The Guardian first 100 First Thing election special: if Biden wins, what will his first 100 days look like?

October 30, 2020

If he defeats Trump next week, Biden’s early months in office will be consumed by coronavirus and its economic fallout. Plus, why evangelicals are sticking with Trump

Biden campaigns at a drive-in rally in Georgia.
 Biden campaigns at a drive-in rally in Georgia. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Good morning.

If Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump next week, he will take office during a global pandemic and America’s most serious economic crisis for a century. And when he’s dealt with those, he will still have to rebuild US relationships abroad, grapple with the nation’s increasingly dysfunctional democratic institutions – and face the existential threat of climate change.

Few presidents have faced such a daunting task in their first 100 days, write Daniel Strauss and Julian Borger – yet these spiralling crises also present an opportunity to make sweeping and ambitious change on the scale of FDR’s New Deal. Contrary to popular belief, argues Jeffrey Frankel, Democrats have historically been better for the US economy than Republicans – and Biden has a stronger economic plan than Trump.

The Guardian’s view on the 2020 election is simple: Joe Biden is America’s only hope:

Anything other than a vote for Mr Biden is a vote to unleash a supercharged Trumpism. All pretence of civility would be dropped. The divides of race, class and sex would become even wider. Mr Trump is a symptom of America’s decline. Finding a solution to this problem begins with a vote for Mr Biden.

  • As for the first 100 days of a second Trump term, his hardline adviser Stephen Miller is said to have drafted a series of executive orders too unpopular for a president seeking re-election, but ready to be signed swiftly in “shock and awe” style if Trump wins on 3 November.

We may be witnessing the highest election turnout since 1908

People wait in line to cast their ballots during early voting in West Hempstead, New York.
 People wait in line to cast their ballots during early voting in West Hempstead, New York. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

With less than a week to go until election day, about 70 million Americans have already cast their votes: more than half the total turnout in 2016. Experts say the US may be on track for its highest voter turnout since the Taft-Bryan election of 1908.

After the US supreme court blocked the counting of mail-in ballots received after election day in Wisconsin, Democrats across the country have stepped up their efforts to convince voters to deliver their absentee ballots by hand, rather than rely on a hamstrung US postal service.

  • Trump’s director of election-day operations, Mike Roman, is claiming without evidence that Democrats are using mail ballots to try to steal the election in Pennsylvania.

  • Michigan court has reversed the state’s recent ban on carrying guns within 100ft of polling stations, which was introduced after armed Trump supporters announced they would “monitor” voting centres.

  • Doug Jones, the Democratic US senator for Alabama, has staked his re-election bid on emphasising the threat to voter rights, particularly in his native deep south.

Trump said Covid numbers are ‘way down’ – they’re way up

 Trump says Covid numbers ‘way down’ despite surge in cases as US passes 226,000 deaths – video

Trump told a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday that US Covid-19 numbers were “way down”, as the White House published a list of the administration’s accomplishments in 2020, which included a section called “Ending the Covid-19 pandemic”.

In fact, almost half a million people have contracted Covid-19 in the US over the past seven days alone, with the midwest breaking records for new cases and hospital admissions. The US death toll from the disease stands at 226,000.

Most people globally want Trump to lose – except a far-right minority

Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien with the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro - a Trump acolyte - in Brasilia last week.
 Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien with the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro – a Trump acolyte – in Brasilia last week. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images

As Cas Mudde writes, “US presidential elections are not just national elections; they are global elections, too.” Most of the international community would be glad to see the back of Trump, but far-right leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil have publicly expressed their support for the president’s re-election campaign.