The article analyzes major trends in domestic, social, economic, trade and foreign policy of the USA in 2020. The last year of Donald Trump’s presidency became the most traumatic and unpredictable for the country. The COVID-19 pandemic dominated every process in the political, social and economic life of the American society and government. At the same time, it accentuated the main trends of the Trump foreign policy.
Trump became the first president to be impeached twice, the 13th president who after being nominated by his party was not reelected by the society, the first president trying to fight both unknown epidemic and economic crisis during his reelection year, the first president who chose not to come to the inauguration of his successor, the first who made decisive steps to break with American-China interdependence and the first who openly declared that he put American interests above those of the other countries, even the allies. His presidency changed the USA deeply and the last year was the turning point in this transformation. He was the most polarized president and he left behind a deeply divided country.
Trump spent his last year in the White House battling with the pandemic and fighting for power, and it highlighted how limited the capabilities of the American presidency are in the polarized system where political compromise between the parties is no longer possible. At the same time this last year pointed out a critical importance of a leader’s personality for politics in all spheres.
In the time of deep polarization, foreign policy became the only sphere of possible compromise for the parties. Both Democrats and Republicans supported the economic instruments sponsored by Trump of ensuring American leadership in time of pandemic, despite his arrogant style so much criticized by the opposition. After four years of Trump’s presidency the policy of sanctions is considered an effective and long-lasting instrument to control the competitors and enhance the American influence.
At the same time while the trend of confrontation became dominant during the Trump’s presidency and his policy of economic nationalism could have more distant and strategic consequences, the confrontation with key actors such as China demonstrated the limits of American power to influence and to control unilaterally both the global economic and political processes and the behavior of different actors.
This article is a result of a collective multi-aspect research of transformations taking place in the US on a real time basis. The analysis is built methodologically on the systemic approach to studying American political, social and economic trends, both domestically and on international level.
Bogaevskaya O., Borisova A., Davydov A., Desiatsky E., Dmitriev S., Zhuravleva V., Kislitsyn S., Kulakova V., Chudinova K. Pandemic, Protests, Protectionism and Presidential Elections in the USA in 2020. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2021, no 1, pp. 31-58. https://doi.org/10.20542/afij-2021-1-31-58