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Editorial: Is it enough for Biden to present himself as ‘anti-Trump’ candidate?

  • August 22, 2020
  • , The Japan News , 12:59 p.m.
  • English Press

The U.S. presidential election will be held amid an unprecedented situation as novel coronavirus infections have not been contained. The challenge will be how well candidates can disseminate their views to voters amid restrictions on stump speeches and door-to-door canvassing.


For the election in November, former Vice President Joe Biden has been officially nominated as the Democratic candidate. He will take on President Donald Trump, the Republican aiming to be reelected.


In his acceptance speech during the online Democratic convention, Biden emphasized, “It’s an America we can rebuild together.” He has called for a change in administration, criticizing Trump for deepening the divisions in U.S. society and for making the wrong decisions in dealing with the coronavirus.


Sen. Kamala Harris was nominated as the Democratic vice presidential candidate. If Biden is elected, she will be the first black woman to become vice president.


This can be said to symbolize the diversity and racial harmony to which Democrats attach importance.


The Trump administration’s approval rating has been on the decline over its response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the incident where a white police officer killed a black man. The Biden camp aims to take advantage of these errors and encourage unity with an anti-Trump stance, but there is no denying the lack of enthusiasm among supporters.


The question is whether Biden will be able to unify the Democratic Party.


In the previous presidential election, some supporters of left-wing liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders did not vote for the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, one of the reasons for her defeat. Biden, a centrist, has now adopted some left-wing policies, such as raising the minimum wage, to create a reconciliatory atmosphere.


On the other hand, if he leans too far to the left, he will be labeled by the Trump camp as a “radical leftist” and lose the centrist vote. This is quite a dilemma for Biden.


Whether the Trump administration and its “America First” policy will be given another four years will determine the course of the entire world. It is also immeasurable how the result will influence Japan.


Biden has laid out a shift to an emphasis on alliances. He argues that the U.S. and other democracies should be more aligned, which would allow them to deal more effectively with China’s rule-breaking behavior and human rights violations.


The return of the United States to alliances and international cooperation is welcome. But if Biden only returns to the path taken by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, where Biden served as vice president, he cannot restore U.S. leadership.


The coronavirus crisis has been adding to uncertainty in international affairs while the struggle between the United States and China for hegemony continues to intensify. It is true that diplomacy is less likely to become a major issue in the presidential election compared with domestic policies, but it is hoped that there will be constructive debate on what role the United States should play in the world.


— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on Aug. 22, 2020

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