It’s an election year, and in normal circumstances, it would bring with it a series of dates that are set in stone to orchestrate the equal spread of politics and patriotism in the lead up to the November elections.
Party conventions, primaries, debates, rallies, and all manner of campaign brouhaha are set in stone and well in advance of the anticipation; the most critical decision put before a democratic society brings: choosing its head of state.
What happens, though, when it’s not a normal circumstance? A typical election year? When there is…oh, say.. a pandemic?
Does one then steadfastly adhere to predetermined progression? ‘Stay the course,’ to borrow the phrase popularised by United States president George W. Bush, in defense of his war policy in Iraq,
Alternatively, does one veer off said course and conform to the demands of a catastrophic situation. Allow proceedings to be dictated by necessity and existing circumstances in the best interest of all those involved?
To be or not to be, that’s the burgeoning question that is now underpinning the race for the 2020 US Presidential elections, which are under threat amidst the growing coronavirus crisis that is overwhelming certain American States and wreaking havoc on every aspect of life.
The NBA is postponed. The NHL is postponed. MLB, MLS, and every major sports league are postponed. Like dominos, events are falling off the calendar. Now, the Olympics – one of the biggest sporting events – is the latest addition to the pile of events postponed indefinitely, proving that seemingly immovable dates can be moved.
Across the pond, Brexit talks have been suspended. The UK government has taken an early Easter break, and so on. There, where the coronavirus outbreak is deemed to have a two-week leg up on North America, the government’s business has been forced into submission. No longer could it ignore that adapting and changing to the times was in order and the only appropriate response to the spread of the virus’s fears.
In the United States, it’s business as usual (for now) as far as the November elections. The dates appear to be holding firm with those involved and their leading proponents arguing they cannot be moved.
Former vice president and democratic front-runner Joe Biden recently dismissed the possibility of postponement, insisting the election should move forward as scheduled despite increasing evidence the crisis may not be resolved in time.
In direct response to the idea of postponement, Biden said ‘There’s no need to do that,” Biden said. “You know, we voted in the middle of the Civil War, we voted in the middle of World War I and II.” He added, “The idea of postponing the electoral process seems to be out of the question.” [Source: Reuters].
Not only is Biden blithely discounting the fact that several states already have postponed primaries deep into June and that many major cities are in some form of a lockdown or urged to practice social distancing edits, but also disregarding just how the Coronavirus is already impacting his race against Bernie Sanders for the nomination within the democratic party.
In an unprecedented twist, the first one-on-one Democratic Presidential debate between Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders was held under closed doors and televised to a national audience instead. It remains to be seen whether Coronavirus will prove to be more than a footnote in summer events scheduled.
If Donald Trump’s prophecy comes to pass, it won’t be the case. Trump is steadfastly insisting that America’s handle over Coronavirus is something to hang one’s hat on; even going so far as to suggest the country will have turned a corner by Easter, which, if it does come to pass, would arguably negate any need for rescheduling the November elections.
That he’s wildly optimistic hasn’t gone unnoticed. Of course, nobody wants to reschedule something as momentous as the presidential elections, but if the virus-mandated limits continue to govern how society goes about its day, it may prove an unavoidable decision that will need to be placed before Congress to sanction in formal legislation.