Our cover this week sets out why, if we had a vote, it would go to Joe Biden. The country that elected Donald Trump in 2016 was unhappy and divided. The country he is asking to re-elect him is more unhappy and more divided. After almost four years of his leadership, politics is even angrier than it was and partisanship even less constrained. Daily life is consumed by a pandemic that has caused almost 230,000 reported deaths amid bickering, buck-passing and lies. Much of that is Mr Trump’s doing and his victory on November 3rd would endorse it all. Mr Biden is Mr Trump’s antithesis. He is not a miracle cure for what ails America. But he is a good man who would restore steadiness and civility to the presidency. Were he to be elected, success would not be guaranteed—how could it be? But he would enter the White House promising the most precious gift that democracies can bestow: renewal.
AMERICANS HAVE already voted in huge numbers ahead of election day on November 3rd. The Economist does not, of course, have a vote. But if we did, in the presidential election it would go to Joe Biden. President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, has had his share of wins and losses, at home and abroad. Were it not for his wretched handling of an epidemic that has cost 230,000 American lives, Mr Trump might be on the brink of re-election. But as a guardian of American values, he has been a dismal failure: stoking rather than healing division, showing a shameless contempt for truth and weakening America’s institutions. Mr Biden will not end the animosity, but he can make a start. Our forecasting model says he is very likely to win (although many election disputes are already before the Supreme Court). Mr Trump is struggling in Midwestern states he won in 2016. Even Texas may be in play—though in the Lone Star State the president has some perhaps surprising supporters.