The bets are on: what a Biden win would mean for relations with Europe

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| The European | 3 November 2020

2020 is a year that will go down in infamy, but its many momentous happenings are not over yet. Before the year is through, America will have elected a new president, either deposing one of the most controversial candidates in history or voting him in for another term. According to the polls, and to bookmakers too, the former result is more likely, with Joe Biden seeming like a shoo-in for the 46th president of the United States. But is his election as certain as it seems, and what will it mean for transatlantic ties if the Democrat candidate does replace Donald Trump?

Biden versus Trump: who’s more likely to walk away with the presidency?

From an outside perspective, Biden looks sure to move into the White House, but the result is by no means certain, as the last election proved, with the polls being wrong by a significant margin and Trump taking his seat against the odds. Indeed, on that occasion, Hillary Clinton had maintained a clear lead in the polls throughout the entire run-up to the election but was nonetheless defeated on the day.   

However, Biden does have something else in his favour: it’s not only the polls that are suggesting he’ll be victorious. As is clear to anyone with an interest in political betting, the bookmakers are saying the same thing – and it’s in their interests to get it right.

Usually acting as a fairly reliable indicator of how a vote is likely to swing, such enterprises set their odds according to expert insights, which bodes well for the Democrat candidate. Betfair, for example, is offering odds of 4/9for a Biden win, compared to 15/8 for Trump, as of November 2nd, which supports the polls that are largely predicting a big win for Biden.

So what will it mean for Europe if Biden takes up residence in the White House?     

An improvement in transatlantic relations

A Biden win could have a notable impact on relations between America and Europe. According to a government official, who spoke to CNBC anonymously, Biden’s approach would likely be “more conventional” and less isolationist than his predecessor’s.    

Adopting policies closer to those implemented by former US presidents, the source suggested that the Democrat candidate would probably be more willing to coordinate with the EU and the rest of Europe on global action, as was the case during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations.  

However, the source also stated that a complete 180 should not be expected, with the patriotism that has helped to shore up Trump’s presidency indicating that many Americans favour a more inward-looking approach to leadership.  

Nonetheless, relations between these two powers would almost certainly be improved by a Biden presidency, with the last four years having been some of the most difficult and strained throughout the long alliance between Europe and the US.  

If the bookies are correct, this could mean one very important thing: that these long-fractured relations may soon be able to mend, and that a renewal of the partnership between these transatlantic cousins becomes a definite possibility in the near future.

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