2020 Presidential Election Breaks History


(Credit: Variety/AP Images)

To say that the 2020 Presidential Election was a whirlwind would be a severe understatement. In most years the election would last for one day only – the first Tuesday of November. Voters would go to their respective polling places and cast their ballots. Early the next morning, the president-elect would be announced on different news stations. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year was vastly different. There were 3 different ways of casting a vote- mail-in ballots, voting early, or voting in person on election day. 

On social media platforms, such as Twitter, Tiktok, and Instagram, influencers were rallying their eligible followers to vote this election. Bumper stickers with the simple word “vote” revealed the commitment of United States citizens. Former VP Joe Biden had encouraged his voters to mail in their votes in order to stay safe during the pandemic. On the other hand, President Donald Trump urged his supporters to overwhelm the polls on election day. This resulted in almost 3 times more of mail-in ballots being blue votes compared to red votes. 

Watching the CNN electoral vote slowly fill in with the consistent red and blue states, such as California, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Tennessee, it seemed that the night ahead might look the same as the 2016 Presidential Election had. At first, there seemed to be a possibility that two states that are normally red, Florida and Texas, would go blue. However, after several hours, both states went red. Winning Florida would’ve almost guaranteed a win for Joe Biden. Throughout the evening, as more polling locations closed, it looked like swing states- Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Georgia, and North Carolina- would be going to President Trump. As many citizens on the East Coast went to bed on Tuesday night, despite warnings from many news sources that the numbers were sure to change over the next few days, it seemed that the election was over, and President Trump would continue his term for another four years.

Very early on Wednesday morning, to the surprise of many, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan had all gone blue. President Trump’s lead was quickly closing in Georgia and Pennsylvania as more mail-in votes were counted. Much to the irritation of US citizens, two states, Nevada and Pennsylvania, were moving very slowly through their ballots. Tik Toks and memes flooded social media platforms, attempting to dissuade the nervous tension throughout the country. Both candidate President Trump and Former VP Joe Biden made statements about the election, affirming their conviction that they would win. 

As President Trump slowly but surely began to lose his lead in many swing states, he called for states to stop counting votes. He prematurely stated that he had won the election and continuously insisted that the count stopped. Twitter deleted many of his tweets with a warning that the comments may be misleading about the election and/or civic process. As the gap got narrower, he tweeted: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” On Thursday, President Trump took to the stage where he falsely claimed that he had already won the election and that election officials were trying to steal his victory. This angered both Republicans and Democrats all over the country. Many accused President Trump of undermining the election process and refusing to accept any circumstance in which he loses. Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum said on CNN, “There may be some validity in the thing you believe, but to go out there and suggest that this is rigged or that counting votes in my home state [Pennsylvania] by clerks all over 67 counties  and as you keep losing votes was somehow rigged? No. Democrats voted by mail and that’s why your lead went away.” President Trump’s continuous allegations that mail-in votes are fraudulent and illegal surprised many as he himself voted by mail.

Confusing protests rocked the country over the next few days as many Republican voters called for the count to be stopped in Pennsylvania and Georgia, but for the vote to be continued in Arizona and Nevada. Former VP Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris both stated that every vote would be counted and every American voice would be heard. As both candidates declared their belief that they would win the election, it was announced that President Trump would be filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan. It is clear that there is a long road ahead for the United States.

On Saturday morning, all major news networks projected Joe Biden to be the 46th United States President with 290 electoral votes, with Sen. Kamala Harris as Vice President, breaking several barriers in US history. He made his first speech on Saturday night as President-Elect, thanking the American people and promising he would reunite the United States. He said, “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.” President Trump has not yet conceded and has made it clear that he believes that he won the election. The President has still produced no public evidence for his claims on voter fraud. On Monday morning, it was rumored that members of the President’s inner circle, including Jared Kushner and First Lady Melania Trump, advised him to accept his loss while his children and other prominent Republicans, such as Senator Linsey Graham, have said that he should pursue his legal battle (Business Insider). The President also expressed his frustration on Twitter about the lack of support for his lawsuit from fellow Republican government officials. 

The vote count still continues in Georgia and North Carolina. As both Republicans and Democrats have congratulated the Biden-Harris team for their win, respect is still present even in the most stressful periods. Although election proceedings are far from over as election officials recount votes, it is important to remember that holding contempt for those who share different opinions than us will only encourage further division among the United States people. Remember to have courageous conversations and that in order for the United States to succeed, we must find common ground and compromise. 

Erica Brown ’22