What happens if Donald Trump wins? Here's why both political parties might face massive challenges
With the electoral college voting system in place, the incumbent could replicate his 2016 show despite getting less popular votes
The D-Day has finally arrived. President Donald Trump, who symbolized the radical shift that happened in America’s socio-political life by winning the presidential election in 2016, is facing his re-election bid at a time when the country could not have been more polarized. Trump is being challenged by former vice president Joe Biden, who himself is also not above suspicion.
Even though it is an election when an incumbent is seeking a second term, it is less similar to elections in the recent past. The last time an incumbent lost his re-election bid in the US was in 1992 when George H W Bush lost to a refreshing Bill Clinton. Three presidents thereafter have won two terms. But in the case of Trump, the conclusion looks less likely to be confirmed as of now.
Trump’s supporters would have been much more convinced had there not been a coronavirus pandemic which has wreaked havoc in the US. Till the time of the outbreak, the economy was doing great to secure a win for the mercurial businessman-politician. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, looked to be in all sorts of trouble at that point of time till it gave up ego problems momentarily to back Biden.
Post the pandemic and the economic fallout coupled with the Trump administration’s controversial response to the public health crisis, the former vice president’s prospects improved even as his infamous gaffes continued. The race riots across the US in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and other individuals of color also bolstered the mood against Trump.
Yet, politics remains an uncertain territory and it will be foolish to write Trump off before the final results come out. Going by several media takes and surveys, it might appear that the president is prepared for a setback. But psephologists have not always assessed the voters' pulse perfectly and with the electoral college voting system in place, the incumbent could replicate his 2016 show despite getting less popular votes.
Now, what if Trump pockets a second term? Will the sky come down crashing on the US?
Trump will have to win key states just like 2016
First and foremost, Trump will have to win key states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin — the way he did in 2016. It will not be a cakewalk for him to replicate it this time owing to several factors that have seen Biden leading him in those states in the run-up to the polls. One thing that would encourage Trump’s camp is that he was written off in these battleground states four years ago as well but he proved everyone wrong.
GOP will not be too relaxed
If Trump wins the key states handsomely and goes on to extend his stay at the White House, the Republican Party will be a less-than-assured political organization. The GOP has found itself under enough risk already by blindly backing the president and his whims and top leaders like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham have already faced challenges.
A number of Republican leaders -- both past and present -- have either distanced themselves from Trump or even gone on to endorse Biden for the presidency, giving clear signs that the party is less united on Trump and his politics. The president did overwhelm the party four years ago but now, the GOP has found itself torn between the populism called Trumpism and the need to reinvent itself on lines of conservative ideology and policies.
The GOP, which backed the president in the Senate during his impeachment trial, is worried over maintaining its control in the Senate. If that majority is lost, Trump will be held responsible by a number of quarters.
Antifa backlash is certainty
If Trump wins big, the social repercussions will be big as well. The race riots over the recent months have already laid out the foundation of what is coming and with Trump and his aides escalating attacks on Antifa and the radical Left, it is not unlikely that the backlash will be extreme if the Republican president secures a second term. Streets could turn chaotic again and Trump in his second term could care even less for his opponents — ideological and political — and pulverize them with disdain. A bitter confrontation is likely to materialize between the ideological adversaries.
Democrats will be in trouble
Finally, a Trump win would also give the Democrats a big setback. The party is even at risk of experiencing an adverse impact if Biden wins because the supporters of progressive leaders like Bernie Sanders have only made a temporary truce. If Biden loses, they will attack him even more saying he clearly failed to unify the party. The pre-pandemic doldrums in the Democratic Party would widen up, putting it under tremendous pressure that could push it to the point of implosion.
Biden is only a candidate over which several people have compromised just because they want to see Trump exit the White House but if that mission fails, the daggers will be out soon to the incumbent’s pleasure.