2020 Elections: Stress Test for American Federalism

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-6-17-25
Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences (IE RAS), 11/3, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 125009, Russian Federation;
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.

Received 17.01.2022. Revised 15.03.2022. Accepted 05.04.2022.


Many events of the 2020 elections proved to have historical significance for American society. Impeachment to President Trump, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, coronavirus pandemics and urgent need to introduce unpopular measures to address the social-economic consequences together with other issues became a “perfect storm” for American political system, challenged the stability of its vertical and horizontal federalist dimensions as well as the foundations of party competitiveness. The author summarizes the implications of the 2020 events on the elections, which took place in November of that year. The vertical federalism was challenged by the conflict between President Trump and a number of congressmen, especially from the Democratic Party. Even though the impeachment didn’t remove Trump from the office – the political contradictions were clear. The horizontal federalism was challenged by the implications of the coronavirus pandemics and the urgent necessity to introduce national measures in addressing the issue. Some of unpopular measures had to be enforced by the decision of the Supreme Court. Besides, in many states, the primaries had to be cancelled or delayed. And eventually, the popularity of absentee voting instruments resulted in the victory of Democratic candidates in many states. The foundations of bipartisan ideological competition were challenged by the protest of the BLM movement, on the one hand, and Trumpism, on the other. All of these and other events had implications on the outcome of the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections of 2020, some of which were surprising. 2020 had established certain trends which will influence the midterm elections in 2022 and the upcoming elections in 2024.


American federalism, U.S. domestic politics, Trumpism, division of powers, checks and balances, elections, Congress, U. S. President, executive powers, legislative powers


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For citation:
Sharikov P. 2020 Elections: Stress Test for American Federalism. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, No 6, pp. 17-25. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-6-17-25

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