All the focus on the Coronavirus pandemic has thrown the Democratic primaries into a sliding, screeching halt. As states close down to all but the essentials and people are forced to self-isolate, not much attention is being paid to the two Dems fighting for their chance to rule from the Oval Office. So what does this mean for the candidates and their campaigns? For that matter, what happens if, like just about everything else, the 2020 presidential election is postponed?
As Liberty Nation’s James Fite said:
“There isn’t much about American life that remains untouched by the panic over COVID-19. With the Democrats’ July nominating convention quickly approaching, one must wonder what toll this pandemic will have on the Democratic Party’s primary process.”
Americans may have been gung-ho to vote and make their voices heard this year, but that was before their whole world came crashing down in just a matter of weeks. Most citizens today have not lived through a true pandemic. As a society accustomed to the instant gratification of advanced technology, this shut has thrown many for a loop. It may seem that, after the last Tuesday primary results, it’s almost a no-brainer that former Vice President Joe Biden will win the Democratic nomination – but that may not necessarily be the case. Several states have already delayed their primaries and, as LN’s Tim Donner said of Sanders:
“He may be well behind, but Bernie has accumulated almost 900 delegates, approaching half the number needed for the nomination. This represents a critical mass of voters, and importantly, an activist group distinct from the more conventional Democrats who have followed the party’s instructions to support the former vice president. This cache of delegates gives a candidate power to shape the party convention, influence the platform, and leverage to cash in on a prime-time oratorical opportunity.”
There’s also the pandemic to consider since rallies and campaign actions are reduced to video and internet attendance. Neither candidate is getting much media attention now and the election madness has slipped to the back of the mind as dashes to grocery stores to procure toilet paper take precedence. While moderates scramble to rally behind Biden and the political action committees reach into their treasure trove of dirty tricks to try and smear the president’s reelection campaign, Biden and Sanders will have some breathing room to really consider their strategies.
The coronavirus is both a blessing and a curse in terms of campaigning. The Democratic candidates both run on a free or reduced-cost healthcare platform, which will appeal to many Americans during a pandemic that shows no signs of leaving any time soon. However, these same individuals are in their 70s with underlying health issues during a time when a novel coronavirus is sweeping the world and seriously endangering the elderly and unhealthy. Not having as much media coverage could be a good thing for Biden, who forgets if he’s running for president or senator.
The Dems are hopeful that the virus will do what they haven’t yet been able to pull off: remove President Donald Trump from office. However, the commander in chief has a few things on his side, including the fact that this disease has hit early during the election campaigns, giving him time to show the American people just how well he handles such a crisis. Depending on which media source you follow, the polls say more people now approve of the president’s handling of the pandemic, while others claim the opposite.
Michael Ceraso worked for Sanders in 2016 and was also Pete Buttigieg’s New Hampshire director last year. He said it’s not time to throw the towel in on Trump, especially when it comes to how he has handled the virus crisis, warning the “mishandling” of it does not necessarily mean the public will penalize the president come November. “We know we have two candidates who can pivot this generation’s largest health crisis to their policy strengths,” he said. “But history tells us that an incumbent who steers us through a challenging time, a la Bush and 9/11 and Obama and the Great Recession, are rewarded with a second term.”
While we’re on the topic of a possible second term for Trump, what would happen if, as some have suggested, the presidential election was postponed? Never in the history of the United States has this happened and the Constitution is not entirely clear on what should take place in such an event. Would Trump and Vice President Mike Pence be allowed to remain in their positions after November if an election was not held? Who would become acting president if not?
LN’s Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza provided some insight:
“The Constitutional requirements for electing a president are listed right in Article 2, Section 1. There are no provisions for emergency delays there, but it does say ‘[t]he Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.’ So if the Congress agrees to a delay, we will have one. As for what would happen if no election occurred before the new year and inauguration day? The Constitution does not allow for it. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, but there is no prescribed response in the document.”
So there you have it, another unknown in the Coronavirus apocalypse of 2020.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
For home study students and young people, Liberty Nation recommends…
All About Primaries
High School: The Primary and Caucus Process Explained
Middle School: The Primary and Caucus Process
Elementary School: Primaries and Caucuses: How Do They Work?
All About Pandemics
High School: Epidemic vs Pandemic: What’s the Difference?
Middle School: Epidemic vs Pandemic: What are They?
Elementary School: What are Epidemics and Pandemics?
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