2020 — the year of crisis management. Threats of World War III with Iran, Australian bushfires, the coronavirus pandemic, and rioting have all taken the spotlight in the nightmarish world of this year. In this upcoming presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump are both attempting to manage their own crises. These two candidates prove the age-old principle: politicians just cannot help themselves.
Joe Biden recently called a reporter a “lying dogface” during his latest press conference, his first in eighty-nine days. Obviously, his campaign did not want him to speak to many reporters, but they realized #HidenBiden could only grow so large.
Donald Trump continues to hold campaign events during the current pandemic and tweet his opinions, often against the will of his own staff. Once the Trump train takes off, either get on board or get out of the way.
Both campaigns are struggling to manage the crises that are their candidate’s unpredictable behavioral instincts. In a time where an election has never been more important, both candidates seem to clearly draw the line where one begins and the other ends. They occupy both ends of the spectrum.
In the 2016 election, Donald Trump said pretty much whatever he wanted, many of his statements being too inappropriate to even mention, and he got away with it and won the presidential race. In this election cycle, Joe Biden has repeatedly gaffed about race and coronavirus. Many Republicans are shocked that Biden is getting away with these instances, even though President Trump has done similar things. After President Obama, Republicans needed an outrageous figure to pulverize the nation and take over the office of the president, regardless of the morality of their candidate — they wanted a winner. Democrats in this election cycle are sick of Trump, and they want Joe Biden, regardless of the mental fortitude of their candidate — they want a winner.
The pivotal deciding factor for this election truly comes down to the debates. Although Joe Biden has not exhibited the ability to perform well in debates, as shown by his neutral performances in the Democratic debates, he can gain the upper hand if he exhibits poise and basic intelligence while passing the bar that has been set low by his primary opponents. Although Donald Trump has exhibited the ability to dominate debates and gain the mental edge over his opponents, many Americans have grown sick of the name-calling and prominent presence that he has. If he can make his opponent appear mentally incapable of being elected without coming across as a complete jerk, he will likely take back control of the election. The debates will be must-see TV, as they will ultimately decide who will win the presidency with many independents still up for grabs.
This election is indeed the battle for the soul of the nation, as Joe Biden puts it. Each party is ignoring the insanity of their candidate for the sake of defeating the other party’s extreme positions, creating a tense dynamic for the country and a test for independent centrists. In this election, expect the unexpected and feel free to facepalm, America.
Keaton Browder is an incoming freshman at Liberty University and our new elections correspondent.