Positions of the Presidential Candidates: What Determined Biden’s Victory?

The coronavirus pandemic, scandals, and even the age of the candidates contributed to the course and outcome of the election race. Ahead of the US presidential election, the COVID-19 pandemic became the dominant topic in local media. By October 20, the number of people infected with coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic exceeded 8.3 million people in the country, and more than 220 thousand died from COVID-19 (Levitt, 2020). At the same time, unemployment has climbed to a record high since the Great Depression. In this situation, the question of whether the current President Donald Trump has succeeded in the fight against coronavirus infection has split American society. Overall, health issues came to the fore in the campaign trail after Trump nominated Catholic believer and staunch opponent of abortion Amy Coney Barrett to the post of Supreme Court Justice, vacated after the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Before the pandemic began, the US economy experienced boom; however, following the first local lockdowns in March, small businesses across the country were forced to close. By mid-April, 23 million Americans were unemployed – this corresponds to an unemployment rate of 14.7 percent (Bilal, 2020). For Trump, this has become a serious problem, as during his first three years in the White House, he repeatedly extolled the successful development of the economy under his leadership. During the election race, Trump tried to convince voters that namely he could achieve economic growth again. In turn, Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden was in a better position. He promised that, thanks to his program, called Build Back Better, the working and middle class in America will appear in better conditions than what it will get if Trump remains in power term.

It should also be noted that the death of African American George Floyd on May 25, 2020 while being detained by police in Minneapolis led to an upsurge in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Racial conflicts have been a part of American history but this summer the passions have reached truly “historical proportions” (Griebie & Immelman, 2020). Both white and black Americans are protesting not only against police violence, but also against what they perceive as “systemic racism.” At the same time, they call for the reform of the police. In turn, critics of the BLM movement draw attention to the violence, which erupted in a number of cities where the protests took place.

President Trump called the Black Lives Matter slogan a symbol of hatred and promised to restore law and order on American streets, and this helped Trump gain additional sympathy from his traditional electorate. Such statements can mobilize Republican voters, as well as Americans without clear political sympathies, who lean towards the right views. Polls also show that an unexpectedly large number of white voters do not support the president’s position on the racial protests that followed the death of George Floyd (Pew Research Center, 2020). Trump’s firm stance in support of law and order, borrowed from Richard Nixon, who built on it his victorious 1968 campaign after a long summer of racial unrest, did not bring result.

Biden openly stated that, in his opinion, racism in America is a reality. He plans to fight it with economic and social support programs for ethnic minorities. To do this, he wants to create an investment fund of $30 billion (Why Nature supports Joe Biden for US president, 2020). If in the 1990s Biden believed that crime should be fought with harsh methods, now his views are different (Griebie & Immelman, 2020). He suggests, first of all, to solve the problem of racial and social inequality, which are closely related. He also wants to create a $20 billion fund to rehabilitate and help those released from prison (Griebie & Immelman, 2020). Thus, as politicians, Biden and Trump are strikingly different from each other.

From the representative of the Democrats and ex-vice-president of the times of Barack Obama Biden, one can expect that he, in fact, will be “Obama-2,” but softer due to his age and calmer due to his experience. At the same time, because of this, many consider him weak and indecisive. In contrast to Biden’s position, Trump’s strength is that he offers the Americans the classic system of the Republican Party: America that is not afraid to show strength, support allies and, if necessary, go into confrontation. However, a huge disadvantage of Trump is that he is destructive; many “old” Republicans are now turning away from him, because he is followed by a train of sexual and corruption scandals.

In addition, Trump’s position, even among his traditional electorate, was shaken by his highly unethical statements about his rival. Trump tried to actively use rumors of Biden’s health problems in his usual scandalous manner. He nicknamed him Sleepy Joe and regularly makes statements that his rival has become less intelligent, therefore he cannot rule the country, as he is unable to understand what is a priority for the United States.

In this context, a well-thought-out campaign, an effective team, and, most importantly, a reputation as a moderate person brought success to Democrat Joe Biden. In the last presidential election, the identity of a rival candidate was one of the reasons for Trump’s victory – Hillary Clinton was hated by many voters. Biden inspires sympathy rather than hate; with many disliked by Clinton, voters were willing to take the risk and choose an outside candidate. The electorate wanted change, and something similar is happening now (Zandi & Yaros, 2020). It should be noted that, as President, Biden, who previously said that climate change threatens the very existence of mankind, plans to return the US signature to the Paris Agreement. His predecessor, Donald Trump, pulled the country out of this agreement, and re-signing the Paris Agreement will restore the US’s reputation in the world and allow improving relations with the EU.

Biden has always emphasized that he will primarily focus on solving the internal problems of his country. However, his foreign policy is unlikely to be as unequivocally isolationist as it was under Trump. He has promised to improve relations with US allies, in particular with NATO, whose reputation has been significantly damaged by Trump, threatening to stop funding the alliance if its members do not comply with their commitments to finance their armed forces.

Biden resorts to rather populist statements, which, however, largely determined his victory. In particular, he promises to expand the state health insurance program that emerged under Obama. He claims that 97% of Americans will be able to take advantage of this plan. This is possibly one of the most ambitious promises of the new president. Experts estimate that such government insurance will cost the federal budget $2.25 trillion over ten years (Levitt, 2020). In the education system, Biden promises to increase the number of free universities. Biden is not very charismatic, but during the Trump presidency, Americans have grown tired of his sometimes shocking statements, as well as inconsistent and often unpredictable actions that lead to exacerbation of social conflicts. Biden’s pragmatic centrism gives him an edge in the eyes of voters, including in “wavering” states.


Bilal, M. (2020). United States presidential election 2020: Who will win – Biden or Trump? Web.

Griebie, A., & Immelman, A. (2020). The political personality of 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Project Personality Profiles of U.S. Presidential Candidates and World Leaders. Web.

Levitt, L. (2020). Trump vs Biden on health care. The Jama Forum. Web.

Pew Research Center (2020). Perceptions of Trump and Biden. Web.

Why Nature supports Joe Biden for US president (2020). Nature. Web.

Zandi, M., & Yaros, B. (2020). The macroeconomic consequences: Trump vs. Biden. Moody’s Analytics. Web.

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DemoEssays. "Positions of the Presidential Candidates: What Determined Biden’s Victory?" December 22, 2022. https://demoessays.com/positions-of-the-presidential-candidates-what-determined-bidens-victory/.