American academic believes Trump’s ‘law and order’ campaign won’t work

July 29, 2020 - 21:50

TEHRAN - Americans are concerned about the upcoming presidential elections in their own country. The reason for the worry is that Donald Trump may try to push the U.S. into an abyss if he becomes certain that his defeat in the November election is definite.

The Americans' fear is due to their knowledge of his narcissistic personality. 

 It seems that Trump is preparing to refuse the results if he doesn't win, describing his possible loss as a conspiracy orchestrated against him. In such a scenario, he is supposed to confront the conspiracy, reveal those behind it, and fight to the last breath, even if he pushed America into chaos.

In this regard, Anthony Pahnke the assistant professor of international relations at San Francisco State University tells the Tehran Times "right now, it seems that Trump is trying to mobilize people around a 'law and order' message in response to the ongoing protests against police brutality and racism."  

While polls suggest that Joe Biden now leads in three key states that Trump won in 2016, Pahnke says "there is still the chance that Trump could win in November". He adds, "Yet, it is not apparent that Trump's message is working."

On Biden's uncharismatic personality and its impact on his chance of election, Pahnke argues it is hard to say that charisma alone makes Biden look weak. 

"Right now, he is riding a general 'anti-Trump' sentiment.  If the election were today, people would vote more for Biden because they don't like Trump instead of supporting Biden."

Regarding the stances of leftist figures like Bernie Sanders who fail to rise to echelons of power in American political structure, the American academic says that the failure of Sanders can be attributed to a lot of things. He says, "He did get major issues onto the political agenda, such as Medicare for all, that could be seen as a victory."
That he failed to become the Democrats’ nominee "could be attributed to his campaign failing to make real inroads with the African American voters in the south,” the professor maintains.

Pointing to failures by Klobuchar and Buttigieg to get young people to vote in the primaries, Pahnke says those two candidates decided to end their campaigns and support Biden.

Asked about rumors of possible election fraud in the November election, the American professor says, "I don't see fraud as an issue. It hasn't been in the past and most likely won't be this time."

According to the Washington Post, Biden on Thursday night warned donors that "President Trump will try to 'indirectly steal' the 2020 election by making a case against mail-in ballots, a voting method that many are expected to use to avoid exposure to the novel coronavirus during November's election." 

However, Pahnke says, “If there is any problem with the elections, then it will be where states don't make it possible for people to vote by mail, which may depress turnout.” 

According to Pahnke, the law stipulates if election fraud is proven states have different rules.

"For instance, some places require I.D., others allow felons to vote, while other states do not," he explains.
He maintains that "minimally, citizens who are over 18 can vote, while fraud cases are rare. There are cases where the same person votes twice or where people who should register do, in fact, register." 

While American history shows that most cases of fraud have been committed by major political parties through vote-buying, the biggest concern in terms of maintaining the integrity of the voting process will be in ensuring vote by mail, which works in many states and has been in existence since the Civil War, and local politicians moving or closing polling places.
About the impact of COVID-19 on electoral competition and how the candidates try to exploit it, the American analyst tells the Tehran Times, "This is hard to say, mainly because Biden is taking advantage of Trump's failed response to the virus.  That Biden is doing so well, in this regard, is more due to luck than strategy."

He adds, "Trump may try to downplay the virus, and this may help him because it appears that more of his supporters also downplay the virus." 

Commenting on possible Russia or China’s attempts to meddle in the presidential election, Pahnke refers to reports that suggest Russia’s attempts to influence people.

“Reports and studies show that Russia in particular attempts to influence people, principally via social media. But that these countries coordinate efforts through funding candidates, or placing actual ads in the media, is not happening,” he further says. 
"Alternatively, China targeted U.S. agricultural products, such as soy, limiting their purchases, which is a very clear attempt to hurt Trump's electoral base in the Midwestern United States," he says. 
"Still, at the end of the day, Americans will evaluate information from where they get it and then vote; however, they choose," the American academic concludes.

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