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Biden vs Trump - expert comment

Dr. Georg Löfflmann, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick and expert on populist governments, gives his take on the final US Presidental debate of 2020.

"The second and final presidential debate was noticeably more civilized than the first with a stronger debate performance by the sitting President. The debate also benefitted from an excellent moderation by the NBC journalist Kirsten Welker, the first African-American woman to moderate a presidential debate since 1992.

"There was a much greater focus on policy issues, including health, climate change, and racism in the United States. Nonetheless, Trump reached into his old bag of tricks, trying to paint Biden alternatively as an agent of the radical left or member of a corrupt bi-coastal elite. Biden deflected these attacks, which again included Trump's allegations about improper business dealings of Biden's son Hunter.

"Maybe most surprising was Biden's announcement to transition away from the oil industry, which could hurt his chances in places like Texas, where he is neck-to-neck with Trump in the latest polls.

"For Donald Trump, this debate was probably the last chance to reenergize his campaign and try to swing the election, and in that he failed.

"Regardless of the outcome of last night's debate, most Americans have by now made up their minds about these two candidates, many have already voted through early voting or mail-in voting, and the number of undecided voters at this point is negligible."

  • Dr Löfflmann's recent publications include:"From the Obama Doctrine to America First: The erosion of the Washington consensus on grand strategy," International Politics 57, no. 4 (2020): pp. 588-605; "America First and the Pandemic: Trump's grand strategy of blaming China." Observer Research Foundation (ORF),17 June 2020; and "America First and the Populist Impact on US Foreign Policy," Survival Vol. 61, no. 6 (2019): pp. 115-138.
23 October 2020


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