Election Watch - Mar 18, 2020
Biden Takes the Lead, and Coronavirus Takes Over
Was it just two weeks ago that Bernie Sanders seemed to be the heavy favorite to win the Democratic nomination for President? Not anymore. Things can change quickly in politics... and in life. It was also two weeks ago that college basketball teams around the country were making plans for the March Madness tournament, and Disneyland was a California amusement park that was actually open.
Sometimes, life surprises you.
South Carolina proved to be the big win Joe Biden needed, and three days later, that momentum pushed him to victories in most of the Super Tuesday states. A week later, he won most of the states again, and now leads in the delegate race 889 to 739. Looking at the states yet to vote, pundits agree it would take a minor miracle for anyone but Joe Biden to be the eventual nominee.
It seems that Democrats have turned away from Bernie Sanders and the socialist option he was championing. However, a close examination of Joe Biden reveals he has adopted many of the policies of his party’s left-wing.
On abortion, Biden no longer supports the Hyde Amendment, which keeps tax dollars from funding abortions. He also supports legalized abortion up to the point of birth -- or perhaps even after birth. Just a few weeks ago, a bill failed to pass the Senate that would have required doctors to provide life-saving measures for all babies born alive, even if the child was a survivor of abortion. All the Democrat Senators who ran for President voted against it. Biden is no longer a Senator, but so far, he has not spoken out against the Democratic party on behalf of these babies.
This is an especially horrific stand to take. The stories of these abortion survivors are amazing, and the idea that a child should be left to die in the cold or be murdered inside a medical clinic as they fight for life is heart-wrenching. Joe Biden will likely be asked about his view as the campaign goes on.
Some people love President Donald Trump for his brash, tell-it-like-it-is style. On the other hand, temperament and word choice are also his most consistent criticisms. Ironic perhaps that the Democrats’ top choice shows many of the same characteristics. On the campaign trail this week, and earlier, Biden has gotten into profanity-laced arguments with voters. As much as opponents dislike the tone, I can’t help but wonder if a large portion of the country prefers it, as long as the speaker is on their side. We seem to be voting for the bombastic style exemplified by both Biden and Trump.
Lately, Joe Biden has taken an extreme position on gun control, stating that he will take away “assault rifles,” which he seems to define as anything other than a shotgun or hunting rifle. This topic was the source of the conflict with the worker mentioned above.
But the latest health crisis might tell us a lot about how Joe Biden would respond as President. This week he criticized the President’s move to halt travel from Europe, and earlier to halt travel from China. He called it xenophobia. But is it really xenophobic to keep people from infected areas out of the country for a while? This is an interesting stand to take, and the coming weeks will show if the public agrees that those travel restrictions were reasonable or not.
The coronavirus will also be forcing Joe Biden, and well as President Trump, off the campaign trail. Not a moment too soon for Biden as he appeared to be in need of rest. More so than any other candidate, he seemed to be suffering from memory lapses in recent weeks. This has led some to wonder if he could have trouble maintaining the rigors of a campaign for another eight months.
The wild card now is the coronavirus, and the reaction to it is unprecedented in recent US history. In a highly unusual move, two states, Louisiana and Georgia, have delayed primaries that were scheduled for Tuesday, March 16th.
The stock market has seen a huge drop. That’s usually bad for the sitting President and his party. But the market crashed even worse in October 1987. The underlying fundamentals were still strong, and it rebounded. The next year George Bush was elected President to replace Ronald Reagan. So, no one knows how all this could affect the election or the country. It could have a massive effect, or be nearly forgotten by the end of summer.
For his part, Bernie Sanders has also weighed in on the virus. He has called it a major crisis, likening the potential death toll to the American war losses in WWII. And like President FDR in that day, he wants massive spending orchestrated from the federal government to fight it. In a controversial move, he has called for a government "authority of experts" to take over from President Trump and the task force he has put together. It’s hard to see under what authority this could be done and obviously, it’s extremely unlikely this would ever happen as it would be met with strong opposition from the President.
Sanders has also called for increasing government control over businesses. “The pharmaceutical industry must be told in no uncertain terms that the medicines that they manufacture for this crisis will be sold at cost.” If he truly means that he would require a business to work for essentially no pay, that would be a major departure from the current free-market system.
The economic impact of the reactions to the coronavirus will certainly be disruptive, and perhaps significant. Sports arenas have shut down. Amusement parks, movie theaters, schools, churches -- all closing. These are major disruptors, and businesses will suffer and individuals likely will experience loss of income. The good thing is America remains free and millions of people are working together to find new and better ways to serve each other, even in the face of this virus and a changing market, and it’s a recipe for long-term success.
But above all, we know that God is in control. No matter who wins the election, no matter what happens with the coronavirus, God’s promise remains. We remember the words of Jesus. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
We encourage you to join My Faith Votes and Christians across the nation in praying for our country. Watch the special event, America, It’s Time to Pray, and download the COVID-19 Pandemic Prayer guide and a free E-Book on the history of prayer in our nation for you to use during these unprecedented times. https://www.myfaithvotes.org/national-day-of-prayer-service
Caleb Backholm is a married father of three and a small business owner. A “political nerd” since childhood, he first started publishing social and political news commentaries in the Jr. High school newspaper and has been writing ever since. He attended Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN where he studied Broadcast Communications, Biblical Studies, and History. Originally from Washington State, he currently lives in Ft. Worth, Texas and is a student at Southwestern Seminary. Caleb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.