This November’s US presidential election pits Donald Trump against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, a longtime politician who represents a more progressive policy approach. Our Head of European Fixed Income David Zahn breaks down the implications of the US election for Europe, and why many of Biden’s policies line up more closely with European views.
In 2016, it was hard to know what to expect from Donald Trump, an unconventional candidate who won the US presidential election in a surprise victory. Trump was underestimated back then, but I believed he would shake things up—and he certainly has. Europeans are closely watching the US election this year with great interest.
Four years ago, Trump’s nationalistic rhetoric resonated with many Americans, with a focus on “making America great again” even at the expense of strained relations with other countries. Ties between the United States and China, and the United States and Europe, became strained.
If Trump wins a second term, relations between the United States and Europe will likely remain strained, and the trade wars that have characterized his time in office are likely to continue. With inward-looking US policies and a trade war with China, Europe has been caught in the middle.
The trend toward anti-globalization will likely continue, with more unilateral terms of trade, which is more problematic for Europe. Europeans like to do things in a multilateral way—that’s how the European Union (EU) works, with 27 countries that have to sit down together and compromise on any number of issues. That doesn’t mean every member country is always in agreement, but Europeans operate within a multinational approach.
So, a Trump win will bring more geopolitical volatility not only for Europe but across the globe.