How do the 2016 and 2020 election campaigns compare?

The 2020 US presidential election is fast approaching, with nails being bitten by both the Democratic and Republican parties ahead of what promises to be a tightly-fought Election Day. The current presidential election odds place Democratic candidate Joe Biden as the favourite to win control of the White House, but Trump will be hoping he can upset those odds when push comes to shove.

It’s been a bitterly contested election campaign so far, with no love lost between the pair of candidates. The first presidential debate was a heated affair, with both men interrupting each other and making their opinions of each other known. There is one televised presidential debate remaining, and this will be key in determining how the election pans out.

Trump, of course, has experience of a similar campaign in the 2016 election. That too was a hard-fought, often bitter contest, as he took on Hillary Clinton and ultimately overcame the odds to win the election, despite the Democratic candidate leading in the polls for much of the campaign.

Biden finds himself leading himself in both the polls and the betting odds, but if we compare the 2016 election one to the current one that is playing out before us, it’s easy to draw parallels between the two, and Trump may be clinging to this as a cause for optimism ahead of his bid to earn another four years in office. 

Back then, few seriously thought Trump would win the election, perhaps he didn’t even truly believe he had a chance of beating Clinton. But as the weeks went on and Election Day got ever closer, Clinton found herself embroiled in more and more controversy about her past conduct in politics, and Trump fully capitalised on this, highlighting his perception of Clinton’s political ability in his campaign rallies. 

In the end, despite losing the popular vote, Trump won a relatively comfortably majority in the Electoral College, which was enough to defeat Clinton and win the White House. This time around, however, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Biden fall into the same kind of traps as Clinton stumbled on. After all, Biden served as Vice-President for eight years alongside Barack Obama, and so there is already an established level of trust among Democratic voters that he is a reliable pair of hands. 

With that in mind, it’s likely to be a much closer affair this time around in terms of the Electoral College. Trump is not expected to retain every state he won from the Democrats in 2016, with some expected to swing back to blue, and so Biden will be hoping to do damage in key states like Pennsylvania and Florida, which carry significant numbers of Electoral College votes. That is where Clinton lost the election, but Biden will have learned from her mistakes and will be concerting all his efforts towards running a controversy-free campaign between now and Election Day.

The main parallel between 2016 and 2020 will give Trump confidence, and that is the fact that he is second favourite with just weeks to go. We’ve been here before, and only time will tell whether history repeats itself in the end, or if the White House is destined for change. 

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