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Biden Trump debate Jim Watson, Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

America’s Transition from Democracy?

US President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric and disregard for democratic norms were on vivid display in the recent chaotic presidential debate, leaving few in any doubt as to the stakes involved in America’s November 3 election. But if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins, will he be able to foster an inclusive economic recovery and start restoring trust and social solidarity?

In this Big Picture, Nobel laureate economist Edmund S. Phelps delivers a stinging critique of Trump’s economic record, and argues that Biden, if elected, would be far more responsive to the fears and aspirations of low-paid workers. Similarly, New York University’s Nouriel Roubini thinks a Biden administration would continue the long-standing pattern according to which Democratic presidents tend to preside over a stronger economy and stock market than Republican presidents do.

Columbia Law School’s Katharina Pistor laments how the complicity of law enforcement agencies has enabled US white-collar financial crime to go increasingly unpunished under Trump. But on a brighter note, Claudia Sahm of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth explains why the US Federal Reserve’s newly strengthened focus on promoting maximum employment will particularly benefit lower and moderate-income communities of color.

Likewise, Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz thinks America’s best hope now lies with Biden, whose greatest strength is his potential to reunify a divided populace. But the country must first navigate the election itself – and Elizabeth Drew warns that Trump, trailing badly in opinion polls, is prepared to test the Constitution in unprecedented ways in order to perpetuate his hold on power.

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