The Aftermath of the 2020 Election--Red Mirages, White Flags, and Blue Waves

2020 -- arguably the most influential, important, and controversial election of America’s existence. This event is momentous, historic, and to many people, completely unexpected. Half of America is celebrating and dancing in the streets, while the other half is demanding a recount. So why in the world did this election, given that it was held during a pandemic and featured two polarizing candidates, unfold the way it did?


The first thing to recognize was that the 2016 campaign and election were incredibly divisive and ridden with personal attacks from both candidates. Both alleged that the other was a criminal, brought their families into it, and made the process more contentious than it had been in decades. Immediately following the 2016 election, the rumblings of 2020 began, eventually putting 2016 to shame in terms of ferocity. 


This election was a topic of conversation for months preceding it and fueled the already prevalent divide between Americans. Both candidates expressed deep criticism and distaste for each other. President Trump called his opponent “the worst presidential candidate in history,” while Biden told Trump he was “The Worst President America has ever had' during a debate. They, as well as their supporters, fought on both of their records within public service and their personal lives. 


The one thing every American did agree on was the importance of voting. Both parties turned out in droves to support their candidates. Biden encouraged his supporters to use mail-in and early voting to be safe during the pandemic, while Trump insisted his supporters vote in-person to avoid “fraud.” 


This resulted in Trump leading in many key swing states on Election Day, but as mail-in votes, provisional ballots, and early votes were counted, key states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada flipped blue. In return, Trump and many of his supporters have considered suing these states, demanding a recount, and not accepting the results of this election. 


Regardless, almost every major news outlet has named Biden the winner, and he has come forward to accept his victory. Even if it will take recounts (which seems unlikely at the moment), Joseph R Biden is now President-elect Biden! 


This is monumental for a few reasons -- Biden has broken the record for the highest number of votes for a presidential candidate (a whopping 74 million, with more mail-in ballots to be counted in a few states). This demonstrates the power of voting by mail and the idea that if voting is accessible, more Americans will vote. 


Biden is also the oldest President-elect in history. In addition, Kamala Harris will become the first female Vice President and first Vice President of color. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, will be the first Second Gentleman, as well as the first Jewish second spouse. 


Not only will this presidency be historic, but it will also bring many changes. Biden has vowed to enact a national mask mandate, as encouraged by Dr. Anthony Fauci. This will undoubtedly save hundreds of thousands of American lives.


Biden will also have the United States rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and seriously address the impending threat of climate change. Most importantly, though, Biden will be every American’s president, will not use divisive rhetoric, and will not threaten the rights of people of color, any religious minority, or those in the LGBTQ+ community. 


One of the essential takeaways from this election is that despite worries of violence, voter intimidation, and voter fraud, none of that actually took place. Each state diligently and accurately counted votes, and there were no violent outbreaks or threats of violence at polling places. This is crucial because it gives hope that even if, as a country, we are extremely divided, there is a chance for us to unite around the common good. 


Another chance for our entire country to come together will come in the form of Biden’s cabinet. Biden was one of over twenty candidates who competed for the Democratic nomination. Similarly to President Obama, Biden will likely invite his former competitors, like Senator Sanders, Senator Warren, and many others to hold positions in his cabinet. Biden may also consider Stacey Abrams, who played a monumental role in registering voters in Georgia. Considering Georgia has historically been a Republican stronghold, Abram’s work and activism is extremely apparent and influential in furthering Democrats’ power


In addition, according to Politico, Biden is thinking of appointing several prominent Republicans to his cabinet. This includes former Ohio Governor John Kasich and the CEO of Quibi, Meg Whitman, both of whom spoke on Biden’s behalf at the Democratic National Convention.


In short, the next four years are promised to be ones of healing, a return to normalcy, and a chance for Americans of all political affiliations to make peace.