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Fear and loathing: US needs clear election result says Bleich

Politics

Polls showing Joe Biden holding a solid lead in the final dash of the November 3 United States presidential race could not be trusted, with a tight result potentially creating an explosive environment across America, according to former US Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich.

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The US Ambassador to Australia from 2009 to 2013, who was also special counsel to President Barack Obama, said despite polling putting Biden in with a chance of a “wave result,” political polls had become the big election loser.

“There is this paranoia among Democrats right now about what is it that they’re missing, not only for Biden but for battleground states,” Bleich said.

“Based on the 2016 result, based on Brexit, even based on the surprise result in Australia, I think there is a general fear and caution about taking any of this as true.”

Bleich said the US needed a resounding verdict for the election result to be seen as valid.

He said a decisive result in the US election would impact other democracies globally, including Australia.

“Right now I think one of the biggest challenges for our country and democracies around the world is a lack of a common vocabulary about the truth, the scientific truth, facts, logic and trust in experts who we have always counted on to let us know what is true in their area of expertise,” he said.

After the polling industry in the US was so profoundly wrong in 2016, he said, it was important that the election result was clear.

“It has to be a conspiracy-proof result, where no-one can say the result was stolen or taken under the dark of night. I think for the health of America to at least know who we are and what we truly believe and for our leaders to know that as well there has to be a decisive result,” Bleich said.

“The other aspect is that if people think something is being stolen from them, they feel empowered to do dangerous things.”

Speaking to interviewer Kerry O’Brien as part of a Griffith University conversation series held at Home of the Arts (HOTA) on the Gold Coast, Bleich said Joe Biden as US president would be “smarter, not tougher” on China, which would impact Australia’s trade relationship with China.

“Biden as president will be smart on China, which is a little different than tough.

“Australian values are much more at risk based upon China’s current course than, frankly, America is. America is the largest economy in the world, we don’t live in the same region, we have a strong strategic interest in respect to China, but not nearly as urgent as Australia has.”

“(Under Biden), I don’t think it is going to be the US dragging Australia, if anything I think it will be Australia tugging on the United States because these are interests that we share but they are more urgent for Australia.”

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