” America’s Presidential Election, November 3, 2020 – Advantage India ” – July 19, 2020.

          US  President Donald Trump’s ‘Political Power Play’  (PPP) is his trump card in this election. He came up trumps on many occasions by skilfully handling the trumped-up charges against him with his ‘Political Power Play’. With just one signature he can display his threatening behavior invoking trade barriers, immigration ban, visa suspension, financial withdrawal, exports ban .. .. or display his healthy behavior supporting arms sales, military assistance, financial assistance, friendship, ratification of treaties and the likes. It needs a thoughtful approach for the Leader to take actions for the safety and welfare of the people. His score sheet always showed a good score. Until the COVID-19  crisis, of course.

          November 3, 2020,  marks an important date in the American Election Process. With just 107 days away, the two major political parties have firmed up their candidates. Donald President, the incumbent President,  seeks a second term for the Republicans ;  and Joe Biden, former VP, seeks his first term for the Democrats. Countries around the World are taking a close look at the developing events in America to decide who will be better for them.

          The role played by Indians in these Elections has always been a matter of opinion, substance, and interest, specially in the last three decades and more. Michigan, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania are some States where the influence of Indians is expected to be significant. Also significant is the fact that they hold their share in the election campaign process by active participation.

          President Donald Trump’s Visit to India in February 2020 and his participation in “Namaste Trump”  event in Ahmadabad had the above fact in mind evoking discussions at great lengths. News outlets laid special emphasis on this event depicting President Donald Trump’s role more as a ‘political play’  than that of an ‘Americans President’. The public perception, however, in India was that it was an acknowledgement of admiration for the President and his achievements.   

          The merit was followed by the mess immediately after his return.

          COVID-19 tragedy ;  job losses ;  economic slowdown ;  death of the black man, George Floyd in the hands of Police ;  protests throughout the country – all within a period of four months marked a major setback that does not hold out much hope for his recovery. His Campaign strategy,  “America First” and  “Keep America Great Again”  is still an ace up his sleeve.

          There were serious doubts about his “spontaneous action results”  among Indian officials when President, Donald Trump, took charge first in January 2017 sowing the seeds of uncertainty about a thriving relationship between the two countries. Removal of the waiver granted to India on buying Oil from Iran in May 2019 ;  trumping up the charge that India places a higher tariff on American exports ;  and suspension of H1B and L1 visas are some decisions that still irk India. Trump, however, was liberal in sale of military armaments and techniques. His anti China stance and strong condemnation of terrorism issues of Pakistan are viewed in India’s favor. President, Donald Trump, also stood by India on the issues of Abrogation of Article 370 and CAA. He didn’t speak a word against it, maintaining a cautious silence. Democrats on the other hand spoke freely against those two issues.

          “Howdy Modi”  in Houston (September 22, 2019,)  and  “Namaste Trump”  in Ahmadabad (February 24, 2020) paved the way for a conciliatory approach to our relationship. President, Donald Trump’s laudable attempt to crown PM, Modi, as ” an individual whose care for the welfare of Indians is unique ”  even while pointing to his refusal to lower the tariffs for American exports was a masterstroke.

          Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, on the other hand has recorded in his Campaign website a clearly opposing stance against CAA and Abrogation of Article 370. He also criticised the defence deal signed between India and US during President Donald Trump’s Visit to India in February 2020, saying that the two countries should be working together, instead, to combat Climate Change. But he strongly supported fair trade with India and on the issue of Suspension of visas he clearly stated his intent to revoke it when he comes to power.

          In most fundraising speeches, Joe Biden, has been a loyal supporter of India on many issues. Biden calls India its  ” natural partner” and strengthening of US-India relationship as his high priority. He hinted at a more inclusive and generous immigration policy. Respect for Human Rights and promoting diversity are two aspects embedded in the DNA of Democrats. He also recalled the landmark Civil Nuclear Agreement with India he supported as Senator and continued through his 8 years as VP while reassuring and reaffirming his support, strengthening India’s belief that America will be a strong and dependable/reliable ally. His Campaign speeches in support of India are to all intents and purposes a clever move to placate the Indian diaspora while retaining their interest.

          Joe Biden, is keenly aware of the excellent personal relationship between Donald Trump and PM, Modi, and the need for him to plan a counter strategy to win over them. Joe Biden accusing Donald Trump on not doing enough to counter the Chinese desire for dominance is also viewed as an opportunity to sustain a good relationship with India. Joe Biden for his part hopes to be viewed as a better Leader.

          Joe Biden could also use John Bolton’s observations of Donald Trump in his book : ” The room where it happened : A White House Memoir ”  on India’s Iran oil purchase ;  slowing down of Chabahar port project work ;  Trump’s dislike of India’s purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia ;  Donald Trump’s initial  insouciance regarding minority rights of Uighurs in Xinjiang ;  and Donald Trump’s unpredictable relationships with Japan, Europe, and Canada. These can trigger more doubts in the minds of the voters still.

          There is an interesting parallel with the doubts that existed in 2016 when Hillary Clinton was the opponent. Donald Trump was the victor then. Hence, it is not without reason if people expect Donald Trump to win this time too.

          Since 1992 America had 3 Presidents who completed two successive terms. President, Bill Clinton,  President, George W Bush, and President Barack Obama. People gave them chances willingly. It will not be a mistaken belief if Donald Trump hopes that this trend will continue. Along with this is also his hope that in the next 106 days he will be able to turn the tide in his favor with people support for his economic programs.

          Events of the next three months within America and outside (internationally) will shape the choice and make the voice of Americans heard in the General Election in November 2020. The election will also witness economic and strategic interests weighing more than political, party, or personal interests in the choice of decisions.

          Recent actions of America in Hong Kong, South China Sea, economic sanctions against China along with a tough stand – are regarded as an encouraging pointer to America’s interest to promote and protect its relationship with India – a powerful nation in Asia. Donald Trump  still remains popular ; he can still come within an ace of victory.

          Donald Trump or Joe Biden in 2021 in America – either will be a generous, favourable, and advantageous leader supporting India for sure.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Sunday, July 19, 2020 –  6.09 p m.  (IST)

   Tidbit :  ”  India will hold a very special place in our heart ” – President, Donald Trump, in Ahmedabad, February 24, 2020.

 

 

 

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