Last Wednesday afternoon — an otherwise quiet and uneventful afternoon — every news station, online media platform, and social media outlet in Australia was raving about one thing: the Presidential Election that would decide the next President of the United States of America.
I also scrolled through Twitter, and refreshed the live updates page dozens of times, constantly hovering between a state of amusement while munching on snacks, and a state of anxious anticipation, biting my fingernails and waiting for the results. Who would be the next president? Would Donald Trump get re-elected? Or would Joe Biden claim the title for himself? No one knew.
It was a daunting few hours on that Wednesday, which soon turned into a daunting few days. People took to TikTok and other social media platforms to create memes and question the way the voting system in America worked.
People took to TikTok and other social media platforms to create memes and question the way the voting system in America worked.
The next few days turned into guessing which swing state would turn blue or red next. Would Nevada finally begin tabulating votes faster and turn blue, or would Pennsylvania beat it in the race? A guessing game ensued, and some even began placing bets.
And while Americans are the ones who would be impacted directly, the outcome will affect the rest of the world as well. The United States has a major influence on the decisions other countries make, and that is a frightening thought.
Trump versus Biden
As a non-U.S. citizen and someone living in a country on the opposite side of the world, it’s quite entertaining, watching the drama of the biggest election of the year unfold. And so the ultimate question arises; who would be the better president: Trump or Biden?
It’s a tough choice, picking between two evils. Naturally, picking the lesser of the two evils seems like a good choice to make during this time. Neither candidate is innocent and scandal-free. The news of President Trump’s latest debacles reaches the entire world. He’s made a mess of the country, the government, and portrayed himself as a needy child. His Muslim ban, irresponsibility towards refugees and immigrant children in detention centres, and overall lack of maturity hasn’t helped him at all.
Biden isn’t perfect either. In fact, while working as the Vice President with former President Barack Obama, he too has made decisions that have negatively impacted the lives of thousands around the globe. But Biden knows what to say, he knows what the people want to hear, and he knows how to get people to vote for him. And it worked, because he won.
Stock market and economy
The U.S. has always had a formidable stock market. And we all look to the U.S. as it’s the world’s strongest democracy. But as COVID-19 hit, almost every country in the world went into a recession. Under Trump’s administration, the U.S. economy has under-performed throughout most of the four years of his presidency. Jobs have decreased drastically, and consumers have lowered their spending.
Australia is also in recession, and probably will be for a few more years. Being an international superpower, the way the next president of the U.S. handles the economic state of the country is crucial. The stock markets will either fall further or rise, depending on the president. The world relies on the United States and their economic prowess. It is an important part of the international financial system, and if it continues to decline, then the rest of the world will be in trouble as well.
Donald Trump doesn’t believe in climate change. Joe Biden does. Both candidates have different opinions on the topic, and have both agreed to tackle it in different manners. Trump left the Paris Climate Accord, while Biden promises to re-join the accord and even implement renewable energy sources in the country. How the future president handles climate change will influence decisions countries like Australia, who has also been holding off on making big decisions, will have to make.
Canada and other countries around the world indicated they will continue holding good relations with the United States no matter the outcome. Iran has also chosen not to alter their policies with the U.S. regardless of the next leader, and is still on shaky terms with the government. Spokespeople from China have stated that the current happenings surrounding the election prove that the United States is in “degradation,” while Russian leaders don’t want to get involved in anything to avoid a repeat of what happened during the 2016 elections. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a close ally to the U.S. and Trump, has refused to comment. Australia will also take heed during the next few weeks as we are allies to the U.S. When Biden was announced as President Elect, people from around the world celebrated.
How the United States will respond to and adhere to the foreign policies set by themselves and allied countries under the leadership of was something we’d all have to keep a close eye on regardless of who became president.
No matter the result — even with Biden as President — the election will impact the world. We just have to make sure we’re ready to deal with the repercussions.
Asiya is a writer and journalist based in Brisbane, Australia.