WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With Joe Biden now the presumptive democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential race, concerns are being raised about how the coronavirus could affect the election.
We’re already seeing some effects with campaign events being canceled and navigating the Wisconsin primaries while also trying to socially distance.
“There’s been presidential elections during a time of war, a time of recession, something like that,” says UNCW Political Science Program Coordinator Aaron King. “But I think that this is certainly pretty unique.”
King says playing politics during a pandemic can be tricky.
“You have to be aware of trying to have your name out there, thinking about the campaign, and at the same time, not trying to think about politics at a time of such significant health crisis,” he says.
COVID-19 already began to affect the presidential primaries before Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race, says King.
“We’ve already seen some movement in terms of obviously campaigning, of events going very much virtual,” he says.
However, in such a divided political landscape, how important is campaigning? King says it could sway some voters.
“For some, campaigning might not matter to them because they already have their mind made up,” he says. “Of course, at the same time there are also people that maybe voted for Trump last time when they typically voted for democrats.”
King also says the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic could also sway voters one way or another, rather than an issue like impeachment.
“The longer that we go on, people will take a closer look at what’s happened in the past, how prepared was the Trump administration for this? And I think that to the extent that Vice President Biden goes into that or other people associated with his campaign will be really interesting to see,” King says.
Overall, it’s probably too early to say how this will affect voters going to the polls or the number of absentee ballots submitted. That will depend on the current state of things as we move into the fall.