Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz has published a commentary on the forthcoming U.S. presidential election highlighting the challenges to be faced in the coming months.
Titled, ‘Three Challenges for the US 2020 Election,’ the commentary is published in the Daily Star. It highlights the problems related to campaign, voting, and post-election counting issues. The candidates are facing unprecedented situation due to the pandemic.
Riaz notes that as conventional means of campaign are severely hindered, candidates will rely on media, particularly television and social media. However, political campaign in social media is fraught with several problems. During the 2016 election, social media has been used to spread fake news and sway public opinion. He also noted that foreign governments, including Russia, is engaged in efforts to influence the electoral process and the results.
On the issue of voter turnout, whether health concerns will dampen voter’s enthusiasm remains an open question. The ongoing battle between Trump administration and the Democrats regarding the mail-in vote warrants close observation, Riaz notes.
As for the results, he writes, if a large number of voters use mail-in voting, the results may be delayed; it may not be an ‘election night’ but an ‘election week.’ He expressed apprehension that in the absence of a decisive result against Trump, he may decline to concede and ensue a legal battle.