 Shades of Sun.

Science and democracy

Forget white coats and laboratories. Here, science is the scientific method – the process – conducive to making rational decisions within government.

Certain institutions have been put in place to support this process, yet the Trump administration dismissed some of these institutions even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

This is not only true on the national level, but also internationally, such as the president’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO), an organisation that cherishes the promotion of research to achieve healthy standards of living. As the WHO’s most important contributor financially, the Unites States’ decision to halt funding symbolises a major step back in science as a core element of governance and foreign policy. 

Cooperation is only as strong as its weakest link. If the U.S. continues its battle against institutions, this could have an impact on the balance of power the country has fought for since its conception.

Doing so on an international level could unwind the ties that nations have created since the end of the Second World War.

A Juneteenth display in Plainfield, Illinois. 18 June, 2020. Image By Roman K, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Racial justice

The prevailing systemic racism in the United States prevents a fully-fledged democracy. It has become the subject of worldwide attention and fierce protests in recent months, due to the murder of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake.

In response to the unrest, President Trump has consistently used Twitter to support sending in the national guard, as well as Tweeting “LAW & ORDER” several times.

Though the president visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake was shot seven times, he was expressly asked not to by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who feared that Trump could worsen the situation.

In a letter, Mr Evers wrote: “I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”

The truth is that these issues - and all of the issues at play in the 2020 election - go hand-in-hand. One cannot be solved without addressing the others.

Democracy can only be attained with science, the rule of law, and social and racial justice at its centre, among other values.

This year’s election doesn’t just determine the next presidency of the United States - it sets the tone for the future of the country and, by extension, the world.

Independent journalism isn't easy to find.

Journalism isn't cheap. To stay afloat, many sources rely on individuals for funding - but funding comes with a cost. If you go private, you may be influenced by certain special interests. If you go public, you're at the mercy of your readers and their interests.

The Locus doesn't rely on funding at all. Our web presence is provided for free, and the majority of our reporting and campaigning is done without cost. Wherever a small amount of money is needed, it's provided by The Locus team.

This means we're able to offer truly independent journalism. Our voice is our voice, so you can trust what you read. We're proud of that.

If you appreciate the work we do, please support us by spreading the message.