Index > Briefing
Monday, February 24, 2020
ANBOUND's observations on the 2020 U.S. Election

On February 22, Bernie Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont has won the 2020 Nevada Democratic caucuses with more than 40% of the votes. Meanwhile, Former Vice President Joe Biden has seen improvement of his recent situation by getting 20% of the vote, ranked to be the second most popular after Sanders. Since the end of 2019, ANBOUND research team has been keeping track of the 2020 U.S. election. While the election will not officially begin for another 9 months, we have prepared some preliminary observations regarding this election.

1. Donald Trump’s prestige and appeal within the Republican Party have almost reached the peak. There is no doubt for Trump as a Republican candidate in the 2020 election.

2. The impact of Trump’s impeachment did not actually end. ANBOUND previously pointed out that the top members of the Republican Party’s choice to “safeguard” Trump actually postponed the real “judgment” to the general election. However, in this process of “ignoring public opinions” and “ignoring the facts”, the Republicans have brought tremendous pressure on themselves. With Ukrainegate now confirmed to be mostly true, and more importantly after the White House was acquitted by the Senate, there was no slightest intention for Trump to “stay away from the limelight”. Instead, Trump ditches two impeachment witnesses attending the congressional inquiry hearing and even fired a brother of one of the witnesses. Subsequently, the White House asked a senior Defense Department official to resign because this person had taken an unfavorable action towards the White House during the impeachment investigation. In Roger Stone’s recent case that has grabbed much attention, Trump has made direct intervention in the judicial process which has led Attorney General William Barr to consider resigning, and Barr has been one of Trump’s most loyal supporters. Coincidentally, according to a number of U.S. media reports, U.S. intelligence officials have recently reported behind closed doors to the members of Congress that Russia has again trying to interfere in the U.S. election campaign in an attempt to help Trump to win the re-election. Trump was furious after knowing the above. He fired the director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, and appointed one of his loyal supporters Richard Grenell, to temporarily serve as the new acting director of National Intelligence. In a way, Trump’s approach is almost exactly the same as what the Democratic impeachment committee has predicted, which will undoubtedly further damage the Republican prospects in the 2020 presidential election, as well as in the congressional elections.

3. The situation within the Democratic Party has gradually becoming clear. With Sanders scoring one victory after another in recent days, the senator who calls himself a “democratic socialist” has become increasingly likely to be a Democrat candidate. Currently in the national polls, Sanders has led the former vice president Biden by more than 10 percentage points and ranks the first. More importantly, the Democratic Party has been divided into two factions, i.e. the “far-left” led by Sanders, then there is the centrist top-three, namely Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg. From another perspective, the reason why Sanders can gain a huge advantage is that the votes within the centrist camp are too scattered. This means that the final democratic candidate will likely be between Sanders and the other three.

4. While it is still too early to discuss the final general election, but it is certain that no matter who represents the Democratic Party, Trump will face considerable pressure if he wants to be re-elected. If Sanders were to run for the Democratic Party, the 2020 U.S. election would actually be a confrontation between the “far-left” and the “far-right” populism. Similar to Trump, Sanders also has a large number of “loyal fans”, and in terms of age distribution, Sanders supporters are younger and more dynamic, so the voting turnout rate may be higher. Sanders’ “socialism” undoubtedly is quite attractive to the blue-collar workers of the Rust Belt. Among the centrists, all three have their own advantages: Biden is known for his seniority, Buttigieg is young and promising, and has “American political correctness” in his own right, while Bloomberg is wealthy. Trump’s controversial four years and his own personality traits are increasing a hampering factor to his reelection. His biggest advantage is that the U.S. economy is currently quite strong.

5. This election will have far-reaching impact on the American society. It is worth thinking that what kind of President will really fit the interest of the United States. It has been reported that U.S. intelligence officials recently revealed to Sanders he too is also on Moscow’s support list, though Sanders later said that Russia should stay away from U.S. domestic politics, which is very different from Trump’s attitude. Assuming this is true, why did Russia choose Trump and Sanders as its targets? The biggest reason is that no matter who wins among these two candidates in the end, the United States will fall into further divisions, and the policy focus will inevitably remain in domestic affairs. In other words, if we think from the perspective of the United States, what the United States currently needs is a President who can bridge the gap in society to a certain extent, otherwise it would fall further into the confinement of “internal strives” and will lose the initiative in the “bigger picture”. In the past four years, there has been noticeable “cracks” in the once stable American alliance system. Russia, once facing dire international situation, has also undergone structural changes. Therefore, looking at the angles of international politics and geography, for the United States, Biden and Buttigieg are actually the best candidates for the President. The former is more experienced, while the latter will bring more hope in reuniting the Unites States. But the problem is that in today’s political ecology, centrist candidates have a natural disadvantage when facing radical candidates, not to mention that there are still differences of interest within the centrist faction. Therefore, the U.S. domestic system, and the U.S.-dominated global system are increasingly become contradictory.

Final analysis conclusion:

As time progresses, ANBOUND’s research team will continue to keep track of the U.S. election and revise our views on the basis of this article. As for now it can be seen that 2020 is undoubtedly an extraordinary year. What we have to realize is that, although China’s domestic affairs are very important, ignoring the potential changes in international politics and their future possibilities will likely have irreparable effects in the future.

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