In the United States, a presidential campaign in the shadow of three crises

Aux États-Unis, une campagne présidentielle à l’ombre de trois crises

The America of Donald Trump confronts a exceptional combination of three major crises, a pandemic, a deep economic recession and a strong malay race, who are redefining the major political stakes in five months of a presidential election increasingly difficult to predict.

The country is located there at a time of great social transformation? Or then the inequalities exacerbated by the epidemic, coronaviruses are they going to persist or even prosper?

The question is logically imposed at the center of the presidential campaign between the incumbent president a republican to his democratic opponent Joe Biden.

Nearly 110,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, the human toll the highest in the world. Several tens of millions more have lost their jobs after the closure of the economy decided to limit the spread of the disease.

At the same time, american cities are entered by a broad movement of protest against the racial inequalities after the death of a black man, George Floyd, caused by a white policeman in Minneapolis.

A confluence of crises, which is “a moment of truth for America” was, in the words of philosopher Cornel West.

“It is a very difficult time,” sums up Daniel Gillion, a political science professor at the university of Pennsylvania.

These crises, he said the AFP had been “terrible” for the Afro-Americans who have traditionally less access to the health system, are much poorer than their white compatriots, and are regularly victims of police brutality.

“I don’t remember a period where Blacks have gone through such troubles, such suffering, and such difficulties”, he adds.

The epidemic of Covid-19 has disproportionately affected the african-american community. And if the unemployment rate recorded a surprise drop in may to 13.3%, it increased to 16.8% for black Americans.

The wound of racial inequalities has been painfully brought to life by the drama of the Minneapolis-when the white policeman Derek Chauvin, filmed on a video, has pressed his knee on the neck of George Floyd up to the choke and the kill.

“The American black has a knee on the neck since the abolition of slavery. We have never been free”, has prevailed this week Kayla Peterson, 30 years old, in a demonstration in Minneapolis.

Law and order

President Donald Trump would have been able to play the registry of appeasement. It has not happened and he is accused of having inflamed the passions with a rhetoric-martial and appeals to “law and order” against the “looters” and “incendiary”.

Its output of provocative the White House at the beginning of last week, to go and ask, Bible in hand, in front of a church damaged during the protests aimed to send a signal to its electorate, the traditional conservatives and evangelicals.

“Dangerously incompetent” to the presidential function, and swept Joe Biden who, after several weeks of absence due to confinement in his home State of Delaware, seems to have decided to seize the moment.

The veteran democrat from 77-year-old sees the opportunity to appear in gatherer, as a man of conciliation that could unite the wings of progressive and moderate of his party while attracting independent voters turned off by Trump.

“It is high time that the promise brought by this nation to become a reality for all its people,” he said Friday on Twitter.

President “teflon”?

Experts estimate that in spite of this atmosphere of chaos, Trump is well on course to be re-elected.

“If the president manages to talk about the issue of breeds in a constructive way, if he is able to lead the recovery in the areas of health, and the economy, it will appear as a president teflon, on which nothing hangs”, note Daniel Gillion.

Donald Trump, however, has seen an erosion of his support in the polls, particularly among two groups critical to his re-election: older people and evangelical christians.

And the delay at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as threats to involve the army in the streets of american cities could alienate a part of the women’s vote.

The white women are “exaspérées by its management of the pandemic,” says Nadia Brown, an associate professor of political science and african american studies at Purdue university.

All this does not mean Joe Biden a victory on a platter. “A cat has seven lives, but Trump’s twelve,” concludes Nadia Brown.

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