Will unrest in Minnesota help Trump get reelected?

By Mei Xinyu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/1 22:20:25

Photo: AFP

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, US President Donald Trump was almost certain to be reelected in 2020. He saw no challenger in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party was busy tackling fierce internal strife.

It is only a matter of time before a new round of economic depression hits the US, though Trump's bullying tactic has successfully pushed the US Federal Reserve to postpone the crisis with intemperate monetary policies. In addition, the China-US phase one trade deal has added insurance for the US economy in 2020.

However, the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus, a test for all governments across the world, has exposed the Trump administration's lousy performance and the inherent institutional weakness of US social governance. As of Monday, confirmed cases in the US are approaching 1.8 million, and deaths in the country due to the coronavirus have surpassed 104,000.

The raging pandemic has inevitably impacted the US economy. Although the US is relying on its currency's international status and printing money to transfer impacts to other economies, such efforts can only temporarily protect its financial market bubble and will not rekindle its real economy and create jobs for the tens of millions of people who have lost their jobs in recent weeks.

The situation will inevitably gradually erode the political foundation supporting Trump, and will also create opportunities for his Democratic political opponents. Faced with the Democrats' attack, the Trump administration, whose moves are absolutely reelection-targeted, has resorted to China-bashing, slandering and blaming tactics. The Trump team intended to transfer the public outrage to China. But China's determination and calm composure have caused that attempt to fail in earning any practical gains.

Minnesota's protests over the killing of George Floyd have rapidly spread across the US. As people demand justice and systemic change to prevent such a brutal tragedy from happening again, protests have been staged in dozens of cities in the US, dealing a heavy blow to the US' fight against the virus, the reopening of its economy, and the country's domestic cohesion and international image.

Anti-Trump groups will likely take this opportunity to form an anti-Trump consensus, expanding and calling more anti-Trump voters to the polls. Trump and his ilk could also see opportunities in the other direction.

If the Trump administration can take this opportunity to reset his image, portraying him to be a maintainer of order, and take concrete moves to achieve such a goal, then the current unrest can become an opportunity for Trump to gain support in this year's election cycle.

So, whose tactics will work this time? Who will take this opportunity? The Trump administration or anti-Trump groups? That remains to be seen.

The author is a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce



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