With the presidential elections on Tuesday, the United States submits to a plebiscite the wave of populism that has shaken politics on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years. The opening of the first polling stations on the east coast of the country marks the start of a key day inside and outside the United States.
A resounding defeat of Donald Trump would represent a repudiation of the nationalist and divisive turn that the country has experienced, in the same way that his re-election would cause a commotion in half the world.
His Democratic rival and favorite in the polls, Joe Biden, embodies a traditional and moderate politician, an exemplary veteran of that Washington establishment that, with its glories and miseries, many long.
Americans choose more than their leader for the next four years, they choose the person with whom to emerge from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1929 ; the worst pandemic in a century and, also, they must overcome a wave of racial tensions that have not lived since the death of Martin Luther King.
By the time the polling stations open this Tuesday, almost 100 million of them will have already voted in advance, a record that points to a large turnout and shows that general conviction that, in effect, this country of 330 million inhabitants, the size of a continent and the economy of a giant, the future of several generations is at stake.
Male, white and older. Trump, 74, and Biden, 77; they are antagonistic in everything else. The current president perceived the satiety of the impoverished white working class, fearful of immigration, and won the elections with the promise of an industrial renaissance, under the premise that a businessman would know how to run the country better than the political class.
The rise of populism did not begin on November 8, 2016. By then, France had already seen the rise of a new lepenism and the United Kingdom had voted in favor of Brexit Trumps victory however acted as an amplifier enlightened a group of imitators and converted peripheral characters like Steve Bannonin ultraconservative stars in Europe
Now, populism has suffered setbacks in countries like the United Kingdom, where support for Brexit is waning; or in Germany, with a slowdown from the extreme right . The United States offers a great new test of resistance to populist movements. If these grow before the erosion of power, how do they navigate their own erosion when they become a government apparatus?
Trump himself has raised the election as a plebiscite on his person and his leadership. The Republican Party has not even bothered to approve a new platform, a kind of principles and promises that are equivalent to the European electoral programs that the parties deliberate at their summer convention when they vote for their presidential candidates. For the first time, Abraham Lincoln’s Grand Old Party announced that it was simply “enthusiastically endorsing” the president’s agenda.
The pandemic has taken from the tycoon one of his great electoral assets, an economy that was going from strength to strength, with the lowest unemployment level in half a century and the longest expansionary cycle in history.
The health crisis has also shown the most erratic version of Trump, determined to play the role of anti-system from the heart of the system , declaring war on the prevention guidelines of his own Government. The national polling average puts him six and a half points behind Biden, according to the polling website Real Clear Politics, a wide gap, but one that has narrowed in recent days.