How COVID-19 Might Affect The 2020 Elections

Kelly McGarry, Staff Writer

Stay-at home orders, social distancing, and toilet paper. The year 2020 only just begun but took quite a big turn with the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands are dying. Many US businesses are temporarily shut down, with some permanently closing. The stock market has also dropped over 20%, becoming an official bear market.

“The economic impact is hard to overstate. Global trade is coming to a halt… just this week 3.3 million people field for unemployment insurance.” Said Seattle Prep AP US Government teacher Mr. Craig Arthur. “On a micro level millions of Americans have lost their income … and the stock market has lost all the value it gained in the last three years.”

Through these incidents, COVID-19 has significantly altered the way the world works, and the 2020 presidential election may be the next big event that is affected by this mysterious virus. According to CNN Politics, election experts believe that the coronavirus may put the ‘safety and integrity’ of the upcoming 2020 elections at risk.

These experts predicted that President Donald Trump will likely be running against Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Congress approved $400 million in federal grants to make changes to the election due to COVID-19 related reasons.  Federal grants are types of aids given out by the U.S. government from their general federal revenue. Any changes made in the election through these federal grants can greatly change the overall outcomes of the election.

Despite these worries, it is very hard to predict exactly how COVID-19 will affect the 2020 election. However, some impacts are already seen. Arthur stated “primaries have been postponed; debates have been canceled. The nominating conventions may not happen this summer. Voter turnout might be affected.”

The COVID-19 outbreak has also brought tension to both sides of the political spectrum. On March 27th both Republicans and democrats joined forces in the Congress to send cash payments to American citizens in order to aid them in the current economic crisis. The Trump administration is also considering creating an ‘enrollment period’ for Obamacare, a program the president was adamant to repeal throughout his political career.

It is important to be aware of the things that are going on in the world, especially during times like this where being self-quarantined at home is the new norm. Yet the places we get our information on COVID-19 can vary greatly from person to person. Those  who identify as left-leaning and right-leaning trust different sources for their information on the virus. Arthur went on to say that, “a poll was taken of likely voters. Those who identified as democrats said their most trusted source for information about the virus were scientists and doctors. President Trump was 14th on their list. But those who were Republicans said the president was their most trusted source for info on the virus.”  He found these findings very interesting as it shows the strong support President Trump has from the republican party, while more left-leaning individuals preferred to listen to doctors and scientists rather than high-level political figures.

Although many changes are already being made or proposed in regards to the election, Arthur stated that it may be “President Trump’s handling of the pandemic in the coming months that may very well determine the outcome of the election,” He continued on to say that the impacts of COVID-19 on the election are hard to predict as of now, as “so much can and will change in the coming months.”