The Blog

US election 2020, biden, trump, pink elephant communications

US Election 2020: Twists, tweets and the truth

The US Presidential election is over.

But if early indications are anything to go by, a full result may be weeks away.

On Wednesday morning, current incumbent Donald Trump declared victory and falsely claimed election fraud.

Meanwhile, his challenger Joe Biden told his supporters he believed he was on track to win.

It’s a mess.

And communication sits at the heart of it.

Fact or fiction?

biden, pink elephant communications, us election 2020

Trump and Biden have been verbally sparring for months.

Their first debate – which we also analysed – descended into a cacophony of interruptions and insults.

Since then, the barbs have ranged from personal to political.

Trump took aim at Biden’s 47 years in politics.

While the Democratic challenger went after the reported $750 the President paid in tax in 2016.

But three key communication points have stood out from the campaign trail.

And they’re easily transferable into the world of business.

1. Back it up with evidence

trump, pink elephant communications, us election 2020

Trump has spent most of his presidency communicating via Twitter.

As election day drew closer, his rate of tweeting increased sharply.

In June, Trump sent more than 200 tweets and retweets in a single day.

And as Statista found, his year-on-year use has more than trebled since 2018.

donald trump twitter use, pink elephant communications, us election 2020

While his most fervent supporters liked every tweet, Twitter itself was less than pleased.

On several occasions – including the early hours of election day – they placed warnings on them.

This was due to the demonstrably false, unsubstantiated claims contained within.

Twitter took action once again in the early hours of Wednesday.

There’s an argument to be made that censoring the tweets actually drew more attention to them.

But from a communication standpoint, Trump’s tweets regularly broke our fundamental rules.

Tell the truth.

Back up your key messages with evidence.

That’s how you win the argument – and ultimately, support for your cause.

2. Ignore the background noise

joe biden, pink elephant communications, us election 2020

In certain parts of social media, Hunter Biden has been getting more coverage than his father.

Allegations about the 49-year-old have ranged from murky to completely untrue.

But unlike the pre-2016 election tale about Hillary Clinton’s email server, mainstream outlets decided against covering the story.

In a rare comment on the issue, Joe Biden told Bloomberg it was a ‘smear campaign’.

Ultimately, Biden did the right thing in ignoring the background noise.

Addressing it – as Twitter did with some of Trump’s tweets – may have only amplified it.

Particularly when, as MIT researchers found, fake news spreads more quickly than the truth.

Instead, Biden focussed on Trump’s track record and his response to the pandemic.

For the former vice president, the best form of defence was attack.

And failing to give oxygen or airtime to the rumours.

3. Avoid unnecessary criticism of others

donald trump, pink elephant communications, us election 2020

Researchers and experts will pick apart this election for decades to come.

But in my view, Trump’s fondness for constant criticism will have played a part in the state-by-state results

Diseases expert Anthony Fauci, the Supreme Court and Lady Gaga all faced his ire in recent days.

And the World Health Organisation, the FBI’s director and Nancy Pelosi were regularly criticised in the last few months.

Those are just the ones I know off the top of my head; there will be dozens of others.

There is a time and a place for constructive, direct criticism.

Particularly if it’s warranted.

But brash, unnecessary criticism of others is only going to damage how you’re perceived by others.

Unfortunately, this notion of wanting to avoid sowing division is currently missing from American politics.

Far better to win people to your side with evidence, powerful key messages and transparency.

US election 2020

us election 2020, pink elephant communications, trump win

Regardless of the final result, this year’s election has forever changed the face of US politics.

Pollsters’ findings will be questioned, and legal battles look destined to begin.

The campaigns will spend months analysing what went wrong, before they start gearing up for 2024.

But here’s my analysis.

Clear, concise communication is crucial in reaching your audience.

It’s why the Make America Great Again slogan cut through so effectively in 2016.

It’s also why Barack Obama’s 2008 ‘Hope’ poster has become so iconic.

Simple calls to action which inspire and invigorate.

So what’s yours?


Colin Stone is a Senior Trainer at Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.

You can read his full profile here.


Photos in US Election 2020 blog courtesy of stingrayschuller / CC BY / Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA / Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA on

Featured photo in US Election 2020 blog courtesy of Phil Roeder / CC BY / Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA  on

US Election 2020 analysis

4th November 2020 Featured in: Blog, Commentary By:

view all posts

Build Your Confidence

Some media trainers knock you down…and leave you down. Our media coaches show you how to deal with each knock…and still win through. So you have the presentation skills to perform – with confidence.

request a quote