Garrett Byrne, The Gown’s 2020 US Presidential Election pundit

In the shadow of the Founder Fathers’ words: President Trump, Republican nominee, and Democrat Presidential candidate for 2020 went head to head for their first face-to-face debate, 29/9/2020. PD Mary Gash/Reuters/CNBC

2020 has irrefutably been the most tumultuous year of the 21st century.

 The looming US presidential election on November 3rd is unlikely to mitigate this orbit of perpetual chaos in which we presently live.

Who could have conceived a global health pandemic representing the scale of Covid-19 dominating the backdrop of the election to the globes highest political Office.

Since his upset victory in 2016, Trump has presided over the most viscerally divided American population in living memory, distorted the concept of statesmanship and has been exposed as bearing the intrinsic qualities of a con man.

His life boasts a catalogue of dubious activities outside and within politics. Namely, collusion with the Italian-Mafia regarding his landmark 1980’s real estate project and more recently his derisory federal tax contributions whilst President, recently unveiled by the New York Times.

These are profoundly ironic incidences, particularly for a President who bolsters himself on a ‘patriotic’ platform to his electors

Sadly, the carefully calculated pretence of ‘patriotism’ continues to potently resonate with his base, irrespective of the aforementioned facts.

The endurance of this façade is rendered even more unfathomable considering his lifelong evasion of military service. Indeed a commonly held public expectation for one to justify Presidential worthiness.

Further, one cannot eschew how Trumpism has poisoned the broad political psyche of America.  

This has been evocatively evidenced through the appearance of Neo-Nazis in 2017 at Charlottesville; the home of US constitutional architect Jefferson and a meteoric spike in institutional racism found in Police departments across the landscape.

The ‘Unite The Right’ Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in the death of one counter protestor and two Virigina state troopers in a helicopter crash, for many, defined President Trump’s presidency. His failure to condemn extreme elements including, Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members at the rally in August 2017, attracted a backlash, within both Democrat and Republican ranks. PD Edu Bayer/Boston Globe/Mathhew Gilbert

The moral, cultural and political degeneration of the United States would turn the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and other erstwhile statesman from their graves.

The USA was formerly championed as the most accomplished and pioneering democratic system of its time. Candidly, it has now descended into a risible political mockumentary propped up by ultra-partisan US Cable networks such as Fox News and CNN.

This shameful model facilitated by the harrowing lack of political fitness displayed by senior elected representatives on these televised outlets.

The present day Mockumentary format of the US politic couldn’t have been more vividly on display than on the night of Tuesday the 29th September in Cleveland

 The First Presidential debate, an event typically deemed by pundits and citizens alike as key in determining the non-aligned US vote mirrored the character of a modern day pre-fight UFC conference.

Its traditional function hijacked.

In summary, it was at worst marred by a cumulative 73 interruptions from the incumbent Commander in Chief, spending all evening leveling scornful epithets at his opponent and at best, dampened by an unpersuasive Biden performance.

I sat in my house at 3 am, feeling the palpable collective dismay reverberating from across the Atlantic. Yet again the vast majority of decent Americans being freshly subjected to yet another almost routine political farce.  

Simultaneously, I noted my concern mounting at the prospect of Joe Biden inheriting the post-Trump disarray.

The content of this disarray consisting of 33 million Americans left jobless consequent of the pandemic and the eviscerated health insurance policies of millions of lower-middle income families.

From forensically observing his conduct throughout the campaign for over a year now, I can only justly paint Biden as an insipid, cognitively questionable and sub-intellectual man.

He has failed to persuasively articulate the radical solutions much needed to remedy this near irreparably fractured super-power, never mind being unable to correctly identify his wife.

Astonishingly, a few weeks ago, he made an utterly imprudent and arguably racist remark when responding to a Black prospective female voter on live Cable network TV. Biden recklessly claimed ‘if you don’t vote for Joe Biden… then you aren’t black.’

Indubitably, this is a ridiculous choice of vernacular, above all from a Presidential candidate running on an overarching anti-racist, unity ticket.

Also important to note, is that this is Biden’s third attempt for the land’s highest office. His previous two bids culminating in significant humiliation.

 In particular, his 1988 presidential bid came to a rapid conclusion when a New York Times journalist unearthed that he’d copied volumes of a speech by erstwhile Labour leader Neil Kinnock whilst canvassing in Iowa.   

If he wasn’t up to the job 30 years ago, how all of a sudden did the Democrats consider this docile old man the most compelling alternative to the loutish and undeniably charismatic Donald Trump?

Frankly, it is to do with the terminal strategic direction of the Democrat party. From the onset of the Trump presidency, they have remained helplessly polarized over internal factional interests. Instead of being unified in their ambition to remove Trump, they have prioritized waging in on the perennial US culture wars that tend to dictate the domestic news cycle.

Inevitably this has resulted in mixed party messaging, ranging from the moderate Pelosi wing of the party to AOC’s newly mobilized clique of trendy ‘metro-leftist’ cheerleaders.

Throughout watching the course of the campaign, I remain utterly confounded as to why the Democrats did not, at least, consider Michelle Obama as a candidate to counter President Trump’s second bid.

