A jostled campaign, truncated nomination conventions, a candidate hospitalized, results unveiled not on the night of the vote but four days later: the 2020 US presidential election was one of the very first major ballots to be overlooked by the waves of Covid-19 and disturbed by their effects.
The virus weighed unevenly on the two main candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Prisoner of a campaign strategy initially centered on the good economic results recorded before the start of the epidemic in the United States, the outgoing Republican president tried, first of all, to deny its seriousness in order to avoid the yet inevitable shutdown of the country, reviving criticism of its ability to govern.
If he resigned himself at the beginning of the spring to suspend his campaign meetings which had been, in 2016, the main instrument of mobilization of his electorate, Donald Trump very quickly took them back after a bitter fiasco in Tulsa (Oklahoma), in June 2020, where he spoke to a sparse audience as his campaign team announced tens of thousands of worshipers. This insistence was made in defiance of the recommendations of its own health authorities, moreover questioned by a large part of its supporters, even elected Republicans.
A virtual nomination convention for Biden
During the last weeks of the campaign, he regularly held two meetings a day, without the slightest gauge, or obligation to wear a mask for his followers, including in key states facing a resurgence of the epidemic, such as Wisconsin, in October. And there is also regularly stigmatized the director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, yet a pillar of the White House crisis cell formed after the start of the epidemic.
Conversely, Joe Biden set himself the goal during the campaign of strict compliance with federal instructions, in unison with his electorate. First confined to his state of election, Delaware, then sporting the mask that Donald Trump refused, at the same time, to wear in public, at each of his appearances, the Democratic candidate limited his meetings to rally-in, automobile gatherings allowing its supporters to respect the recommended physical distances. His investiture convention was entirely virtual, unlike that of his opponent. The situation created thus masked one of its weaknesses: its least capacity compared to Donald Trump to ignite the crowds.
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In the United States, a 2020 presidential campaign completely upset by the health crisis