The Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) organised a webinar on the topic ‘The Pandemic and the Presidential Election in America’ on August 30 , 2020. Prof KC Abraham,retired Professor of Political Science from the Department of Economics at Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi, was the honourable speaker at the event. He serves as the Academic Director at CPPR. Prof Abraham is an orator and a writer of contemporary regional and national political and social issues. Gazi Hassan, Senior Research Associate at CPPR, was the moderator.

The discussion started with a question from the moderator on how the pandemic along with many other social and economic factors has affected American citizens’ satisfaction over the Trump administration. Prof Abraham responded that the pandemic is going to be the core issue of the upcoming US election. He further argued why the US government with its first-class technology was not able to fight the virus. He compared the economic slowdown persisting in America with the 1929 economic recession. Prof Abraham also added how elections have become a platform of negatives rather than positives. At this point, all the factors are against US President Donald Trump and there is a very little chance for him to get re-elected. But if the pandemic situation gets better by the month of September and if there is a decline in the mortality rate then the American economy might improve, which might turn in favour of Trump.

The discussion also touched upon the topic of the role played by Russia and China in recent times. According to Prof Abraham, a purposeful phobia is being created among Americans by the US political establishments against China, but a well-informed society like America could not easily be influenced by an outsider. However, the growing economy of ambitious China and the rising Chinese power are threatening the supremacy of the US around the globe. The discussion also threw light on the future foreign policies of the US concerning Iran, Afghanistan and South Asia regions and the alternative policies in place after the withdrawal from these regions. In his opinion, the “America first” rhetoric of Trump is an isolationist policy and it will be unwise for America to become isolated. He further added that if Joe Biden is going to win the election, he would surely bring back America’s supremacy and under his leadership the US would play a more active role. He was also of the opinion that irrespective of whoever wins the 2020 US Presidential election, there is a great chance for a second era of cold war between America and China.

The discussion concluded by analysing the impact of the US election on India-US relations. Prof Abraham highlighted that irrespective of whoever comes to power, the nation-to-nation relation is not going to be affected. And since India is a very close strategic friend of America, the Indo-US relations will not go for a toss. With regards to the new visa policy for Indians in America, he argued that it is not going to be affected since Indian techies are of great human resource for America because of the high skills and cheap labour they provide.

The report is prepared by Kavya, Research Intern–Centre for Strategic Studies.

Click here to watch the webinar

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