By Mohammad Mazhari 

Biden is the clear favorite to win the election: professor

November 1, 2020 - 11:45

TEHRAN - An American academic says that “at this point, Biden is the clear favorite to win the election,” adding the polls have been consistently showing Biden has a better chance to win the elections.

Paul Poast, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, tells the Tehran Times that unlike 2016, when “Clinton's lead over Trump in the polls was smaller and more tenuous,” Biden is leading over Trump strongly.
The following is the text of the interview: 

Q: As we are nearing the November 3 elections, chances of which candidate are higher to win the presidential votes?

A: At this point, Biden is the clear favorite to win the election.  While this does not guarantee that he will be elected, the polls have been consistently showing Biden as having a strong lead over Trump.  This is unlike 2016, while Clinton's lead over Trump in the polls was smaller and more tenuous.

Q: What are Trump's achievements that may improve his chances of reelection?

A: Trump's primary achievement is the appointment of 2, and possibly three justices to the U.S. Supreme court (I will refer to others to comment on whether these three nominees would help him in a potential legal dispute over the election).  That is a huge impact for a President in one term and will be his presidency's key legacy. With respect to foreign policy, his accomplishments are less clear.  Some positive outcomes, such as the treaty between Israel and UAE, likely would have happened with or without him in office.  Other potential accomplishments, such as trying to reset the terms of trade arrangements with China, have not to be followed with the discipline necessary to see them through.  Instead, his primary "accomplishment" has been dismantling prior policies and international commitments, from the JCPOA with Iran to the Paris Accord, without offering a plan forward or alternative.

Q: How do you assess the influence of Israeli lobbies on American policies and decision making?

A: The impact of American partners in the Middle East (West Asia) and the Persian Gulf region has been mixed. On the one hand, the U.S. acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel's capital is an obvious benefit to Israel, at least symbolically.  On the other hand, one could also say that concern over potential U.S. disengagement from the region is what is driving Israel to formalize ties with Arab states. Similarly, while the U.S. essentially turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia's role in Yemen, Saudi Arabia must also be concerned about the future of U.S. engagement in the region.

This leads to the big foreign policy challenge for whoever is president starting in January 2021: managing China's rise.  From my perspective, both Biden and Trump will continue to take a hardline towards China.  This could accelerate a "pivot" towards East Asia, away from Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.  Mind you; the U.S. can't completely abandon its commitment to those regions, as it appears that China is seeking to be a global player that also has influence in those regions.  But the primary point of tension between the U.S. and China going forward will be in East Asia and South Asia.

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