The US Election: What Lies Ahead


On November 3, America is going to make a decision that will have huge implications for the rest of the world. Every election cycle feels significant but this time around there seems to be so much more at stake. 

Whether you’ve been hooked on The Comey Rule or you’re still uncertain just who Joe Biden is, let us walk you through just what lies ahead in the run-up to election day.

The 2020 Election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3. This time around however, things are going to be pretty different. Mail-in ballots are expected to play a big role this year as voters look to stay away from crowded in-person polling stations. Campaign rallies and primaries have been cut back in many cases to digital affairs, leaving media and publicity people without the cheering crowds one might expect in the run up to the election. Over the next 30 days as we count down to election night, here’s what’s to come.

Foreign interference

In the 2016 election the FBI detected a determined and coordinated campaign of influence on social media and elsewhere designed to support the election of Donald Trump. Whether or not this campaign operated in collusion with the Trump campaign is unclear, though the two-year long investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller indicted several of Trump’s officials and close allies.

This time around, the same Russian-based Internet Research Agency has been at it again, setting up fake accounts across social media to sow confusion and back the re-election of Donald Trump. In a statement to the House of Representatives’ homeland security committee, current FBI director Christopher Wray, warned that there has been “very active efforts by Russians” to interfere in the upcoming election by attacking Joe Biden and supporting Trump’s unevidenced claims that the election will be rigged.

Mail-in voting issues

Speaking of rigged, Trump has made a concerted effort over the past few months to undermine the process through which many people are going to be casting their ballots this year. He has tweeted frequently about his beliefs that mail-in ballots are inherently fraudulent which many believe is insurance against having to accept the results of the election if it does not go his way.

Aside from the issues Trump is causing by rejecting the concept of mail-in voting, there are also practical issues with the plan as well. A month or so ago, the hashtags #SaveUSPS and #SaveOurPostOffice were doing the rounds as it was revealed that the new, Trump-supporting head of the US Postal Service had been systematically undermining the mail in voting system by decommissioning mail-sorting machines and restructuring the organisation to create chaos and possibly delay or block mail-in voting.

Nevertheless, the amount of mail USPS is predicted to carry during the election is still far smaller than what it takes at Christmas, so capacity is unlikely to be an issue. Still, we expect there to be a lot of problems with the practice as each state has different requirements for mail-in ballots, not all of which are as simple and straightforward as you might expect.

Ruth Bader-Ginsburg

The Notorious RBG, as she was fondly known by her supporters, was a Supreme Court Justice – only the second female to serve in the role – idolised as a champion of equality and the rights of women. She passed away on September 18th, just 46 days before the election.

Why does this matter? Well, Supreme Court Justice is not a position you can retire from; they serve for life. There are nine in total, representing the highest level of legal authority in the country. Each of them, of course, have their own political leanings and each time one of them dies, the current president fills that position with someone they believe will be supportive of the kinds of policies and legislations that they would like to see enacted after their term. It has a seriously long impact on US politics.

When Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2018, Obama was quick to appoint Merrick Garland to fill the position. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel attempted to block the appointment, saying that, with 18 months to go before the election, it would be inappropriate for Obama to name the next justice. He made no such claims when Donald Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett to fill Justice Bader-Ginsberg’s seat, against her final wishes.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin confirmation hearings on Barrett’s nomination on the 12th of October.

Four debates

Finally, there are four televised debates to get through before the election. The first of these happened last Wednesday in which Trump and Biden went at each other in front of a socially-distanced, mask-wearing audience. The pair traded insults back and forth for an hour and a half in what was an almost unwatchable verbal boxing match.

Next week, October the 8th, there will be a face off between Vice-Presidential candidates, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. The following week will see a ‘town hall’ style debate between Trump and Biden in which the audience will be able to grill each candidate on topics they would like them to answer.

There will be one final debate on the 22nd of October which will see Trump and Biden go head-to-head one last time before the election nearly two weeks later.

Anything could happen in these debates and it was Trump’s brash, confrontational approach in the televised debates of 2016 that brought him much attention and support. Although the election looks like it’s skewing Biden, it’s still all to play for.