Civil unrest in the age of coronavirus

The 2020 race for the White House took place in a deeply divided country, with President Donald Trump and candidate Joe Biden offering two distinct visions of America.

And while all countries are facing the damage caused by Covid-19 on their economy and health system, the U.S. is also battling with levels of social unrest not experienced since the 1960s. These tensions are the direct result of social inequalities that are rooted in systemic racism. The coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated a long-standing problem.

Q&A: 1. People from racial and ethnic minority groups have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 because of social determinants such as poverty and healthcare access. What specific solutions were put forward by candidates to deal with this systemic problem? 

2. The final jobs report before Election Day showed mixed results. Unemployment rate decreased (it fell to 7.9%) but hiring also slowed down notably. The US economy seems to be recovering slowly but will it be enough to boost Trump’s chances of winning?

3. Trump has staked his reelection in part on the economy, and numbers are not as disastrous as one might expect during a virus outbreak. However, reports show that women are quitting their jobs at much higher rates than men. How will this situation affect women voting? 

4. In the wake of Back Lives Matter protests, we saw a wide reckoning with systemic racism and police violence. Will it have an effect on voter turnout in black communities? how about young adult voting? 

The coronavirus outbreak came rocking a very unstable boat. For both candidates, it was an all-hands-on-deck situation. Here is a look back at how they handled this crisis.

Q&A: 1. During the campaign, a series of surveys showed that most Americans did not approve of the way President Trump handled the coronavirus pandemic. He even lost support among some of his key constituencies. Despite those damning numbers, he would not change his strategy. Why is that?

2. Can a populist playbook be any match for coronavirus?

3. Will Biden’s cautious strategy be regarded as a sign of weakness?

4. Is it fair to say that President Trump’s actions were met by re-actions from candidate Biden? And if so, will this defensive strategy be enough to help Biden win the election? 

5. A few weeks ago, the White House announced that Trump and some of his closest aides contracted the virus. The political and geopolitical implications of this national security issue could have been disastrous but he managed to bounce back. In your opinion, what will be the impact of this rapid recovery on American voters? 

Julie Malfoy, Florian Mestres, Mathilde Muschel, Susie Muselet, Philippine Thibaudault, Emma Rodot