Trump’s Carter-shaped omen might keep SA’s foot in the US door

Ideas

Trump’s Carter-shaped omen might keep SA’s foot in the US door

A Biden election victory will bolster our robust capitalist connections to the world’s powerhouse

Columnist

For the first time in 40 years, on Tuesday night a US presidential debate was televised from Cleveland, Ohio.

Since this debate is scheduled for just after the deadline for this column, it is impossible to know if the result of it will move the dial on the outcome of the election on November 3. And since nearly 90% of American voters have already settled on their preference, perhaps not much. But as the battleground swing states – around just six of them – will determine the winner, a relative shift of a few votes can make a huge difference.

But there is one augury which bodes ill, among a rising number of them, for President Donald Trump. In the October 1980 presidential debate in Cleveland – the only one in that election year – the challenger Ronald Reagan turned in a far more assured performance than the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter. The polls determined he won the debate and three weeks later Reagan was elected in a landslide. Carter, like Trump, was a one-term president facing re-election, and the big issue then was the fate of the American hostages in Tehran. This time round, the “October surprise” is the just-leaked tax returns of Trump, or the fact that for the first two years of his presidency he paid just $750 in annual federal income taxes. ..

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