The U.S. presidential election reads the state of the world’s leading state almost breathtakingly. On Nov. 3, it becomes clear whether the Western power will be led by Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden for the next four years.
While opinion polls suggest Biden’s rise to a new U.S. president seems likely, anything can still happen in the election – as is typical of Yankee politics.
But why should the US presidential election be monitored from Finland as well? Iltalehti asked three political experts why the culmination of the election campaign should be monitored now at the latest.
The crystal ball of democracy
Director of the Finnish Foreign Policy Institute Mika Aaltolan According to Finns, they have a special relationship with the United States. The policy of the great power is viewed quite negatively in Finland, as both the eastern and western powers are feared to confuse the future prospects of a small state.
– The United States’ relations with Russia are of particular concern to Finland, and this is a key way for Finns to read the elections. What kind of saber-runner is the president of the United States? Is he a easer or a hawk?
According to Aaltola, Finns have a strong preconception about the US election, and the incumbent President Donald Trump is treated quite negatively. Many Finns see democracy as Trump’s supporters more liberal.
In any case, the United States is a very important leader, as the election result is seen as predicting the future – for better or worse. According to Aaltola, elections are a crystal ball to what will happen in other democracies.
The drama of the U.S. election, as well as the sudden turns, may take its course instead of turning its attention to domestic politics. Aaltola urges that the events in the United States be viewed with a critical eye and that the political events in one’s own country be kept in mind.
– There are circus pleasures in Yankee politics, so domestic twists are colorless in comparison. The way Americans make politics is worth following, but not too much, Aaltola says.
A more blatant policy
Many American phenomena also land in Europe in the field of political culture. Professor of American Studies Mikko Saikku The University of Helsinki says that in the Trump era, the United States was more divided than ever since the Civil War of the 1860s.
In particular, Trump’s vocal way of making politics on social media by speaking directly to its supporters has poisoned the entire U.S. political culture.
– Trump says what he thinks, and the usual good manners do not bind him. The level of political debate has plummeted with Twitter, and the truth is that politics is now being done largely through social media. Democrat policy-making has also become more blatant, he says.
The ongoing decline in industrial jobs in Finland has also affected domestic politics, and the voices of those in a weaker economic situation in particular are in high demand both here and elsewhere.
– There are winners and losers in the redistribution of the economy. I do not draw signs of similarity between Trump’s supporters and basic Finns, but it is a parallel phenomenon. The aim is to get the voices of people in a worse life situation with a certain kind of populist policy, Saikku says.
The technical side of the election may also be of interest to Finns. According to Saiku, the conduct of the US presidential election can serve mainly as an example of how complicated and inefficient the election and voting can be conducted elsewhere.
Consumers on the verge of choice?
The outcome of the presidential election and the power struggle between the United States and China will have a significant impact on the global economy. Director of Trade Policy at the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK Hanna Laurénin According to him, economic factors related to China may also blow their winds directly on Finnish homes. The impact is reflected in investments, everyday technology, and how shopping is done in the future.
In particular, China-related issues are reflected in stock prices. The power game is strongly reflected in the stock market, so the relationship between the US and China also directly affects the core investor’s portfolio.
– You may be wondering whether you own shares in American companies or Finnish companies doing big business in the United States. Sino-US relations also affect shares of American-dependent companies in other ways, Laurén says.
The gap between the two superpowers may also be more visible in technology. In the future, the consumer may have to choose even more carefully between the Chinese Huawei and the American Apple. The device selection may exclude the possibility of downloading certain applications, for example.
– If I buy an Apple phone, can I still download Chinese TikTok or WeChat in the future? The United States used to try to ban its citizens from using WeChat, Laurén says.
E-commerce could also be revolutionized if the US-China gap becomes inflamed. In practice, Finnish consumers can see it when ordering products from an online store, as product standards and imports may change as a result of political events.