Coronavirus and the U.S. Presidential Election 2020: Pandemic Producing Rally Effect
[Current Issues and Policies] No. 2020-04 (April 1, 2020)
Dr. WOO Jung-Yeop
Vice President of Research Planning Division
If it were not for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. presidential election would have been the issue that attracted the most attention of the world this year. The biggest news on March 3 (also known as Super Tuesday) was the results of the Democratic primaries. The resurgence of Joe Biden, a former vice president, in the race was a boon which provided a strong vitality to the Democrats who had no powerful issue. However, as the COVID-19 started to overshadow prospects of the U.S. economy, President Donald Trump proposed policies to hold the economy from falling apart as much as possible. President Trump apparently looked forward to seeing a “rally effect,” which refers to a political phenomenon of increased short-term support of the President during a crisis, by creating a logic that his strong policies would safely secure Americans. A strong economic stimulus of the Trump administration could activate a positive “rally effect,” which leads to the support of the administration in an unprecedented crisis. But, in the worst-case scenario, this COVID-19 could become a double-edged sword for the President since Trump would have to take full responsibility of the crisis.
※ Translator’s note: This is a summarized unofficial translation of the original paper which was written in Korean. All references should be made to the original paper.
※ This article is written based on the author’s personal opinions and does not reflect the views of the Sejong Institute.