U.S. Election Scenario – 18th May 2020
With the race for the White House in full swing, the result of the 2020 election would undoubtedly have an impact globally. AMCHAM organized a webinar on the ‘U.S. Election Scenario’ on May 18th to provide members with a balanced perspective from both political sides — Democrat and Republican. The welcome and speaker introductions were made by Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM, followed by session moderator, Mr. Arun M. Kumar, National Executive Board Member, AMCHAM and Chairman & CEO, KPMG in India, setting the political scene for both candidates, President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden. He touched on the question of how citizens would be able to exercise their right to vote in the midst of a global pandemic. Mr. Kumar outlined the U.S.-India relationship from the view of both Presidential candidates.
In his remarks Mr. Nelson Cunningham, President and Co-Founder, McLarty Associates, having worked with Vice President Biden previously, shared his perspective on the spirited fight ahead. He gave a detailed background on the Democratic party leadership and the need for strong, stable leadership in Washington. He talked about how the Biden campaign has re-tooled during the pandemic. He said almost every national poll has Biden ahead. He explained that Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were key states to watch because the Republican margin of victory was quite narrow.
Ambassador Richard Burt, Managing Partner and Eurasia Director, McLarty Associates, remarked that the 2020 election would bring both continuity and change. He described President Trump as a ferocious competitor and relentless campaigner. Even though President Trump has never received more than 50% approval ratings, his support base cannot be underestimated. Ambassador Burt reminded participants about the structure of the electoral college and how rural less populated states have a greater political say over the choice of the Presidency and those states form the base for President Trump. With more than 90,000 current deaths from coronavirus in the U.S., there has been tremendous media criticism of the President. He noted that the pandemic has erased people’s thinking about previous scandals as well as the fact that Biden has been locked down in his basement in Delaware, perhaps finding it difficult to get his message out.
Mr. Arun M. Kumar moderated a candid Q&A session with participants which touched on foreign policy matters, China, potential Vice Presidential nominations, Supreme Court choices, age-related challenges, U.S. posture towards Europe and Russia post election, NATO, the Indo-Pacific, popularity of President Obama and a brief history of how each President has navigated U.S.-India relations. Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM, thanked all speakers for their time and assessment of the U.S. Presidential race so candidly and comprehensively.