Policy Beyond Politics – US Elections 2020

Follow the US elections with ELF’s #TransAtlanticLab! Thinkers and analysts will talk about Policy Beyond Politics: what matters most and is discussed the least.

On The Agenda

On the Agenda 9 – USA Presidential Elections: what does it mean for Europe?

Liberal Europe Podcast

Episode 53 and Episode 56: Ricardo Silvestre (Movimento Liberal Social) talks with Daniela Melo, lecturer of social sciences at Boston University, about the elections before and after the results of the US elections.


“The US election showed the astonishing resilience of a decentralised political system against the abuse of centralised power. An army of dutiful county officials made sure that no influence from the White House whatsoever could harm the legitimacy of this election. But the outcome also showed that the populist Trump presidency wasn‘t an accident. Populism will stay and is, if anything, more influencial today than it was in 2016. Both aspects carry important lessons for the European Union: Centralising political power in a technocratic bubble in Brussels is a huge risk for the future of our European democracies.”

Steffen Dähne, Head Of Division, FDP Group in the Bundestag

“If we consider Joe Biden’s previous political background, he will continue the line of Obama and Bush, a transatlantic position of expansion in all areas.
In any case, we could say that Joe Biden would be a global player, not a national player. We can hope that the new president will also have a clearer concept of US-EU cooperation.
And for the election itself: the choice is America‘s!!!”

Birshen Ibryamova, Executive Director, Liberal Integration Foundation

“With many races still undecided because of the tight vote counts, two things stand out to me about this election. Firstly, this is the second election in a row in which pundits, the media and pollsters have confidently predicted a nation-wide Democratic win. This year especially, the seemingly irrational exuberance reached a fever pitch, with talk of a blue wave and polls showing Biden winning by double digits in some swing states. The same can be said of the Senate and House races, many predicted Senate Democrats flipping up to 6 or 7 seats (it currently stands at a draw, with each party taking over one seat), and the House Democrats increasing their majority by 5-10 seats (in fact, they majority looks like it will decrease slightly). The inaccuracy of these predictions makes me think there is something to the Republican claims of media bias, and a real problem of group-think or an inside-the -beltway mind-set where the political class and media elite create an echo chamber where they reinforce each other’s ideas until reality is difficult to ascertain. And I say this from a point of self-reflection as well. After speaking with countless pollsters and political experts over the last weeks and months, plus consumption of copious amounts of media, virtually all skewed heavily towards a large Democratic win, it became difficult to believe anything otherwise. These echo chambers are present on the right as well, with each party’s supporters living in their own media & social bubbles. That brings me to my second point, the unimaginably close 50-50 split amongst voters in swing states. When hundreds or thousands of votes, amongst millions cast, are determining the outcomes of elections, that is evidence of a deep cleavage in American society in these states that sit upon a knife’s edge. Despite over $14 billion spent in the Presidential, Senate and House races nationwide, we end up with what is essentially a tie. In the Senate especially, with 8 of the 10 most expensive Senate races ever in 2020, the balance of the U.S. Senate looks to essentially remain unchanged with the loss of one incumbent Democrat and the loss of one incumbent Republican. Although long-term trend lines appear to favour Democrats (for example, Texas has become more and more Democrat in every election, but is still comfortably Republican), the divisions in American society are not going away, no matter who wins the Presidential election. The most troubling result of these deep-seated divisions is, because of the likelihood of a GOP majority in the Senate, we are virtually assured more gridlock in Congress, no matter who wins the Presidential election.”

Alex Sarnowski, Policy Officer & Congressional Liaison, Political, Security & Development Section of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States of America

“The US presidential election on November 3 is crucial in the most literal sense. No matter who will win, Europe and the United States are bound to strengthen the transatlantic bond. Only then, we will be able to overcome the multiple global challenges that we are facing today.”

Valentin Tonchev, Parliamentary Advisor of Ilhan Kyuchyuk, MEP

“The transatlantic relationship is in worse shape than any moment in recent history. For the first time in the post-Cold War period, America’s European allies are wondering whether the U.S. believes in the liberal international order and Euro-Atlantic institutions. They are wondering whether the U.S. shares the same values regarding democracy and rule of law. This election could determine whether a reset is possible or whether we are on the path towards a full-blown rupture.”

Spencer P. Boyer, Director of the Washington Office – The Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law

Read here his article “Here We Go Again: Russia Gears Up to Interfere in 2020 Election With Coronavirus Disinformation” for Foreign Policy

“Even if Joe Biden is elected President, he would be constrained by structural shifts in US foreign policy and domestic concerns. Consequently, the US should be far more supportive of a stronger Europe that is more capable of taking responsibility on its own and working with the US as a key partner on a host of regional and global issues. Here the is an opportunity to reinvent the traditional transatlantic agenda and upgrading the EU-US relationship to make it more strategic in nature and better able to deal with evolving issues such as technology, China, multilateral reform, and climate.”

Erik Brattberg, Director of the Europe Program and Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Read here his article “Reimagining Transatlantic Relations” for Carnegie

Listen here the special episode of the #LiberalEuropePodcast by Ricardo Silvestre (Movimento Social Liberal) with Daniela Melo, lecturer of social sciences, Boston University.

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