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September 2020: Key issues mount domestically and globally as 2020 election approaches

The Brief

September 15, 2020

With the U.S. presidential election less than two months away, the school's experts are addressing critical aspects of the race ranging from voting to the candidates’ foreign policy approaches.

Assistant Professor of International Development Daniel Honig discussed how COVID-related anxiety could impact the election in a Johns Hopkins Hub interview, noting “higher risk groups are likely to be less willing to show up at the polls, which would affect the composition of the electorate and the eventual winner of the election.” 
 
Since the pandemic will force Americans to decide whether to vote by mail or in person, Assistant Professor of International Relations and European Studies Lisel Hintz warned in The Atlantic that people should be on the lookout for efforts that are “pervasive, systemic, deliberate, and widespread” that could negatively impact voting. 
 
Director of SAIS Asia Programs Devesh Kapur argued in The Hindu that majority of voters have decided who they will vote for, but added Senator Kamala Harris’ addition to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s ticket “will make a difference with undecided Indian voters.” 
 
Senior Fellow of International Affairs and Agora Fellow in Residence Anne Applebaum examined President Donald Trump’s campaign ads featuring violence between protesters and law enforcement, writing in The Atlantic that those scenes send a message which “appeals to that part of the population that prizes safety over all else.” 
 
In considering the foreign policy differences between the two presidential candidates, Acting Associate Director of the American Foreign Policy Program Charles Stevenson told Voice of America President Trump has practiced an assertive unilateralism while former Vice President Biden wants to return to an “international, cooperative, pro-alliance model of diplomacy.” 
 
Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Institute Carla Freeman explained that both presidential candidates have similar concerns about China during her appearance on Bloomberg Markets and Finance, but stressed a potential Biden administration “will look for grounds to cooperate where it can with China.” (Skip to the 1:58:00 mark)
 
The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing and Communications.