Iranians are taking a great interest in November’s US Presidential election.
Last week, I was interviewed by the Iran Students Correspondents Association about the state of the contest amid unprecedented economic and social conditions in America, and the differences between a Biden Administration and a Trump Administration.
President Donald Trump benefited from the mechanism of the Electoral College to win the 2016 race. Will he again have the same advantage in 2020? What would be his chance this coming November if the election was held with direct voting and without the mechanism of the Electoral College?
Trump would be in even more trouble if the President was elected by direct vote, rather than through the Electoral College. (In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about 3 million ballots, but Trump’s narrow win in key states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin put him in the White House.
However, the combination of the Coronavirus death toll, the economic downturn and the issues raised by Black Lives Matter marches have changed the political atmosphere in 2020.
Will US foreign policy take a U-turn in its direction, if [Democratic nominee] Joe Biden wins the election in November?
US foreign policy will be significantly different if Joe Biden is President, not in policy but in execution. Currently, there are two foreign policies: that of US institutions and system, and that of a Trump driven almost solely by his ego. Biden’s pragmatic approach, and his decades of experience, returns US policy to its position in 2017 [at the end of the Obama Administration].
Q: What will be US’ China policy to contain the rise of China, if Trump wins re-election? What if Biden wins?
A: Biden’s foreign policy include a pragmatic approach to China, akin to the “competitive cooperation” before Trump came into office.
A Biden Presidency will look to mutual economic benefit, rather than trade war. However, it will also have to decide whether to engage the issues of internal repression and crackdown, from more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in China’s re-education camps to the security state imposed in Hong Kong.
Q: Will Biden end US support for Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen if he wins? What will he do to address the issue of Palestine?
A: Under Biden, the US emphasis on Yemen will shift towards an effort to de-escalate and end the civil war with all external actors — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran among them — encouraged to step back from the conflict.
On Palestine, there will be a shift back from Trump’s all-out pro-Israel stance, though a restart of negotiations will not be possible under the current Israeli domestic situation.
Q: Will immigrants suffer more, if Trump wins re-election?
A: On US domestic issues, Biden will end the harsh anti-immigration approach of Trump and his advisors like Stephen Miller. There will be an attempt to establish a durable immigration system balancing citizenship for young Dreamer immigrants, a humanitarian approach to new migrants, and a sensible border security.
Q: Why is Trump against ban on assault weapons? Does it have to do anything with his election campaign supporters? What do you think about his campaign finance?
A: If there is a Biden Administration, it might be possible, after decades, for the US Government to finally approach the issue of gun control — although this will depend on how large a majority Democrats can claim in both houses of Congress.