31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
May 14, 2020 / 08:36

The Chinese factor in the US presidential election

This US campaign against China at this moment is attributable to two reasons.

The Trump administration continues to intensify verbal and propaganda attacks against China in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump and his staff blamed China's mishandling of this matter for the worldwide spread of the pandemic. They went so far to call for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus, and insisted that China would have to take responsibility for the ravages the pandemic has wreaked on the world.

 US President Donald Trump with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. (File)

This US campaign against China at this moment is attributable to two reasons. First, the US has already become not only one of the many but really the epicenter of the pandemic. In a very short time, the US is home to the largest number coronavirus infections and fatalities. And the end of the pandemic in the US is not yet in sight. Until now, Trump's art of dealing with the pandemic has not achieved the results the US urgently needs and President Trump personally hopes to catch. The US economic growth is slowing down and the unemployment rate is fast moving up.

Second, with the looming US presidential election Trump could avail himself of less than half a year to campaign for the presidency which he tries by all means to win. Until now, his campaign strategy consists of two pillars. One is his troop of core voters who would go with him through thick and thin; and the other is the impressive economic growth and low unemployment rate. The second pillar already begins to wobble while the first one is becoming more and more unstable in those states Trump must win to ensure his reelection.

Since these two reasons seem to start failing him, Trump now focuses his campaigning strategy on China. His calculation is simply to blame China for the pandemic ordeal in the US, making China a scapegoat for his poor handling with the pandemic. In doing so, he could further combine his attacks on China with his campaign against former Vice President Joe Biden, his main presidential challenger from the Democratic Party, whom   he has always accused of being "too soft towards China". Therefore, China has been made a new and decisive factor in the US presidential election. The longer the pandemic lasts in the US and the nearer the election date draws, the more complicated and tense the relations between the US and China are expected.