In a video, released on 7/10/20, endorsing the Biden campaign, former First Lady Michelle Obama, lambasted Trump’s presidential record from 2017, labelling it as “a constant drumbeat of fear, division and chaos that’s threatening to spiral out of control.” She highlighted how the racial unrest provoked by the murder of George Floyd under police arrest in May and Trump’s subsequent reaction to it, served to stoke tensions. Trump has pursued the primacy of law and order and has cast that card throughout this second campaign. In a social media statement, President Trump in a warning to middle-class suburbia voters, referencing to Cory Booker’s bill, suggested that if Democrats triumphed it was “Goodbye Suburbs.” PD

Primarily, she is a titan within the realm of popular culture, often was held in higher public esteem (indicated via polls) than her husband whist he was President and is immensely telegenic and assertively intellectual. Ultimately I would suggest that she is the most fitting person to convey the tone and message needed to remodel the tainted fabric of American society, ravaged by the re-arousal racial mistrust and division.

Needles to say, she would have unequivocally annihilated Donald Trump on the national stage (debates) and garnered support from potential anti-Trump non-voters unconvinced by Biden’s competency.

I remain utterly confounded as to why the Democrats did not, at least, consider Michelle Obama as a candidate to counter President Trump’s second bid.

Garrett Byrne

There are although, a few fractional glimmers of optimism indicating that Joe Biden can potentially win the White House.

Biden has an impressive CV as a public servant. This comprises of a 40-year long Senate career, a Vice Presidency under Obama and being chair of many illustrious Congressional committees.

Conversely, Biden harbours extraordinary personal anecdotes from his own life, using them to demonstrate how he is a palatable option for the American people, on the basis of his own resilience in life. A much needed resilience that he vows to harness in order to emerge successfully from this fiendish Pandemic.

Frequently on the campaign trail he has reminisced about the death of his toddler daughter and wife (car accident) literally in the wake of his election to the Senate in the 70s. Later on in life, these tragedies were punctuated by the premature demise of his esteemed Attorney Son Beau Biden in 2015. In fact, Beau Biden was commonly touted in various political quarters to be the next President of the US

On debate night, Biden’s highlight was when he made piercing eye contact with the televised camera, extending empathy to all fellow American citizens afflicted by the Covid 19 health crisis.

Biden paralleled his own personal losses with the grief stricken country, referring simply yet emotively to the ‘empty chairs across kitchen tables’ in the country.

Can this tone of normality and compassion generate enthusiasm amongst disaffected American’s enraged by the administrations cataclysmic mishandling of Coronavirus?

I don’t know.

All I know is that the toxic climate in which this election is being contested, with dog-whistles of corruption, voter fraud and a lack of clarity over whether Trump will concede the White House even if he loses lawfully, reeks of an impending constitutional crisis.

I’d be 75% sure that the outcome of the election will be determined by the USSupreme Court with egoist Attorneys waving their briefcases from all around the country.

Citadel of Crisis, US Supreme Court, Washington D.C. The death of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has provoked yet another political and constiutional crisis. Democrats stress that a replacement nomination should not be made until after the November election. President Trump reserves the Constiutional right to nominate a Justice. Trump’s nominee is US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett from New Orleans. PD Tobin

What a democratic sham this place has become.

Editorial Note

The 2020 Presidential Election campaign has given, even those detached from politics and global affairs, a concurrent reaction of fear and excitement. It is almost akin to binging on a series of Donald Trump’s Apprentice. Who will the US people hire or fire? Much water has passed over the fountains surrounding the White House since Trump enterd in 2017. A candidate who was looked upon by many US citizens as a breath of fresh air, who would quench their exasperation with the elite Liberal US establishment, Trump was the man to lay down the clear blue water between the old and new orders. It was a pipedream, a tragic one at that. He has consistently flouted the most revered and established of US Presidential conventions, embarking on whimsical Twitter tirades against his political and media opponents. The Covid-19 crisis did not mellow his mood and most recently, after testing positive for the virus, he has shown himself yet again to be unconvinced by the science, remarking what did science know. His release from his VIP treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, on 6th October, was an excellently executed piece of political theatrics – Trump style. Descending from the military helicopter, mask adorned and from the balcony of the White House, mask casually removed and unceremoniously fumbled into his pocket. The message portrayed by these images implied, “I am the US President who defeated the China (Covid-19) virus, defeated the odds of my rivals and fake news pundits. I am your President for another, second term.”

This is arguably the first US election in which the stakes have been placed at such a ‘hyper’ high level. It is one to watch.

On Wednesday evening, 7/10/20, the Vice Presidential debate convened from Salt Lake City in Utah. Both serving VP Mike Pence and his Democrat revival Kamala Harris were in attendance. Conducted on a much more civil manner than the Trump-Biden Presidential debate, the heated arguments over the all too familiar issues, dear to the American people, were inevitably invoked – Covid-19 being number one on the agenda.

To keep updated with the latest US 2020 Presidential Election developments, go to the mainstream US News networks’ websites, which provide a variety of political perspectives, liberal to conservative, left to right.



Fox News –


Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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