2020 Political Roundtable: Trump vs. Biden
The pandemic brought record early voter turnout, stretching official election outcomes for days — but a panel of five statewide political experts resoundingly predicted the day after the election that now-President-elect Biden would be the 46th president of the United States.
On Nov. 4, 2020, Virginia Business held its 14th annual Political Roundtable event. Editor Richard Foster led a livestreamed virtual discussion, sponsored by Cox Communications, with H. Benson “Ben” Dendy III, president of Richmond-based lobbying group Vectre Corp.; James W. “Jim” Dyke Jr., senior state government relations adviser with Richmond-based McGuireWoods Consulting LLC; Stephen Farnsworth, professor and director of the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies; Mark J. Rozell, dean of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government; and Amanda L. Wintersieck, an assistant professor with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Political Science.
With election results still up in the air at the time, panel conversation focused on voter turnout, COVID-19 concerns, economic recovery and the nation’s extreme partisan divide.
Wintersieck broached the idea that states will need to begin considering what future elections may look like, saying Virginia is well-positioned to expand mail-in and early voting for upcoming elections. Dendy agreed that it would be difficult to return to primarily in-person voting after this year introduced a more convenient voting model.
What drove more Virginians to polls this year were concerns about how the Trump administration managed the COVID-19 crisis and its resulting economic fallout, the panelists said.
While Democrats were generally motivated by resistance to the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus, Rozell said, Republicans were willing to “pack together like sardines in a can” in support of President Donald Trump. Some panelists said Biden would provide more promise for economic recovery in Virginia, but Farnsworth said those outcomes would likely vary by industry.
Recovery lies, however, in the hands of both parties and their willingness to work across the aisle, panelists agreed.
“We need people to stand up and say, ‘Let’s live up to the principles of this country,’” Dyke said. “We’re all created equal. We all need to work together. We need to find out how we can coexist in a peaceful world where everyone is given the opportunity to develop to their full potential — and [then] we’ll do much better as a nation.”
Watch the 2020 Political Roundtable at youtube.com/VirginiaBusiness