US Election 2020: Voters in UAE worry for future of their country

American residents expect the election will go to the Supreme Court, as division lines across the US deepen

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Americans in the UAE say they are worried about the consequences of a nail-bitingly close presidential election in their home country.

While the world waits for a result, both President Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden are predicting they will emerge victorious as votes continued to be counted.

Supporters of both candidates in the UAE were taking similar stances, tipping their preferred candidate to get the votes needed to win.

It really shows the division in America right now

“I’ve spoken to friends back home in Denver, Colorado, who said the shops have been boarded up overnight because they are expecting riots,” said Dubai-based English teacher Cary Smith, 43.

“It’s disheartening. I expect it will go to the Supreme Court like the 2000 election between George W Bush and Al Gore.”

Ms Smith said she was sure the Supreme Court would side with the current president, given the predominantly right-wing make-up of the nine judges who currently sit on the bench.

Mr Trump has already courted controversy by declaring himself the winner of the election, adding that he was going to the Supreme Court to ask them to stop counting votes.

This drew the ire of Democrats with former Vice President, Mr Biden, stating legal teams were in place to fight Mr Trump’s attempt to stop the count.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 06 AUGUST 2020. American citizen, Carey Smith, in Dubai gives her views on the forthcoming election in USA. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Patrick Ryan. Section: National.
Dubai based US teacher Cary Smith said she is worried about the consequences of no winner emerging yet from the election. Antonie Robertsonc/cThe National

“It really shows the division in America right now,” said Ms Smith, who voted for Mr Biden.

“It’s going to get ugly. I think Biden is going to win but it’s going to be contested which could last for months.

“The next couple of months could be extremely uncomfortable for him as I don’t think Trump has it in him to do a concession speech.

“I think there will be pressure put on Biden to stand down,” he said.

With a number of key swing states still to declare, it could be days before either side earn the 270 electoral college votes needed to declare a US president.

Another Dubai resident believed Mr Biden would win the election, but only just.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: N/A. News. USA Election. Democrats Abroad member Orlando Vidal a voter in Washington DC watches as the election coverage in Dubai. Wednesday, November 4th, 2020. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Democrats Abroad member Orlando Vidal watches the election coverage at home in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

“I am concerned because it’s not the landslide many had predicted,” said lawyer Orlando Vidal.

“I think Biden will win but not by the margin we had had anticipated. But I’ll still take the win.”

The 54-year-old from Washington DC said, while Biden was comfortably ahead in the popular vote, the electoral college votes were far too close for comfort.

Mr Vidal is a member of the Democrats Abroad group that has 3,000 members registered to vote from the UAE alone.

But Mr Trump was not without his supporters in the UAE.

Robert Dobbs, an American based in Sharjah, was hopeful the current president would win another four years in the White House.

“Donald Trump should reach 270 votes and I fully support this,” said the 54-year-old teacher and US army veteran.

“Joe Biden is not good for the American economy and, as Vice President, didn’t do much to help Americans.

“[Mr Trump] helped regular Americans by giving extended unemployment and Covid-19 relief payments. The US economy will come roaring back.

"The Democrats should have ran Bernie Sanders if they wanted to defeat Trump.”

Last week, the Commerce Department said the US economy grew 33.1 per cent annual rate in the July to September quarter.

However, economists expressed concerns that the recovery was not nearly enough to compensate for the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Dedra Stevenson said Joe Biden is the best bet for the US. Courtesy: Dedra Stevenson
Dedra Stevenson said Joe Biden is the best bet for the US. Courtesy: Dedra Stevenson

Screenwriter and author Dedra Stevenson took an opposing view to Mr Dobbs.

The American-Emirati was confident that Mr Biden could defeat Mr Trump.

“I think that Trump has caused way too much division in the country,” said Ms Stevenson.

“Biden would unite the country back again as one America.”

She was closely following the election results from her home in Sharjah.

“In terms of taxes, Biden would probably be more likely to be fairer and not be giving to the ultra-rich,” she said.

“Because that is the big argument against Trump – that he is giving the ultra-rich so many tax incentives.”

Ms Stevenson also hoped a Biden presidency would mean more social welfare programmes.

Most care programmes launched to help the needy during the pandemic have either expired or are close to expiring, increasing poverty rates.

Last month, a Columbia University study showed that the number of Americans living in poverty grew by 8 million since May, particularly after coronavirus relief ended without certainty that more help would follow.

“Biden would show much more compassion with social welfare programmes to help people have a chance,” said Ms Stevenson.

“It would give them a chance to get back on their feet and get jobs, assistance or just to, at least, feed their families.”