2020 Election

2020+Election

Jessica Lattanzi, Opinions Editor

On Saturday, November 7th, the Associated Press and multiple other news outlets declared former Vice President Joseph R. Biden the winner of the 2020 Presidential race and deemed him the country’s President-Elect. The tipping point was when the former Vice President secured his lead in Pennsylvania and gained twenty electoral votes, which pushed him over the needed 270. Biden also won the popular vote by a margin of seven million votes. Biden, a 1961 Archmere alum, will be the first Auk to serve as President. He ran against the Republican incumbent, President Donald Trump. These two names have saturated our conversation, social media platforms and news feeds for the past several months leading up to the 2020 presidential election. 

Joe Biden officially became the Democratic nominee after Senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race in April. Biden, a former Delaware senator of 36 years and former Vice President to Barack Obama, faced a difficult opponent in current President Trump. Trump won the 2016 election against Democratic nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 306 electoral votes to 232. 

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, both candidates faced immense pressure and difficulties. With new cases surging, many voters resorted to mail-in voting to avoid large crowds and maintain social distancing on election day. President Trump expressed disdain and skepticism about the legitimacy of mail-in voting and encouraged his supporters to vote in person. In contrast, Vice President Biden urged his voters to stay safe by voting by mail if necessary. These opposing tunes would turn out to be critical to the outcome of the race. 

The buildup to election day was an emotional rollercoaster ride for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. Similar to their stances on mail-in voting, the candidates also had vastly different campaign strategies. President Trump hosted several lively, large, and largely unmasked rallies to generate support. Vice President Biden, on the other hand, hosted smaller, socially distanced, drive-in rallies. In addition, two heated debates between the nominees exposed various aspects of their characters and policies. 

Originally there were three scheduled debates, but after the first fiery meeting, President Trump, along with various other members of his team tested positive for COVID-19. This unexpected incident temporarily halted Trump’s in-person rallies, but he continued to address his supporters and the nation through his Twitter and Instagram accounts. The President recovered quickly from the virus with no outstanding long term effects, and both candidates continued to set their sights on election night.

Wrapping up their campaigns, Biden and Trump along with the rest of the world watched as democracy ran its course on the evening of November third. Due to the vast number of mail-in-ballots, no one really expected the election to be called in one night. Some thought it could be decided by the next afternoon, and others anticipated the counting would take weeks. As the polls began to close at 8:00 PM that Tuesday, a wave of anticipation set in across the nation and even the world. Ballot counters began to tirelessly count millions of ballots. The first state to be called was Vermont which turned blue for Biden. Subsequently, the second state to be called was Kentucky which was called red for President Trump. 

The outcome of most of the states was as predicted. The real determining factors were critical battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, and Texas. Florida and Texas, two highly populated states with large numbers of electoral votes, both went to Trump as projected. The rest of the battleground states remained undecided for the next several hours. Biden gained an early lead in Arizona but trailed the President initially in the rest of these states. However, Biden’s view of mail-in-ballots helped to change the tides in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan. As mail-in-ballots were counted, Biden slowly began to take the lead in each of the remaining critical states. Because Biden had supported mail-in-ballots, the majority of these votes went to him, stripping the President of his lead. According to The Washington Post, the President’s discouragement of mail-in ballots likely contributed to the low number of Republican-leaning ballots in these crucial elections.

President Trump expressed great contempt over this turn of events, urging his supporters to “STOP THE COUNT!”, and claiming fraud due to mail-in-ballots. The Trump administration followed up by filing lawsuits in both federal and state courts for states where Biden’s lead was slim such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada. Several of his lawsuits have already been tossed out for lack of sufficient evidence, but the Trump administration is remaining hopeful and refuses to accept defeat. 

Nevertheless, President-elect Biden is to become the oldest person ever to serve as president and will be 78 years old when he takes office. His running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, will break many barriers for the nation. She will be the first woman, African American, South Asian, and child of immigrants to serve as Vice President. Biden supporters across the country celebrated the victory in the streets early Saturday afternoon. Cheers erupted from the streets of cities such as New York City, Washington D.C, and Philadelphia. There were also celebrations along the Wilmington riverfront near where President-elect Biden was to deliver his victory speech that evening. 

While many considered this a joyous occasion, Trump supporters across the country experienced sadness and indignation. They protested the election, matching Trump’s tone by calling mail-in ballots unfair and a “hoax”. The Trump administration continues to investigate the authenticity of the election, and Trump claims that the results are not final yet.

Meanwhile, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris gave their victory speeches at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday evening. Harris opened for Biden with an especially moving speech for the young girls listening. She said that she would “not be the last woman in this office,” encouraging girls to continue to pursue their dreams. Harris wore a solid white suit to symbolize the woman’s suffrage movement. Biden followed with a unifying speech for the nation. He opened with a passionate cheer for his home state of Delaware. He then rallied the nation together, calling for an end to the coronavirus and systemic racism. He especially thanked the African American community for having his back, promising to advocate for them in return. He also addressed those who did not vote for him, saying “I pledge to be a President who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see Red and Blue states, but a United States. And who will work with all my heart to win the confidence of the whole people.” The night ended with celebratory fireworks and a light show. You can watch the full speech here

There is no doubt that not just our nation, but the world was invested in this race. In the midst of a global pandemic, all eyes turn to our leaders for the next steps. We can only imagine what the future will hold.