Biden Has Won 1 Battle against Trump, but He May Lose the War

After the debate, Biden has a slight advantage over Trump, but it still does not guarantee him 100% victory.

The final debate between the two U.S. presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, turned out to be surprisingly calm and more inclusive than those which preceded it.

First, both candidates behaved in a more restrained and polite manner. Second, the fact that each candidate was muted during his opponent’s answer facilitated the debate and helped them discuss many issues on the agenda.

In terms of content, neither candidate said anything new. In general, they reiterated the arguments they voiced last time. The only difference was that during the first debate, the candidates shouted at and insulted each other, while this time, they were able to formulate their arguments more clearly.

As before, Trump accused Biden of political corruption and of his son’s involvement in questionable activities around the world, while Biden accused his opponent of abuse of power, of bringing the country to an economic crisis, and of exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite what Republican critics have written about Biden — saying that he could lose the battle of rhetoric in this debate — it wasn’t the case. Biden appeared more confident and dignified than Trump.

At the same time, Trump’s position is much stronger now than in 2016, because his first term has reinforced his rhetoric.

The incumbent president knows how to debate, but his problem is that during his term, he has not evolved in his approach and has repeated his arguments about making America great again, about being a president under siege and surrounded by enemies.

Trump’s rhetoric has intensified and become even more divisive and provocative. In particular, his war with the radical left has become a central theme of his narrative. And because it does not offer any alternative and severely divides society, many Americans perceive this election as dangerous.

According to the polls, 53% of Americans believe that Biden won this debate. At the same time, polls have not significantly changed in October, leaving the impression that Biden has a 5%-10% advantage over Trump, which is not that much. Many factors will play an important role on Election Day, therefore, it is premature to talk about Biden’s victory. First of all, the total number of American voters who will vote is one of these factors.

Highly engaged Republican and Democratic voters will not change and will go to the polls to vote. The bottom line now is that the winner will be the one who manages to mobilize more voters. If Democrats can mobilize African Americans and young people who constitute the low-voting groups of their electorate, and who have always been difficult to motivate, it will be a key factor in whether or not they win. Neither Bernie Sanders, when he sought the Democratic nomination for president, nor Hillary Clinton succeeded in doing that. And Biden’s victory will depend on it.

In any case, we should expect a tense election as intrigue still swirls, the gap between the candidates remains small, and society stays highly polarized amid the second wave of COVID-19, economic crisis and many discussions about whether Trump will concede power if he loses.

The author, Elijah Kusa, is an expert on international policy and the Middle East at the Ukrainian Institute of the Future.

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