Biden Wins Election Week 2020


Photo Credits: CBS News

Farhan Ahsan, Opinions Editor

The American people have spoken. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are now the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect. When all the votes are counted, it is very likely that they will have 306 Electoral Votes– the same number President Trump won in 2016. They have also received the most votes of any presidential ticket in history, surpassing Obama’s record set in his historic 2008 landslide. However, this was far from a landslide victory for Biden and Harris. Narrow victories in Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania propelled them to the White House. So, how did we get here? What are the big takeaways from this election? What’s next? Let’s take a deep dive into all of this:


Biden’s Long Road to Victory

It’s no secret that President-Elect Biden has been in politics for a long time. His first run was back in 1988. He was considered to be a strong candidate for the Democratic nomination; however, accusations of a plagiarized speech derailed his candidacy. In 2008, he fell to a young upstart, Barack Obama. But Obama saw something special in Biden, and chose him to be his running mate. They would go on to rebuild the economy from the ruins of the Great Recession. Fast forward to 2020, Biden had a rough start to the Democratic primary. Kamala Harris attacked him for his stance on the integration of school busing in the 1980s. He even failed to finish in the top 3 in any of the first 3 primary states. Many thought Biden should drop out and allow a new generation of leadership in the Democratic Party to shine. But then, South Carolina happened. The electorate in South Carolina, which comprised an African-American majority, gave the Biden campaign a resounding victory. This victory would propel Biden to the nomination amidst the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic would become his signature issue in the general election, resonating to people from all walks of life. When results weren’t looking so good on Election Night, Biden remained calm and hopeful. Just a few days later, Pennsylvania, his home state, would give him the victory. Once all the dust settles, he will have flipped 5 states from the 2016 election from Republican to Democrat. This includes Arizona (which hasn’t been won by a Democrat since 1996), and Georgia (which hasn’t been won by a Democrat since 1992). His popular vote margin of victory should reach about 5 to 6 million votes. He also rebuilt the Blue Wall, a group of states that had voted for Democrats since 1988 but crumbled in 2016. Now, he’s got a long road ahead of him. He must unite and repair a country divided among so many lines. From issues of the economy to COVID-19, he’s going to be a very busy president. But if there’s anyone who has the experience and ability to do this, it’s Joe Biden.


Kamala Harris Makes History

Back in March, Joe Biden made the promise of choosing a woman as his running mate. He believed it was time to finally burst that glass ceiling. What many did not expect was that he would choose Kamala Harris. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden had a contentious relationship during the Democratic primaries. Biden was deeply hurt by racial accusations made by Harris. Frankly, his choice to choose Harris speaks to his outstanding character. This cycle, Harris made history as the first woman, along with the first South Asian, African-American and biracial woman, to serve as Vice President. Considering that women had gained suffrage only 100 years ago, this is tremendous progress for our country. As Harris succinctly put it, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last”. 


Republican Optimism

While they may have lost the White House, Republicans have outperformed all expectations. They will look to call the Presidential election “a referendum on a person and not about conservative principles”. In many ways, this is true. Instead of losing a predicted 10-15 seats in the House of Representatives, they will gain 10 seats and are now in striking distance of taking the majority in 2022. Republicans had excellent results with state legislatures, which have the power to gerrymander districts, and in local races across America. The “blue wave” that all the polls and media were projecting did not come to fruition. They can still win the Senate if they can win 1 of the 2 seats in the all-important Georgia runoff this January. The underlying takeaway for Republicans is that many still agree with their principles of family values and personal responsibility. Conservatism still thrives in America and isn’t going away. 


Donald Trump is being Donald Trump

Donald Trump has yet to concede this election. If there’s anything we know about this President, it would be that he is untraditional in every way. He’s still fighting many court battles in swing states, but a lack of substantial evidence regarding voting fraud is hurting his case. The only proven case of voting fraud so far is a Trump voter who tried to vote twice. While he has every right to go through these legal processes, it is unjust to baselessly cast doubt on the integrity of the election. Trump is still the face of the Republican Party and holds massive influence. Losing an election is always difficult, especially when you have never lost one before. A 2024 run at the presidency is still very possible once he concedes this election. But for now, healing our polarized country should be the priority. Hopefully, Trump will be able to come together with President-Elect Biden and help move the country forward. 


What’s Next?

For the first time in history, 2 runoff elections in Georgia next January will decide which party controls the Senate. This will have substantial influence on the type of policy and legislation that a Biden-Harris administration can pass through Congress. A Democratic majority will allow the progressive wing of the Democratic party to have more influence on legislation while a Republican majority would force Biden to remain moderate. Democrats need to win 2 seats to gain the majority, while Republicans only need 1. 


Friendly Reminder!

It was inspiring to see so many people get involved in the democratic process this election cycle. While the election is over, the work that needs to be done is not. Elections on their own do not solve problems. It is important that we hold our elected officials responsible and make sure they keep their promises. Regardless of whether or not your candidate won, that elected official’s job is to represent you and try their best to address your concerns. If there’s something that you believe needs to be addressed, contact them. Seriously, contact them. Yes, they do respond. It’s their job to help you, and if they are unable to then maybe you should consider a change when the next election rolls around. Last thing! If your candidate won, please be a gracious winner. In other words, don’t gloat. We’re all Americans and we all want the best for our country– even if we disagree on the direction we should go.