- General overview
This election was one for the books! From having record voter turnout during a pandemic, to a diverse body of candidates being elected to Congress, 2020 elections made history in more ways than just electing the first female vice-president.
Joe Biden was officially elected as the 46th President of the United States of America on November 7, 2020. The race came down to a small number of key battleground states, and after flipping Pennsylvania, Biden crossed the 270 electoral votes threshold needed to win, beating incumbent Donald Trump.
President Trump is still yet to concede and is using any legal means to try and overturn the results of the elections. However, all his efforts so far have been unsuccessful. This week, the Trump administration finally granted the Biden administration access to necessary funding and information to officially partake in his position as President-elect.
The public’s reaction to this election has also been media worthy, with people from both sides taking to the streets. Trump supporters gathered to protest the results, whereas Biden supporters celebrated. However, the elections are yet to be over. Georgia’s senate race has not been called, and will now face a run-off election in January.
- Trump’s legal actions
Since the results have been announced, the Trump campaign has alleged voter fraud and filed lawsuits in some key states. These are mainly Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. However, election officials have said that there has been no evidence of voter fraud and the elections have not been compromised in any way. In fact, some have claimed that this has been one of the most secure elections in American history.
President Trump threatened to go to the US Supreme Court, however it is unlikely that this will happen. These claims are first required to be upheld in state courts and so far, all of them have been dismissed.
The White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany previously spoke to Fox News and said that President Trump still believes he will have a second term in office. His refusal to concede the elections sets a dangerous precedent and undermines the legitimacy of the US election process. Sources suggest that allies who are close to President Trump are urging him to accept defeat and not further undermine the US election process.
- History being made
This year’s elections prompted the highest voter turnout in the US’s recent history, with only 6 states not reporting a record-breaking turnout. More people voted early in 2020 than in any other election in US history. Around two-thirds of eligible Americans voted, which is historic on its own, since the US has some of the worst voter turnouts in the world.
Record voter turnout wasn’t the only history being made in this election. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate and vice-president elect, made history by being the first woman to take office. She is the first Black and Asian-American person to be Vice President-elect.
Apart from Harris, many additional candidates made history as well. Sarah McBride is the first openly trans state senator, after winning her election in Delaware. Ritchie Torres became the first and the youngest openly LGBTQ Afro-Latinx member of Congress from the Bronx, NY. Marilyn Strickland is the first Korean-American woman to ever be elected to congress by winning Washington’s 10th Congressional District. Mauree Turner became Oklahoma’s first Muslim and the first openly non-binary senator. Madison Cawthron, who is partly paralyzed, is the youngest republican to ever be elected to the House. This is just a small list from the wide range of incoming candidates who were elected into the US Congress.
- Public reaction
President Trump’s rhetoric and his refusal to concede the elections are having real-life consequences. Thousands of pro-trump rallies were held all over the country after the results of the elections were announced. The protesters included members of far-right groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers militia groups, who showed up wearing bulletproof vests and helmets. Violence broke out between pro and anti-Trump protests and 20 people were arrested. Additionally, reports suggest that one person was stabbed and two police officers were injured in downtown Washington.
On the other hand, Biden supporters took to the streets to celebrate the Biden-Harris victory and the end of the Trump Administration. Fireworks were set off in Washington D.C’s Black Lives Matter Plaza, where a crowd had formed, not too far away from the White House. People took to the streets, honked their car horns, danced, banged pots and pans to show their support. Celebrations took place in almost every major city throughout the country, including Miami, Florida, where Biden lost the electoral vote.
- Georgia elections and the senate
Even though Joe Biden won the presidency, it does not mean that elections are over, especially in the state of Georgia. While voting for a president, certain states were also voting for representatives in the Senate. The Georgia senate seat was not decided in this election cycle and will therefore have a run-off election in January, that will decide which way the Senate will lean.
This is a crucial moment. There are two seats available that are currently held by republicans. If both democratic candidates win, then democrats will take control of the Senate as well, which means that they will have control over two-thirds of the branches of government. However, if even one republican candidate wins, that means that the GOP will keep their majority in the Senate and there will be a political gridlock. Any policy proposals that are passed in the House of Representative, might not pass in the Senate. This will make passing laws especially difficult because of ideological differences.
Image: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters