Reflecting on Historic Presidential Election


Photo by Gage Skidmore

Joe Biden on the campaign trail that led to his 2020 victory. “Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2020 United States Presidential election finally ended with a victory for Joe Biden after five days of close races and prolonged vote counting. Major news media outlets called the state of Pennsylvania for former Vice President Joe Biden on November 7, 2020, putting him above the 270 electoral votes required to obtain the presidency, and naming him the President-Elect of the United States of America. 

This was preceded by 5 days of tension and uncertainty as states counted large numbers of mail-in and early absentee votes in what turned out to be a historic presidential election. While these types of voting are not unique to the 2020 presidential election, they certainly saw a large increase of voters as it was a less-contact alternative compared to voting on Election Day during an ongoing global pandemic. Due to this, election results were prolonged.

LHS sophomore Ivy Jorges reflects on the experience of watching the results come in live, saying:

“I knew that I wasn’t going to be instant, my parents and the news anchors had been saying not to expect to know the President elect on November 3rd. Even though it took a while, it’s important in this country that we make sure every voice is heard and that every vote is counted.”

Indeed, this election was not just historic because it took place during a pandemic, but also because it saw the highest number of voter turnout in the history of the United States. Joe Biden received the most votes for any U.S. president with 78,673,539 votes, or 50.8% of the popular vote and Donald Trump received about 10 million more votes than he received in the popular vote in 2016. 

It was possible to discern a pattern in the votes which were being counted as the days went on. On election night, most states counted election day votes, which favored Donald Trump, when states began stating mail-in or early absentee votes, they found that those generally favored Joe Biden. In this way, Biden was able to overtake Trump’s lead in several states which had previously voted Republican, and flip them Democrat, the most notable of these being Pennsylvania, which won Biden the 270 electoral votes needed to become the next president and Georgia, a state which had not voted Democrat since 1992. 

Because of this, Trump made statements on twitter calling for states to stop counting the post-election day votes as well as filing several lawsuits to halt the count of the votes in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, all of which flipped blue for Biden. Despite close races in several battle ground states including Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, Donald Trump became the first president to lose reelection since 1992. Trump did not react positively to the results of the election, going as far as falsely claiming that the results were fraudulent, to the shock of many in the nation. 

Jorges says of this, “There were some people saying that there were accounts of voter fraud and that just sets a bad precedent for our country. There were both Democrats and Republicans in the room where people were counting votes in the battleground states and they didn’t see any accounts of voter fraud.”

Jorges went on to say that the results demonstrated the precedent which she wishes for the country to set. “One of the main lessons to be learned from this election is that our voices count and that we need to turn this country around. Our country faced racism, sexism, fascism, bigotry, and hatred in the face and said “ok” in 2016. Since then, our country has only gotten worse with rising cases in COVID-19 to growing tension with race relations. In this election our country stood up and said “no more” to the hate that was spreading across America. We initiated the change that we wanted to see and now it’s time to actually work for it.” 

Indeed, it has been one central of the promises of the Biden-Harris campaign to fight for equal-opportunities in the U.S. as well as combating systemic racism in the justice system. Biden’s election was also a historic win for diversity as his ticket included Californian Senator Kamala Harris who, as a daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, became the first woman of color, and indeed, the first woman to be elected to the post of Vice President of the United States. 

Jorges mentions it was such an historic occasion for her, saying, “For me, as a woman and as a person of color, to see [Harris] elected has had huge effects on me…It was very powerful to see the first woman a Vice President, and not only the first woman but also the first woman of color as well. It took this country a long time to have a woman become Vice President but I am glad that I got to witness it. It is hugely empowering and uplifting to see such a strong and powerful woman take the role of Vice President.”    

Upon reflecting on the results and lessons from such a historic election, she says, “The takeaway I have gotten from this election is that not to take our voting right for granted and if we see something that needs to be fixed or changed that we have the power to make our voices heard.”

As of November 15, Trump has yet to concede the election results to Biden.