Nov 10, 2020

The 2020 Presidential Election - All You Need to Know

Kristin Kerr

Well, folks, the news we’ve all been patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for is finally here. The 2020 presidential election was the 59th quadrennial presidential election held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Four days later, Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States. 

The Election Issues

Central issues of the 2020 presidential election included the public health and economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest in reaction to the police killing of George Floyd and others, and the future of the Supreme Court following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.

Delay in Reporting

Now, why were we all left waiting on the edge of our seats for days following the 2020 presidential election? This year’s election saw a record number of ballots cast early and by mail because of many states' restrictions on mail-in voting due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the heavy amount of mail-in ballots, many swing states experienced delays in vote counting and reporting. This is the reason why several major news outlets couldn’t announce a winner until four days after the election. By the morning of Saturday, November 7, Biden and Harris were declared winners by all major news outlets. 

Donald Trump Vs. Joe Biden

It’s no surprise that after the 2020 presidential election was called on Saturday morning, Trump and Republicans made false claims to persuade doubt on the legitimacy of the election. Biden and Harris are scheduled to be inaugurated on January 20, 2021; however, Trump has not yet conceded. Aside from not conceding, Trump has also threatened further legal action on ballot counting. Trump is only the third elected president since World War II to lose re-election and the first in more than a quarter-century. Oh, and another first? The results also provided a history-making moment for Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, who will become the first woman to serve as Vice President.


Biden’s Victory

Following Biden’s victory going viral, he publicly offered himself to the US as a leader who “seeks not to divide, but to unify” a country gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil. 

Biden based his candidacy less on political ideologies that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy. Alternatively, Biden’s strategy was an appeal to Americans wanting a return to a more traditional presidency, proved effective, and resulted in pivotal victories in Michigan and Wisconsin as well as Pennsylvania. 

“It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to each other again, to make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy,” he said. “We are not enemies. We are Americans.” - Joe Biden

In summary, Biden’s presidency was a result of Trumps’ poor racial justice and economic fairness. Not to mention his strategy in times of a virus that has killed more than 230,000 Americans and completely transformed societal norms for everyday living, not to forget the millions of jobs that have also been lost as a result.

Kamala Harris

We’ve talked about Biden, we’ve talked about Trump, but it’s fair to also shine a spotlight on Kamala Harris here. Harris made history in the 2020 presidential election as the first Black woman and the first person of South Asian descent to become vice president. This alone made a massive mark in history, especially because the US has faced its fair share of racial injustice. This means that Kamala Harris will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government. 


The Rally

Following Biden and Harris’s victory celebration, Trump issued a defensive statement saying his campaign would take unspecified legal actions. He later followed up with an all-caps tweet in which he falsely declared, “I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES.” Twitter immediately flagged it as misleading.

Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992. His refusal to concede has no legal implications. But it could add to the incoming administration’s challenge of bringing the country together after an unsteady election.

Biden’s Got What It Takes

Trump more than once refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, arguing without evidence that the election could be marred by fraud. Aside from Trump, Biden was congratulated by many world leaders and his former boss, President Barack Obama. 

In a statement, Obama declared the nation was “fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way.”
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