Natalie Bachman & Skylar Long
Early this November, former vice president Joe Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States, defeating current President Donald Trump. The 2020 presidential election brought forth a record voter turnout; 65% of eligible citizens cast ballots. This year also introduced the widespread use of mail-in ballots, giving citizens a way to do their civic duty from the safety of their homes. At the moment, there has been no proven evidence of voter fraud. Despite this, Trump has not yet conceded and has been insisting on the fact. The transition of power, though, has begun.
As a result of the electoral college, most of the race happens in the swing states, often referred to as the “battleground states”. These are states that could either vote Democrat or Republican. Early in the counting, it was believed that Nevada would be the determining state. As the absentee ballots began filing in, however, states such as Georgia and Pennsylvania began leaning towards Biden. Georgia encompassed one of the closest races, with a Democrat victory by a mere 0.1%.
As the states were counting their votes, Donald Trump called to stop the ballot counting. His reasoning was that there were fraudulent mail-in-ballots. Stopping the count would mean that the vote count would be off, as not all citizens’ voices would be considered. Trump was using this as a rallying cry to get people to stop the vote count, and possibly get a recount to occur.
Most of the absentee ballots were in Biden’s favor, thus why Trump periodically referred to it as a “blue wave”. Yet, Trump advised against mail-in ballots from the start, while Biden asked his supporters to vote early, if possible. Absentee ballots are counted at the end, so this could explain the sudden sway.
There was a video recorded in Philadelphia of a poll watcher being turned away. This leads to suspicions because each party is allotted a certain number of poll watchers. Although this is unusual, it was later found out that this was a result of confusion over the rules. This was one of Trump’s key petitioning points while discussing voter fraud.
At the moment, Trump has not yet conceded. However, on November 15th, 2020, Trump admitted that Biden won, only to take back this claim. This refusal to accept results by Trump seems to be occurring often this year even though the results appear to show Biden’s victory. Also according to the Brennan Center for Justice, electoral fraud is a rare occurrence, at less than a 0.0009% probability.
Prior to the election, the community was expecting riots, should either side be victorious. Small businesses around the country barricaded their stores the night of the election, despite results being far out. The protests that did occur were of a smaller scale than expected. One protest in Sacramento did turn violent after 150 individuals armed with metal pipes and rocks attacked a reporter. But for the most part, the protests were peaceful.
Amid his campaign, one of Biden’s key points was controlling the pandemic. He suggested a nationwide mask mandate, a 4-6 week shutdown, and the distribution of more stimulus checks. He has also started building a team of advisors to help control the pandemic.
Biden also wants to expand upon the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) put in place by former President Barack Obama. Trump had intended to replace it but has only managed to make a few changes. He also supports raising the minimum wage to $15, as well as increased teacher salaries.
Presidential elections, as well as politics in general, are controversial topics, periodically disputed among Americans. Yet, Biden tweeted that he will “be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.” Many people are going to disagree with Biden’s statement, but it shows that he cares about all Americans, not just those who voted for him. It may not be clear now what Biden’s impact on the country will be. But it goes without saying that the nation expects their president, Democrat or Republican, to build up and unify the nation.