Election recap: how did Joe Biden win this presidential race?
The Presidential race this year is one like no other. To begin with, we are in the midst of a global pandemic and are being ambushed by an outbreak of wildfires across the US. For many, the Presidential debate is an opportunity to discover more about running candidates' public policy proposals. 73 million people tuned in to watch the evening's debate at the edge of their seats. Given this, there was much disappointment in the results. Junior Nkechi Ezirim’21 expresses, “My expectations were definitely different because I thought both candidates would be more professional… I expected the Presidential debate to be more serious. I wanted to hear more definite plans to improve the economy during this economic crisis. Last year I would not ever think that I might not have a chance to graduate from college. Another question that often comes up is even if I am able to graduate from college, will I be able to find a job after graduation? Keep in mind that I am 17 years old thinking about these things.”
Not only did the debate strip Americans of their opportunity to hear the future plans and political opinions of both representatives, but it also tarnished the reputation of the United States. Ezirim’21 explains, “The perspective of the United States as a whole has drastically changed. I personally have heard stories of Americans living abroad getting comments like, ‘I like the United States because they helped my country or compliments about American music and film culture.’ Now my friends living abroad tell me that they conceal the fact that they are American because people always bring President Trump into the conversation. They tell me that internationally America is seen as a joke.”
The first debate took place in Cleveland. The formatting and topics discussed were as follows: “Six 15-minute segments dedicated to the following topics: The Trump and Biden records, the Supreme Court, Covid-19, the economy, race and violence in American cities and the integrity of the election” according to NBC news. Though the majority of these topics were covered, it was quite challenging to ignore the interruptions in between. In fact, the execution of the debate, in terms of formatting, was widely criticized amongst various platforms and on social media. According to The Washington Post, Trump interrupted a total of 71 times out of the 91 instances, which is approximately 75% of the interruptions reported. The majority of headlines did not broadcast or analyze the content of the debate but rather expressed humiliation.
Due to the disruptive nature of the debate which led to national embarrassment and the spread of misinformation, debate commissioners began to compose different solutions in hopes for successful future debates. Said rules and regulations were introduced to both campaigns and could not be negotiated. Perhaps the most well accepted and widely known is the “mic-cutting.” As suggested, the mic of a representative would be switched off and essentially mute and inhibit representatives from interrupting one another and or the moderator… To further improve the structure of the debates Ezirim suggests that, “News channels have live fact-checking happening on screen! Many of the statistics and facts were incorrect during the debate so I believe people should know the truth instead of blindly listening to their preferred candidate.” Indeed, fact-checks are typically run after the debate when not a lot of people feel inclined to commit additional time to fact-check the representatives.
The second Presidential debate was much more composed and organized. There were minimal disruptions. There was a sense of tension, as expected, however interruption amongst each other was negligible.
Glued to the television for days at a time until finally, the verdict was in. November 7th, 2020 Joe Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States.
Voter turnout rates were like no other. The Washington Post reported that “More Americans voted in the 2020 election than in any other in more than 100 years.” This includes the widely publicized and split race between Barack Obama and John McCain (2008), and John F. Kenedy and Richard Nixon (1960).
Kamala Harris makes history as the first black and South Asian female Vice President-elect. If nothing else mentioned about this election was considered historic then this definitely is. It breaks boundaries woven in through centuries. Finally, the black and brown girl can see herself in the position of the Vice President confidently and with certainty. As a US senator, many of her beliefs and plans have been imagined, now many are excitedly waiting to see what she does in her new role.
Many people are also enthusiastic about Dr. Biden’s passion for education. She has worked as a community college teacher and may continue her role in the office. As an educator, many believe that her position as the second lady will help reshape the way we see education and help reform the quality of education for all people.
I posed some questions to Bianca Rexine '23 and Jake Peterson '23 to gain insight into the results of this election and essentially make sense of it. It was important to first acknowledge our enthusiasm and fervour for this election. Bianca and I identified the social climate as a contributing factor to the turnout and a root of much of our passions. She explains, “This is the first election I have ever been passionate about so there are a few ways for me to answer this question. I would start off by saying that this is the first election I have ever fully comprehended it’s importance in our democracy, partially because of my age and also partially because of our social climate.” Indeed, and the engagement demonstrated through voter turnout speaks for this passion and social climate.
