The 2020 Election Aftermath
Tuesday November 3, 2020, election day, lasted five days. But it felt like five years.
As the polls closed that night and results started pouring in, people anxiously watched news reports and updates, hoping for their candidates to pull through. But, it did not matter if you stayed awake all night, as we didn’t have any clear sense of the results. In fact, it was still a close race when we woke up the next morning. Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, were ahead in the electoral college and his supporters were hoping for him to flip states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona, but with most swing states uncalled, Republican nominee President Donald Trump still had a chance. Thursday and Friday were the same; Biden slowly secured his lead but it was still possible for Trump to keep his lead in swing states that had not finalized their vote tallies.
As election day became election week, social media was blowing up with memes, gifs, and videos describing the situation. Everyone poked fun at Nevada for taking so long to count their votes while Gen Z took to TikTok, saying they couldn’t do their homework because waiting for election results was too stressful. After all, the next president is going to lead a severely divided country during a pandemic, and be faced with the ever growing issue of climate change.
On the fifth day, Saturday November 7, the final results were called: Biden and Harris had won the 2020 Presidential Election. For Biden voters, there was finally a sense of peace, as though everyone let out a collective sigh of relief. With masks on, people in some cities took to the streets in celebration, dancing, clapping, shouting, and marching together with signs. In such a difficult year, it was empowering to see the positivity among Americans and the optimism for our democracy. When Harris and Biden gave their victory speeches that night, Harris acknowledged the monumental step for women and said, “But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last. Because every little girl watching to- night sees that this is a country of possibilities.” Biden meanwhile, promised “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 irony of the day was President Trump’s tweet hours before the results became official, in which he said, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” Since then, he has been mass tweeting false accusations about election fraud, demanding recounts, and filing absurd lawsuits in several states. Swing states like Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin were forced to recount millions of votes, finishing in late November, only reaffirming the win for President-elect Biden, with a greater lead than previously thought. President Trump is showing us that he is not prepared to execute a peaceful transfer of power, something that has been vital to our democracy since the founding of the country. He is trying to prevent Biden from working with his administration to smoothly transition. Until Trump’s General Services Administrator (GSA), Emily Murphy, signs off on Biden’s win, the President-elect’s team won’t have access to vital information. Despite not having a case for the election fraud he suggests, Trump still refuses to concede.
Regardless of the challenging circumstances, Biden’s team is working hard to plan work starting on January 20, 2021. According to The New York Times, Biden needed access to budget information in order to create a concrete plan for his pandemic response. He could not get that information unless Trump and his GSA signed off on the paperwork for the transition. Despite setbacks like this, in his victory speech, Biden promised immediate response to the pandemic the moment he is inaugurated. “I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden-Harris Covid plan and convert it into an action blueprint that starts on January 20, 2021.”
The response to the pandemic is crucial for Biden, especially now that we are deep into the second wave, with case numbers exceeding anything we’ve seen before. President Trump has continuously rejected the advice from the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and count- less other experts and healthcare workers. Biden promises to formulate a response entirely centered around their expertise. He will also be tasked with the distribution of a vaccine, as both Pfizer and Moderna’s clinical trials came to a successful close. With a vaccine on the horizon and the Inauguration only a few weeks away, the Biden/Harris team is working hard to prepare for work at the White House. And many Americans are finally feeling optimistic in a year that has felt hopeless.