Gonzalo de Cadenas-Santiago, director of Economic and Financial Research at MAPFRE Economics
Despite being overshadowed by the outbreak of COVID-19 in late spring and early summer, former vice president Joe Biden secured a strong lead over President Trump both in national polls and in key swing states. At the same time, the COVID-19 crisis and ensuing economic recession combined with the social unrest in response to the killing of George Floyd have given rise to great uncertainty — anything could happen in November.
Ultimately, how these two factors will impact Biden and Trump remains to be seen. The Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been characterized as disorganized and unnecessarily politicized, but rapid economic recovery in the third quarter could provide Trump with a timely boost come November.
Although Trump’s heavy-handed response to the protests will lose him many college-educated and minority voters, it may solidify his support among what Richard Nixon termed the silent majority, who favor social stability and the rule of law.
At the other end of the spectrum, Biden’s polling position has benefited from what have been perceived as Trump’s mistakes. However, it remains to be seen how a moderate Biden will fare given the consequences and delayed effects of election promises made in the context of a newly energized, polarized and progressive electorate. Experts believe that the crucial moment for making such predictions will come this summer, when Biden picks his female running mate, in line with his pledge. Everything points to the electorate leaning toward an African-American female running mate, to create a mirror image of his time at Obama’s side when he was vice president.