New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Long reads
30 October 2020updated 02 Nov 2020 8:48am

US presidential election 2020: The state of American democracy

The first of three dossiers of selected New Statesman pieces unpacking the race for the White House.

By New Statesman

With the US presidential election (as well as elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives) nearing, all eyes are on the polls. Readers can check our results model and polling overview, both updated daily, on our US election hub here.

It is also the moment to reflect on the events of the last four years, the significance of the choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and what is in store for the US.

Now, in the final days before election day on 3 November, the New Statesman is publishing a series of three dossiers of selected pieces providing depth and perspective on the race for the White House. 

This is the first, focusing on American democracy, the strain the republic’s norms and institutions have been put under, the contest between Trump and Biden, and the election campaign itself. The second surveys the US beyond the Beltway: the crucial swing states, the issues affecting citizens’ everyday lives and the mood on the ground. The third rounds off the series with an exploration of America’s place in the world: its foreign policy, relations with other powers and role in global affairs.

Why US democracy as we know it may soon be over

By Emily Tamkin

A second term for Donald Trump could put America on the path to being a “hybrid authoritarian” state.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Even if Donald Trump is defeated, the left must get ready to fight Trumpism

By Paul Mason

Should Joe Biden become president, he will face a four-year campaign of far-right resistance.

The making of Kamala Harris

By Sophie McBain

Why Democrats are pinning their hopes on Joe Biden’s running mate.

Liberalism will remain vulnerable unless it can speak to our need for emotional storytelling

By Jeremy Cliffe

Even if Joe Biden does triumph on 3 November, this should not be mistaken for a restoration of some temporarily disrupted order.

Can Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump?

By Emily Tamkin

The Democratic presidential hopeful and veteran insider could end the Trump era. If he succeeds, will he set the US on a path to renewal?

What the rise of Reagan tells us about the age of Trump

By Nick Burns

Rick Perlstein’s Reaganland charts the conservative counter-revolution that moved the US to the right.

Amy Coney Barrett: the US judge poised to undo Ginsburg’s legacy

By Sophie McBain

How an ultra-conservative mother of seven rose to become Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Donald Trump’s hubris in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic is pure Americana

By Emily Tamkin

Pretending things are fine when they are not is the American way. It is time the president, and the rest of the nation, faced up to reality.

To transform the US, the Democrats must win the Senate

By Harry Lambert

Taking the upper chamber from the Republicans would give Joe Biden crucial legislative and patronage powers

To save American democracy, Democrats must learn from Republican ruthlessness

By Emily Tamkin

Should Joe Biden win, the Democrats could add Supreme Court justices or give statehood to Puerto Rico and Washington, DC.

Joe Biden must heed the lessons of Andrew Johnson’s presidency: unity, but not at any cost

By Emily Tamkin

If Biden wins he will inherit an economic crisis and divided society. He should seize the chance to build something better than what we had before Trump.

Will disinformation decide the 2020 election?

By Nina Jankowicz

Individuals will be the main line of defence against online misinformation.

The crisis facing the US media

By Sophie McBain

In an era of hostility towards the press, strong investigative reporting is harder than ever.

Covid-19 and the threat of voter suppression

By Theodore R Johnson

Lower turnout in the 2020 race for the White House could play to the Republicans’ advantage.

The return of American fascism

By Sarah Churchwell

How a legacy of violent nationalism haunts the republic in the age of Trump.

Masha Gessen: Why this is a revolutionary moment for American democracy

By Sophie McBain

The New Yorker columnist and author of Surviving Autocracy believes there can be no return to the pre-Trump normal.

Russia’s disinformation war

Nina Jankowicz joins Emily Tamkin and Jeremy Cliffe on the World Review podcast to discuss the role of disinformation and election interference.

“Imagine the damage a president could cause”: What would happen if Trump refused defeat?

By Emily Tamkin

US legal scholar Lawrence Douglas has examined how well prepared American political institutions are for a president who doesn’t want to go.

The new intellectuals of the American right

By Nick Burns

In political and media circles, an array of thinkers are crossing ideological boundaries.

After Bernie: what next for the US left?

By Emily Tamkin

The reborn progressive movement is determined to wield its influence and transform the Democratic Party from within.

Content from our partners
The power of place in tackling climate change
Tackling the UK's biggest health challenges
"Heat or eat": how to help millions in fuel poverty – with British Gas Energy Trust