US Presidential Elections

As on 13 January 2020, there are still 12 candidates in the fray. Which Presidential candidate is best positioned to beat President Donald Trump?

Impeachment Proceedings

Later this week, the US Senate is likely to commence the historic trial of President Donald Trump. It will be just the third time that a US President will face the potential removal from office, following impeachment by the House. There are two articles of impeachment; the first, abuse of power and the second, obstruction of Congress. The abuse of power relates to President Trump threatening to withhold US aid to Ukraine, allegedly to pressurize the Ukrainian President, to order an investigation, into the affairs of Joe Biden, potential US Presidential challenger and his son Hunter Biden. The obstruction of Congress relates to President Trump’s open defiance and non-cooperation with the Congressional investigation, in support of the impeachment proceedings.

The articles of impeachment now head to the US Senate, where the 100 senators of the Upper House, will have to vote; either, to convict the President and remove him from office or, otherwise. A two-thirds majority of senators’ present will have to vote in favour, for the impeachment to proceed. The hearings are estimated to take between three to five weeks, to complete.

According to the Washington Post, while 11 senators are currently in favour of impeachment, 38 senators (all Republicans) are currently opposed. The remaining 51 (including 15 Republicans) haven’t publicly stated their position, as yet.

Assessment: Regardless of what happens in the Senate, President Donald Trump will be damaged by the impeachment process. On the one hand, he could be acquitted; in which case, critics would still label him as, ‘impeached but acquitted, without a fair trial; or, politically protected and above the law’. On the other hand, he could also be removed from office, and it would be the first time for a President, in American history. 

Democratic Party Primary Polls

Unlike in 2015-16, this time the Democratic Party Primary Polls, have fielded a diverse and talented field of candidates. As on 13 January 2020, there are still 12 candidates in the fray. However, at this juncture, there appear to be four clear front runners; namely Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. Joe Biden (77), was the former Vice President of the US, for eight years, under President Barrack Obama. Elizabeth Warren (70), is the senior Senator from Massachusetts and a former law school professor, specializing in bankruptcy law. Bernie Sanders (78), is the senator from Vermont; the longest-serving independent in the history of Congress, he ran in the Democratic Primary in 2016, before signing off and endorsing Hillary Clinton. Pete Buttigieg (37), is the former mayor of Indiana; a former Naval officer, who has seen service in Afghanistan and is a graduate from Harvard and Oxford, where he was a Rhode scholar.

AssessmentAll the four Democratic Party candidates are individually formidable; recognized for their contributions in public life, educated with academic excellence and articulate in the expression of public policy. The Democratic Party Primary can be expected to be characterized by the high calibre of debate and discussion.

The first event of the Democratic Party Primary will be the Iowa Caucus, on 03 February; followed by the New Hampshire primary, on 11 February. Majority of the caucuses and primaries shall be completed by 03 March 2020. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled from 13 to 16 July 2020, where the Democratic Party Presidential candidate will be formally announced. 

The Republican National Convention is scheduled from 24 to 28 August 2020, where President Donald Trump is expected to be endorsed if he survives the impeachment proceedings. The US General Election is scheduled on 03 November 2020, and the inauguration of the new President will take place on 20 January 2021.

What Happened in the US Presidential Election, 2016?

In 2016, paradoxically, though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of more than 2.87 million votes, Donald Trump won 304 electoral college votes, to Hillary’s 227. The defeat of Hillary Clinton, in 2016, was a low point for the Democratic Party. Opinion polls, without exception, had granted her an easy victory and her ultimate defeat had discredited both American journalism and the Democratic Party itself. 

Even though there were accusations of foreign interference to discredit Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party itself was not above board. In 2016, on the eve of the Democratic Party National Convention, the chair of the DNC (Democratic National Committee) Debbie Wasserman Schultz, announced her resignation. It was later revealed that she had been forced to step down, after a leak of internal DNC e-mails, showed DNC officials actively favouring Hillary Clinton and plotting against her Democratic Party rival, Bernie Sanders. 

Assessments

  • The 2016 US Presidential election was contested mainly on domestic issues; such as the state of the US economy, national health care, illegal immigration, nationalism (American Pride) and taxes. These are issues, where Democrats and Republicans continue to have established and divergent views; and perhaps, the American public favoured the change, after two terms of the Obama Presidency. Hopefully, this time the US Presidential elections will also discuss substantial global issues, which affect mankind as a whole; such as, restoring the effectiveness of global institutions (UN, IMF, WTO), making peace & détente in the Middle East, addressing climate change and reviving the global economy.

  • In comparison to 2016, this time, the Democratic Party appears to have got their act together. From the calibre of candidates in the fray, the DNC has evidently conducted the primary with both, professionalism and impartiality. So far, it appears the Democratic Party are on the way to provide a worthy contender for the office of President. 

  • Are failures still the stepping stones for success? May the best candidate win! 

 Image Courtesy: news.sky.com

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