2020 Election Preview


Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Onur Toper, Staff Writer

The twists and turns of 2020 have cancelled plenty of events this year; but one thing remains intact: the November 3rd general election. 

With less than two weeks until election day, campaigns across the country are working hard to reach out to voters and make final pitches in this unprecedented lead-up to an election that is destined to be dominated by coronavirus-related issues. But voters aren’t just voting about these public health concerns, they are voting with them; at least 84% of Americans are able to vote by mail, with many states lifting eligibility requirements on voting by mail. Still, some states, such as my home state of Indiana, are more restrictive on such measures, with official excuses being required to vote-by-mail, being one of only five states to do this year. But the pandemic has not stopped people from voting; as of October 20th, over 32 million Americans have already voted early, with absentee ballot requests surpassing 2016 levels in almost every state. These staggering numbers are also reflected in Democratic fundraising efforts; Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign raised $383 million in September alone with 5.5 million donors giving an average of $44 dollars each. “I’m really humbled by it,” Biden said. Biden’s campaign now has $432 million cash on hand, a mind-blowing figure that is even more startling when you realize that the campaign has 13 days to spend it as they please. 

But Joe Biden is not the only Democrat who has been having a stellar fundraising cycle; Democratic Senate challengers have been incredibly successful as well. Among them is Jaime Harrison, who is running to unseat incumbent Republican Lindsey Graham. Harrison raised over $57 million in just the last three months, by far the most money any Senate Candidate has raised in a single quarter, doubling Graham’s $28 million haul. This momentum is prevalent in other races in Arizona, Montana, North Carolina, Iowa, and Kentucky, where Democrats are looking to unseat Republicans and flip the senate into Democratic hands. 

Republicans have had some success in fundraising as well. President Trump raised $247 million in September, shy of Biden’s record haul, but still maintaining a strong cash-on-hand number of $251 million. With poll numbers favoring a weak showing for Trump in key battleground states, there is growing doubt as to whether his campaign can turn it around and pull out a victory. 2016 showed that poll numbers can be irrelevant to the actual outcome of the election as Trump shocked the country when he cracked Hillary Clinton’s “blue wall” of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.  

Though it can be seen as premature to make solid predictions regarding the outcome of the election, there is one American University professor who does make predictions and uses an algorithm to do so–an algorithm that has led him to correctly predict every U.S. presidential election since 1984. It boils down to his “13 Keys to the White House.” These keys are all statements about both candidates and the overall state of the country. If six or more of these statements are false, then the challenging party wins the White House. Some of these keys, such as Key #11 which states “The incumbent administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs,” are dependent on the incumbent’s performance in office, while others, such as Key #3 which states “There is no significant third party or independent campaign,” are uncontrollable by both parties. Lichtman predicted Trump would win in 2016 and came out with his 2020 prediction in early August, stating that Joe Biden would win come November. Whether his prediction holds true will be found out in the coming weeks.

Still, no campaign is slacking off in this final stretch of the campaign. Candidates on both sides are mobilizing and bracing for a reality after November 3rd, realizing that their races could go either way. What’s left for the American people to do is one thing: vote.