How COVID-19 Changed Everything About the 2020 Election
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we campaign, how we vote and what we value. Here's why that matters for the upcoming election
In the 2020 that might have been, nobody is sick and politics is the center of the universe.
The Democratic Party has just nominated Joe Biden and his running mate at its mid-July convention in Milwaukee, while Republicans are gearing up to renominate Donald Trump in Charlotte, N.C. At his usual rallies, Trump is pointing to the roaring economy to make his case for re-election, while Biden struggles to stir up crowds with his plea for a return to normalcy. Trump’s allies continue to promote conspiracy theories about the Biden family’s entanglements in Ukraine, leading increasingly desperate Democrats to push for a second impeachment in the House. Both parties are campaigning furiously across the country, knocking on millions of doors to turn out voters in November.
But in the 2020 that’s actually happening, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything–from how the campaign is conducted to how we vote to what we value. It has canceled conventions, relegated fundraising and campaigning to the digital realm, and forced many states to rapidly change how people get and submit their ballots, with unpredictable and potentially disastrous results. The acute crises have refocused the nation’s attention, bringing issues like public health and economic and racial inequality to the fore and prompting the public to revisit what characteristics it wants in its leaders.