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Biden has his work cut out in one of the most important US presidential elections in history


Tough challenge: Joe Biden speaks at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, last month but now can’t hold rallies. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Tough challenge: Joe Biden speaks at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, last month but now can’t hold rallies. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo


Tough challenge: Joe Biden speaks at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, last month but now can’t hold rallies. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Within the western context, democracy is at the core of both government and society, and that is why, regardless of the severity of Covid-19 and the impact it has within the US, Americans will have the opportunity to cast their vote in the 2020 presidential election in November.

Democrats will argue that this is one of the most consequential and defining elections in modern political history.

This is mainly based on their hatred of Donald Trump and to energise their base.

However, this year that sentiment has never been more true.

The decisions that will be taken by the next White House administration with regard to the long-term economic impact of Covid-19 and confronting the climate emergency, will be pivotal for the wider global community.

Although I do not think that the 77-year-old former vice-president and twice-failed presidential candidate Joe Biden will bring the energy and the vigour required to overcome the ruthless machine that is the Trump campaign, Biden's ability to campaign effectively in the traditional sense has been all but paralysed.

While President Trump dominates the national airways each evening, Biden is no longer able to hold rallies.

He is no longer able to travel from state to state, or even to meet in person with young and Hispanic Americans who he is dependent on to inspire his campaign.

It is inevitable that a sitting president seeking re-election will always have a distinct advantage, with George Bush the last president to be denied a second term.

But the challenges that are faced by Biden in this election year are particularly substantial.

Cillian Boggan

St Peter's College, Wexford

We need another election when normal life resumes

Fine Gael campaigned to remain in office and won 35 seats, a loss of 15 seats. All the other parties and candidates campaigned for a change of government, and succeeded in wining 125 seats. A decisive victory, well done.

Now, somehow, many of those 125 TDs find themselves unable or unwilling to form a government and the responsibility is said to fall, once again, on Fine Gael to form one. Where is the logic in that?

Cobbling together a government of two or more parties that promised not to coalesce with each other is no way to honour the will of the people. It can only end badly.

If those 125 TDs want to be true to their mandate, let them deliver a government. If not, we have no option but to have another general election to give a mandate to TDs and parties who are actually prepared to form a government and who have campaigned on that basis.

Any party programmes put forward will then also have to explain how they will deal with the realities of post-coronavirus Ireland and the world. That debate will, in and of itself, be a good and necessary thing.

The election can be held just as soon as "normal" life resumes. In the meantime, the current "caretaker" government should just get on with the job of managing the crisis as best as it can. That should be its sole focus until the election is called.

Frank Schnittger

Blessington, Co Wicklow

Quinn can educate us all on way out of exam issue

I wish to wholeheartedly support the insight from former education minister Ruairí Quinn (Irish Independent, April 17). His commentary is wise, kind and accurate.

Clearly, another pathway exists out of this mess. We can avoid the pitfall of predictive assessment that appears so upsetting to the Irish education community.

A data-driven solution using a student's own record over the lifetime of their Leaving Certificate journey can be made from what they have done already. Couple this with data from the State Exam Commission based on trends for each subject over the last three years, for example, and the document described by Mr Quinn can be built.

This is fair and informed and in line with best international practice.

Thank you, Mr Quinn.

Let's get this done.

Colm Cregan

Address with editor

Trump did not ignore call for a shutdown by Fauci

In an article, Josie Ensor wrote that "Dr Anthony Fauci said his recommendation for a US shutdown in February was ignored by the president" ("White House denies that Trump plans to fire virus expert as tensions emerge", Irish Independent, April 14).

This is completely inaccurate, which explains why the writer didn't attempt to supply a direct quote from Dr Fauci to back up her claim, ie because there was no such comment.

While I was aware of this because I follow the US political scene a lot through both CNN and Fox News, a lot of your readers may not be as tuned in to what's happening in American politics as I am and thus would probably have taken this assertion by Josie Ensor at face value.

In the interest of fair and accurate reporting, I am asking that you issue a correction or else publish this letter for balance.

Frank Nelligan

Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick

How risks will be lowered if we all wear face masks

The general narrative that face masks are ineffective as a personal protection measure is based on a false scientific premise.

It is generally accepted low-end masks will afford little protection to those who are in range of the projectile aerosol plume from an infected person who coughs or sneezes.

Basic science tells us that this is looking for the wrong result, so a wrong outcome can be expected.

Put a mask on the infected person and their virus "emission" projectile range, and thus third-party risk, is reduced by 80-90pc by physically stifling their exhaust plume.

The only way to exploit this huge reduction in risk is to mask up every person who could possibly be a carrier of the virus.

The only catch-all solution is to mask up everyone in public spaces.

No rocket science here, just inverted logic.

Peter Faulkner

Dalkey, Co Dublin

Words of wisdom to make politics more acceptable

For sure, Sinn Féin does not have a mandate to be in government just because it's one of three parties with a similar outcome in the election.

But in order to give a nod to Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil could call themselves Me Féin when they join up in government, and then "we" becomes "me" in one fell swoop, thereby demoting Sinn Féin to "I Féin".

This would eventually bring about the end of the "Féin" dynasties entirely, and that could only be a good thing.

It could begin the new politics everyone talks about if the words were moved about a bit.

And it might stop making me sick of the lot of them. Try it.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

Let's hope for a brave new world when this is over

We all know we have a very broken society. Maybe this is a real wake-up call.

To slow down, make more time for each other.

And indeed, make more time for ourselves.

Great good may come out of all of this. When things eventually settle down, it would be lovely to live in a different world.

With less worry and stress, and more contentment for all of us.

And this may very well be the outcome.

So for now, keep safe and well everybody.

Ed Devery

Ferbane, Co Offaly

Why do FG and FF play the name game on unity?

Page 19 of the 24-page Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael framework document on the formation of a new government is headed: "Mission: A Shared Island."

It says that Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael "will establish a unit within the Department of An Taoiseach to work towards a consensus on a united island".

Why the shyness about calling the island by its name, or is the intention to rename it?

John Glennon

Address with editor


Irish Independent