Opinion: 2020 Election Results Yield Hope for the Future
By Sophia Alexandrou
Though 2020 has marked itself as one of the most politically tense years the United States has seen in a long time, November 3rd was arguably the tensest day of this entire year. Millions of votes were collected to decide whether President Trump would remain in office for the next four years, or if former vice president Joe Biden would take his place. Due to millions of Americans voting by mail this year, counting the votes took much longer than previous elections. In the 2016 election, Trump was announced the official winner of the election the morning after election day. It was not until Saturday, November 7, that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were announced the official winners of this year’s election, four days after election day. To say a lot happened in these four days would be an understatement.
Firstly, just as many politicians and political analysts feared, President Trump announced his win prematurely. Though the ballots had not been fully counted, with many swing states still up for grabs, Trump tweeted on November 4, “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!” Having a platform as enormous his, and consciously spreading misinformation, is extremely damaging and an acute threat to democracy. Not only is this tweet, and many others authored by the President released before and after, incorrect, but it was a catalyst in the creation and spread of ridiculous conspiracy theories of voter fraud that only exist because Trump and his minion-like fan base saw that he was losing and did not like it. A scary amount of his followers idolize him to the point where he can do no wrong. This is not to say that other politicians do not have followers who do the same, but this election really brought out how blind Trump supporters, and people in general, can be to their environment when hyper-focused on one thing.
The reason the President assumed he had won was because of his very own words. During his campaign, he frequently encouraged his voters to vote in person, making false claims about voter fraud. Because of this, most of his supporters voted in person. These in-person ballots were counted first, which is why most of the swing states, many of which ended up going blue, seemed to have Trump in the lead early on in the counting. This was around the time when he claimed that he had won. However, when the mail-in ballots started being counted, swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and even Georgia started to turn blue. This is because more people who opted to vote by mail ended up voting for Biden. As he saw these states slowly become bluer, he ran to his favorite method of stress relief: Twitter. In one insightful tweet released on November 5, the President said, “STOP THE COUNT.” He was claiming voter fraud because the votes in favor of Biden were dramatically increasing. This is also known as counting. With chants of “Stop the count!” the President’s supporters and the President himself were protesting the counting of ballots in an election. They were fighting for the ballot counters to commit voter fraud. This whole initiative was as big a joke towards democracy as the electoral college is.
During this time, President-elect Joe Biden remained publicly calm, and encouraged his supporters to remain patient and relaxed. Though he was probably just as stressed as most of America was that day, his composure and words of hope during this time paid off when he was announced as the 46th President of the United States and his running mate, Kamala Harris, made history as the first female and person of color to be elected vice president. Though it is nice to finally have some sort of competence in the White House, this is not to say that the fight is over. Americans need to continue to be critical of their elected officials because if they aren’t, democracy in this country will crumble before their very eyes.