US Election 2020 Media Library

"Beyond the Campaign Trail: The Future of the American Presidency"

Virtual Discussion with David Frum from The Atlantic and Peter Baker from The New York Times

On October 9, 2020, AmCham Germany co-hosted a discussion with David Frum, Staff Writer for The Atlantic, and Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times, as a part of the Road to Election Night virtual event series. The discussion, which was moderated by Vendeline von Bredow, European Business and Finance Correspondent at The Economist, focused on the topic: "Looking Beyond the Campaign Trail: The Future of the American Presidency".

At the beginning of the discussion, David Frum provided insight into the status of economic package talks surrounding COVID-19. Due to the collapse of such talks, President Trump's favorability is likely to decrease, as many Americans have been left with little economic support during the pandemic. Frum also noted how this election is likely to see a large increase in turnout: Over 150 million Americans are expected to vote, compared to 125-130 million from 2016. Moreover, if election polling is accurate, Trump is likely to witness a deficit of 10-12 million popular votes. Finally, Frum gave an overview of the electoral map in the US and how this is changing. In contrast to speaking of blue states versus red states, he noted that the change is actually occuring in cities versus rural areas.

Peter Baker also spoke about electoral polls and the changing demographics in the US; however, he also pointed out that state polls were not taken into consideration in the 2016 election, leading to Trump's surprise victory. Too many institutions took a small lead for Hillary Clinton and extrapolated it beyond what the numbers were indicating. Nevertheless, Baker noted that the numbers are not in Trump's favor and that no incumbent historically has witnessed such low ratings. In terms of electoral strategies, Trump is hoping to replicate his victory from four years ago - that is, win the electoral vote rather than the popular vote. He also drew attention to the problem that absentee voting versus physical voting will present: The count on election night could be incomplete, especially if important swing states do not count all of their absentee ballots until shortly after the election.

Click here to watch the entire discussion online

The event was co-hosted with the Aspen Institute, the American Academy in Berlin, the Atlantik-Brücke, the American Council on Germany, the Deutsche-Atlantische Gesellschaft, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung, the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, AmerikaHaus Nordrhein-Westfalen and amerikahaus. 

We'd like to thank the speakers as well as all participants for such an insightful discussion!