As the 2020 election cycle dwindles to the final days, we are at a place to review the issues likely to have the greatest impact on Americans' votes. This presumes the events that shape the election have already occurred. As we see from the explosive reports emerging from the contents of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden, we cannot be sure this is the case. In any event, these are the issues shaping not only the 2020 presidential election, but down-ballot races across America.
Vote fraud. This election could hinge on Democrats' ability to get away with counting enough fraudulent votes to flip enough states won by President Trump in 2016. This may be the reason Joe Biden has stayed off the campaign trail and away from media. Actual issues, scandals or even the candidate seem to matter less to Democrats than expanding the vote in a dizzying array of new and creative ways, and suing to count as many ballots as they can turn up for as long as they can continue counting them. It seems like every day brings news of another court ruling on ballots or another example of ballots mailed to dead people or mailed ballots being dumped or destroyed. What used to be a relatively straightforward process of voters going to polling places on Election Day has been transformed into a tangled web of voting schemes ripe for fraud and manipulation.
Scandals. As incredible as it seems, it was only eight months ago that President Trump was impeached by House Democrats. In any other year, this would have been the defining event of the campaign. It was likely designed that way by Democrats, but their impeachment stunt and subsequent implosion during the Senate trial has been all but forgotten. Democratic candidates do not even mention it, and it seems to be a non-issue. The whirlwind of scandals erupting around the Biden family's foreign business dealings is something that also would have been a game-changer in any previous election year. The Democrats' response has been to shrug off the revelations as somehow the fault of Russians and rely on major media's refusal to cover the story.
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On Tuesday night, former Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski appeared on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and revealed explosive details of Biden family corruption and influence peddling. Bobulinski's story is verified by reams of documentation. Perusing mainstream news sites the day after his interview, there is not a single reference anywhere about this explosive story, except on Fox News. But even Fox only includes a small reference to the story, which it could hardly avoid since it broke on the network's top-rated show. As stunning as the scandal is, it seems unlikely to have much impact on the election because the story is confined to alternative media, whose conservative consumers are already likely to vote for President Trump.
COVID-19. What started out an international pandemic that presented an occasion for Americans to work together for the common good was immediately hijacked as a political opportunity to attack the president. First, he was attacked as a racist for halting travel to the U.S. and accused of fear-mongering. Democrats reversed course, though, and switched to accusing the president of not doing enough to protect Americans. As "two-weeks to flatten the curve" has dragged out for months, our country has devolved into a patchwork of areas with wildly different restrictions on businesses and personal liberties, defined by whether the state or city has a Democratic or Republican leader. Those businesses and people in GOP-led areas have largely returned to normal, while businesses, churches and schools in Democrat-led areas remain closed or severely restricted. Whether the voters in these Democratic areas blame President Trump for their ongoing coronavirus restrictions or vote based on frustration with local Democrats who are implementing and enforcing the restrictions remains to be seen, and could have an impact on several important races.
Riots. When rioting erupted in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd and then spread to cities across the country, they were portrayed by Democrats as proof that President Trump, Republicans and America, in general, are racist. As with the coronavirus, the riots quickly morphed into something different. Generic violence, destruction and looting by a loose affiliation of organized or semi-organized rioters and agitators with miscellaneous complaints about America replaced protests over any specific police action. Like COVID restrictions, the rioting and violence has had the greatest impact on Democrat-run areas. Something appears to have led Democrats to believe the riots were hurting them politically. Whatever the reason, rioting largely died down or is now being ignored by major media. The riots over the past few nights in Philadelphia could have a significant impact on the presidential election, though. Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes could decide the election, and the Philadelphia suburbs could decide who wins Pennsylvania. If suburban voters are moved one way or another by riots, the violence and looting in Philadelphia could have an outsized impact on who is our next president.
In the final days of this campaign, these are the big-ticket issues that should have the greatest impact. The president's performance with women and black voters, Democrats' ability to turn out liberal voters, and President Trump and Senate Republicans' successful confirmation of three Supreme Court justices during his first term may prove impactful, as well. Trump's tireless campaigning, with enormous rallies in battleground states several times a day, is creating a new standard for future campaigns and could make a huge difference. Additionally, the sharply divided electorate is likely to create an even larger winner-take-all election result as down-ballot candidates are swept into office in straight-ticket voting. If President Trump is successful in driving a large turn-out, his coattails could flip key House races.
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The stakes in this general election are higher than ever, as Americans cast their vote for one of two completely different worldviews.