The 2020 US presidential election has seen another twist in the tale, with the news that President Donald Trump and his wife, and First Lady, Melania, tested positive for coronavirus. It’s provided a whole new dimension to an election campaign that was already fiercely challenged and full of talking points. Both Biden and Trump had recently contested the first televised presidential debate, and with another two still scheduled, it’s unclear whether the first of these will be able to take place given the fact that Trump must self-isolate.
Both the President and his wife are said to be recovering well, although the President was treated in hospital for a time, but the whole situation puts Biden in an interesting position. You can see how this news could help his cause in terms of garnering support, but there is also a sense that it could have a negative impact on his chances in the US Presidential election odds.
For many of those who oppose Trump, the fact that the President has contracted the virus will be seen as the natural result of his refusal to take the coronavirus pandemic as seriously as they feel he should. Trump has very much been of the mind to reopen the economy as fast as possible, to play down the significance of the pandemic, and indeed, he and his advisers and aides are said to have been lax in their adherence to social distancing measures. It’s reported that Trump likely caught the virus from one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, who displayed symptoms on board Air Force One when returning from the presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio. There have since been numerous outbreaks among White House staff.
All this could benefit Biden in the sense that many voters, who were perhaps leaning towards Trump’s point of view regarding the virus, could be swayed towards Biden by the fact that the President has caught it himself. This may prove especially true as a result of the President reportedly requiring oxygen at one stage.
But then, there is the moral dilemma which Biden will undoubtedly be wrestling with at this time. With Trump unable to campaign due to the fact that he is adhering to the self-isolation guidelines regarding the coronavirus, is it right for Biden to continue to campaign, and make gains while Trump is following the letter of the law?
The election campaign thus far has been bitterly contested, with both candidates exchanging verbals in the recent debate, and in the media before that. It will be interesting to see how Biden responds to the current situation, and what stance he will take. You would think that as long as Trump is well, and not suffering greatly with symptoms, then there’s no reason why Biden can’t carry on and press home his advantage.
Biden is already in a strong position heading towards the election, with polls showing he has a solid lead over Trump. But that was the same for Hillary Clinton four years ago, and Biden will be wary of those figures not doing justice to the reality of how the election will go. No matter what transpires over the next few weeks, it’s sure to be an exciting run-in to Election Day.