Bruce Heyman, Fmr. US Ambassador to Canada and “The Art of Diplomacy” Author joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the latest on the 2020 presidential election and the impact of a Trump or Biden win on U.S. and Canada relations.
AKIKO FUJITA: I want to bring in our next guest here, Bruce Heyman. He is the former US Ambassador to Canada under President Obama. And Ambassador, it's good to talk to you today.
We should say you have been a very vocal supporter of Joe Biden. You are a Democrat. I know you've been in touch with Joe Biden's camp as well. What are you hearing in terms of what they see as the most likely path to the White House?
BRUCE HEYMAN: So first of all, thank you for having me today. And I would like to address two things. So first and foremost, there are between 1 and 2 million ballots that are coming in from overseas that will either have arrived or postmarked by Election Day by uniformed military officers or citizens that vote under law in each of these states.
And so when we talked just a little bit ago about Pennsylvania, I want to make sure that all of those American citizens who lived abroad who went through the process of voting by law, followed all the rules, that those ballots get counted. Those are absentee ballots. Those get opened just like the others, but they may arrive in a timeline that the courts have decided for Pennsylvania.
The campaign is very optimistic, because they have a lot of paths to victory here. Pennsylvania continues to look good. They know the ballots that are outstanding, and Jen O'Malley Dillon just spoke to everyone just a little bit ago, as you acknowledged.
There are hundreds of thousands of ballots there that are yet to be counted, and they look very, very favorable for the vice president. So they're predicting that Pennsylvania will go for Joe Biden. Arizona may be a little tighter, the margins coming in. Still confident that it's going to go for the vice president.
Nevada, still very confident that that's going to go for the vice president. So if Arizona and Nevada go, he wins. If Pennsylvania goes, he wins. If all of them go, it's just that much better.
And then there's Georgia. And Georgia is going to be very, very close. It's kind of the traditional toss-up state, that's where we are now. Who could have believed that we'd have a toss-up in the South for a Democrat, but that's where we are.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, Ambassador, I mean, you're speaking to kind of those changing demographics and changing-- you know, 2020 is a very interesting time seeing this all play out. But it was also interesting to see how voters were weighing different issues. I know you've been around politics for quite some time here, so talk to me about what you saw in that. Because it did seem like you were split between Biden voters focusing in on the pandemic, Trump voters focusing on this economic recovery. They seem linked, and right now and this razor-thin margins, we're seeing just people, I guess, weighing in on these issues slightly, slightly different.
BRUCE HEYMAN: So you know what's amazing? We looked at 2016, and you thought 2016 was an aberration, only 77,000 votes separated Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in three states. That was Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Here we are now 140 million people plus have voted, and now we're at these razor-thin margins once again.
The country's very much divided along these issues that you just raised. And so that's something very important that I think leader Joe Biden's going to have to take into consideration as he leads our country through a pandemic, through millions of people out of work, through racial tensions, through the issues that have been created internationally. And so look, it's something, and he is somebody who will reach across party lines.
He said it yesterday. I know him personally and have had these conversations with him. He is the right leader for the right time. But you're right, these little issues are defining some of these states. And I think Democrats have to get a better understanding of that.
AKIKO FUJITA: One of the key issues for a Biden administration will be to repair some of these frayed relationships internationally. You are, of course, very close to those leaders in Canada, given your experience as a diplomat. What are you hearing about some of the concerns, some of the positives that could come along with a Biden administration? And ultimately, what do you see as the big shift going from a Trump administration to a Biden administration as it relates to US-Canada relations?
BRUCE HEYMAN: So first and foremost, relationships, whether they're person-to-person or corporate-to-client, they're based on relationships that are bound by trust, honesty, transparency, communication, listening. You know, that is Joe Biden. And Donald Trump has damaged the trust bond that we have had with a number of our allies around the world, with Canada threatening steel and aluminum tariffs, threatening N95 masks, hostile language toward the prime minister and the deputy prime minister.
You know, all of these things break down those bonds of trust. So the first thing you have to do is get back and acknowledge those relationships and how important they are to the United States. And there's no more important relationship than we have with Canada, but there are a lot of very important relationships we have with our allies that have also been damaged in Europe, and Asia, and Latin and Central America.
The next thing is Joe Biden is a multilateral person in thinking about the importance of multilateralism, and where Donald Trump was a go-it-alone, America-alone strategy. And when you have issues like climate change and the pandemic, these are not things that you do by yourself. And especially then dealing with China, you need a multilateral approach. And so that's the big difference.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and, Ambassador, I mean, on that front, it's interesting, because you're talking about those differences, but in kind of their message, they were increasingly coming together in terms of pressuring China. President Trump might get the credit there for being the one that really campaigned on that and also, I guess, pushed for it here when we saw his trade deal being negotiated, though it didn't really lead anywhere in the end. But when we talk about that, how much of an important swing factor is getting our allies onboard in going up against China here to negotiate some of those trade deals or perhaps, when we talk about the Paris Accord, maybe some downfalls here if we remain this divided and have to flip through our international agreements every four years?
BRUCE HEYMAN: So I think it's critical that we do this together as a unified group, whether it's NATO protecting, you know, much of Europe and ourselves, whether it's-- do you remember when we had the Three Amigos Summit with Mexico, Canada, and the US? We haven't had a Three Amigos Summit since Barack Obama was up in Ottawa in the summer of '16. So that's indicative of the kind of relationships that I think will be important.
But I can't imagine we tackle climate change, you know, by ourselves. We have to do this as a globe. And the pandemic is not-- whatever we're doing, it's clearly not working, with 100,000 cases and over 1,000 people dead in the last 24 hours.
So that's not working. And our shared border with Canada is closed to non-essential travel. So we're going to have to work on doing things different than they've been done, because I don't believe they're working at all.