Biden v Trump: The most important election in a generation

18th September 2020

News, Alumni news

Voter turnout will decide the results of the next US Presidential election agreed Lissa Muscatine and James Warlick in a discussion with Wadham alumni.

Play Alumni event attendees

As we face what commentators have labelled ”the most important election in a generation” career diplomat, Ambassador and Associate Professor of Law James Warlick Jr (MLitt Politics, 1977) and former White House Speech Writer and senior advisor Lissa Muscatine (PPE, 1977), set out the American political landscape.

Lissa outlined “the incalculable damage that four years under Donald Trump has done to this country,” commenting on the widening economic gap, his reliance on social media and a major news network to disseminate misinformation, acceptance of political help from known adversaries, and a failure to respond to COVID, Black Lives Matter and Climate Change crises as evidence that Trump is out of step with public opinion.

Commenting that “we cannot predict the outcome” she believes that Biden ”may be the man for the moment”  and has clear advantages over Clinton (four years of Trump being a major one) with an astounding indication of voter engagement since 2018 and record-breaking fundraising by Democratic Party candidates.

“So much of this victory depends on turnout” she added. “If people are allowed to vote Biden/Harris we will win, but I do not have a lot of confidence that voter suppression will be overcome.”

As a former diplomat, James said that he had been non-partisan, adding: “It has been difficult in this administration. He outlined three key issues that he believes are crucial to the election result: Law and order, the radical left and, fraud and absentee voting. “Trump is trying to say that extremists have taken over the Democratic Party and there is concern that a vote for Biden means that the radical left will be taking control.”

“Absentee voting has never been a problem in our history but that is not the way Donald Trump is portraying it,” he added. “Committed Republicans will not be deterred from voting by COVID but my concern is that the Democrats will not turn out.” He highlighted the possibility that many absentee voters will be voting Democrat and that Trump might declare victory before absentee ballots had been counted.

Warden of Wadham College, Ken Macdonald QC hosted this lively virtual debate with questions from alumni focussed on the future of scientific research under Trump, the failings of the Electoral College, misinformation, and impeachment.

President of the Wadham Alumni Society, Sachin Patel (Physics, 2001), welcomed more than 150 alumni from across the globe for the event, held in lieu of the Society’s annual dinner in Hall.

  • Clockwise from top right: Ken Macdonald QC; Sachin Patel; James Warlick; Lissa Muscatine

    Clockwise from top right: Ken Macdonald QC; Sachin Patel; James Warlick; Lissa Muscatine

  • Zoom audience
  • Zoom audience