Can COVID-19 Prevent Trump’s Reelection

Hannah Thompson, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 outbreak has and will continue to deeply alter the state of the 2020 presidential election.  But is the pandemic a threat to President Donald Trump’s re-election chances?

I think so.           

The virus has upended his core running pitch that America is doing better than when he took office and that he is fulfilling his claim to “make America great again.” While I have never understood what “America” of the past was so great, I do know we are certainly not living in any naively utopic state at the moment.

In fact, the country is currently in quite the opposite state. And as the economy drops, so are his election chances.

With orders for Americans to stay at home and thus limiting their participation in the economy, unemployment rates are projected to reach 12% or higher according to NPR. An Oxford Economics project projected about 20 million people will lose their jobs in the weeks to come.

“Sharp drops in the stock market, school and office closures, crashing oil prices and widespread disruptions to other major industries…could hurt Trump’s bid for a second term more than any political test he’s faced so far,” Time Magazine reported.

His slow response to the virus will also disrupt his voter pull. Contradicting medical experts, Trump continuously minimized the threat of the virus just last month, calling the pandemic the Democrats’ “new hoax.” 

While this may not shift support from some of his followers, I think that more moderate Republicans and independent voters will not be able to turn a blind eye to this level of ignorance. 

However, I will say that the coronavirus outbreak has buried the conversation about other topics that could help bring in votes for the democratic candidate. Topics that separate Trump from his opponents such as gun control and climate change are fading into the background with the current focus on the pandemic.

Still, in the country’s current political, economic and medical state, people will be looking for a new and more reliable leader for the next four years. And thus many moderate voters will turn to Trump’s Democratic opponent.