Current issues including Covid-19, healthcare, and equal rights have been handled loosely and in some cases have only been aggravated by the actions and words of Donald Trump. Jake Peterson explains, “Biden was able to give us specific policies on how to handle a major crisis like Covid-19, something that Millions of Americans have experienced firsthand. These ideas and connections on how to handle problems are far across from Trump's inability to handle Covid-19.” The sitting President's lack of action and inability to communicate action plans with a stable timeline to combat the impacts of the virus, to the American people is what led many voters in the direction of President-elect Joe Biden. He has an established plan and experience with viruses along with the rebuilding of the economy after a crisis like this one.
Not only does Joe Biden have a sound and organized plan aimed at rebuilding the economy and helping the American people through this crisis, but he also has proposals geared towards current issues. Bianca expresses intrigue about Biden’s climate and healthcare plans, “I’m interested in his climate change plan,” she says, “Because from what I know it is very similar to the Green New Deal but with a different title. His healthcare plan is also very interesting to me, especially with Covid-19 being such a big threat to not only people but also our economy.” This is exactly the concern of many individuals. Not only are we battling a pandemic but, we are also facing the detriments of global warming which is not being alleviated at all.
To some Trump’s aimless claim of a fraudulent election came as a surprise but for others, it was expected. As Bernie Sanders predicted, a significant amount of mail-in votes were cast by Democrats. However, it would take time to count, and therefore on election night, Trump would look like the projected winner, gaining swing states like Pennsylvania and Nevada, then as days continue and these mail-in ballots are counted the expected candidate to be leading would shift to Joe Biden. Bernie explains, “... Unlike states like Florida or Vermont, they’re not able for bad reasons to begin processing those ballots until Election Day or maybe when the polls close. That means you’re going to have states dealing with perhaps millions of mail-in ballots… Here is my worry. What polls show, and what studies have shown, is that, for whatever reason, Democrats are more likely to use mail-in ballots. Republicans are more likely to walk into polling booths on Election Day. It is likely that the first votes that will be counted will be those people who came in on Election Day, which will be Republican… And here is the fear – and I hope everybody hears it – it could well be, you know, I don’t know what’s going to happen, nobody does. But it could well be that, at 10 o’clock on election night, Trump is winning in Michigan, he’s winning in Pennsylvania, he’s winning in Wisconsin, and he gets on the television and he says ‘Thank you Americans for re-electing me. It’s all over, have a good day.’ But then the next day, and the day following, all of those mail-in ballots start getting counted, and it turns out that Biden has won those states. And Trump says, ‘See? I told you the whole thing was fraudulent. I told you those mail-in ballots were crooked. And we’re not going to leave the office.’ So that is a worry that I and a lot of people have.”
Now, a concern that many were worried about, Donald Trump’s refusal to concede, has, unfortunately, come true. This has hurt the American people significantly and will continue to do so. Not only does his decisions tarnish the reliability of our democracy, but it also hurts millions of people considering the ongoing risk of Covid-19. Jake Peterson points out, “... it threatens our ability to function as a smooth and clear democracy. A fair and easy transfer of power is something we pride ourselves on in America. Carter did it, Bush did it as well, now it is Trump's turn, Yet he refuses to, and that is directly threatening our safety. This refusal is making Biden's transition team be unable to get briefings on national security and other important matters. This whinny fight over who won could result indirectly affecting matters overseas as well as American's lives and other important high sensitive situations.” Frankly, as Jake suggests, Trump’s refusal to concede is an issue beyond politics. There are current issues that are becoming more and more vulnerable including the ongoing threat of Covid-19, climate change, police and education reform, and equal rights.
Some argue that it is within Trump’s power to demand a recount and sue individual states; however, an even greater issue arises when he refuses to give access to intelligence briefings, amongst other decisive information, to Joe Biden. He was intentionally blocking Biden’s ability to transition and fulfill his plans. Now, …
Chris Krebs, former United States Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, is one of the many refuting Trump’s claims of a fraudulent election. Krebs was fired after putting out the following statement, “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, or changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” This tweet was speculated to be a response to Trump’s earlier tweet, that furthered his unwarranted allegations of a fraudulent election.
Defensively Trump tweeted, “The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud-including dead people voting, Poll watchers not allowed into polling locations, ‘glitches’ in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more. Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.” Trump’s claims of a fraudulent election are baseless and have been in fact proven wrong. Most recently Georgia’s votes have been recounted by hand. The results have been found to be consistent with the machine count. Additionally, according to Chris Krebs, there were no indications of fraud through foreign or domestic actors that altered the result of the election, “before, or after November 3rd.” As the Trump team continues to sue states and receive information that debunks a fraudulent election, figures in prominent positions that entertain his claims are only continuing to damage the reliability of our democracy. Furthermore, it is dividing our nation even more.