Index > Briefing
Thursday, November 05, 2020
Chan Kung: Will America Descend into Chaos after the Election?
Chan Kung

Based on more and more information from various sources, some senior Chinese leaders appear to believe that the competition between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in the U.S. election will cause the United States to fall into chaos and even create a "power vacuum." There is also a lot of information from related parties showing that many so-called authoritative scholars engaging in strategic research in China also hold the same view. They believe that after the U.S. election, American society will be severely torn apart, and those who support Trump will definitely choose to use force, and civil war could even break out.

Such preposterous remarks are not worthy of being taken seriously, because they are originated from the opinions and fabrications of the overseas Chinese community. Overseas Chinese, especially Chinese in the United States, are complex, with political and ideological differences. Some of them are elderly from rural society, and almost all of them are the representatives of anti-intellectualism, as they refuse to embrace rationality, or believe in the establishment. For them, the American election is a drama; the more chaotic the better, this is the fundamental reason why they fabricated such narratives. When there is a huge amount of such misinformation circulating in China and affects the decision-making level, it may cause serious misjudgments.

In the actual situation after the U.S. presidential election, the situation purported in such narratives will not appear. The reason for this is very simple: if Trump's anti-establishment faction has really reached the point where it can occupy the majority of American society, he will not lose at all. On the contrary, if he really loses, there will not be the so-called non-transfer of power. In other words, Biden will repeat the same process of how Trump was elected and took over the power. The divide of American social fabrics does not just appear today, and it has always existed in the past. Such divide has not caused chaos in the past after the election, and it will not happen today. In addition, Trump's supporters are still not the majority in the United States. When he became the President, Trump won no more votes than Hillary Clinton. Trump was the President by electoral votes, and no one set him up deliberately with obstacles to prevent him from entering the White House. In fact, the White House is an independent body, and while the President has influence over it, such influence has its limit. Therefore, the White House is independent and always operates according to its own rules. In the scenario that if Trump is unwilling to leave the White House, only the White House administration can get him out, without the National Guard being involved.

Such common sense in geopolitical and strategic research is now completely being ignored in those remarks circulating in China. This is worrying as the current information chaos may affect China's decision-making and may lead to misjudgments.

The reality is that the outcome of the U.S. election still remains uncertain, and personally I have always insisted on this view: Biden, who leads by a large margin, is not invulnerable. This does not depend on how "clean" Biden is, but on how Trump operates and how the Democratic Party checks and balances. There is still the possibility for Trump to reverse the overall situation at the last moment (of course, his actual behavior and his character show that such a change of situation has fewer chances to happen). Some of the current information, such as Biden's slippage, what his son did in Ukraine, etc., are half-truth and half-falsehood. The final result depends on Trump's political operations. For instance, Biden's several trips over his own tongue are because he is a stutterer since young, and later tried to overcome them though the impact has always been there. As for the corruption incident of his son, as long as Biden is willing, he can disassociate with it at any time. Since he does not do that now, it is more likely that Biden's camp believes that the incident is not important at all and cannot create major impact. As for the outcome of the U.S. election, we predict that Biden will win, and we have not changed this judgement. I would still say that both Biden and Trump have 50-50 chances to win, with Biden faring slightly better.


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