The 2020 Presidential Election proved chaotic, as many suspected it would. With polarization looming over the results, two sides are telling completely different stories. The GOP feel cheated out of a second term while Liberals released a sigh of relief at Joe Biden’s Victory.
Voter turnout was unparalleled this election. Across party lines voters of all demographics showed up to support their respective candidate –Vox estimated that the 2020 election voter turnout was the highest in 120 years. Arguably, unprecedented partisanship led to the record-breaking turnout.
Former President, Donald Trump, lacked confidence in the electoral process, while his supporters remained confident. A Pew Research study reported that 64% of Republican voters expected voting in the election to be easy, compared to 40% of Democrats. On the other hand, Trump and his supporters agreed on the voting methods they favored — only 17% of Trump supporters preferred to vote by mail. Biden supporters were consistently strong advocates for mail in voting, with 58% of them choosing mail in voting as their preference. These numbers are to be expected considering the divide in concern over the Coronavirus Outbreak.
Though the divide over political rhetoric and ideologies remains clear, the attraction to each candidate remains opaque. Considering the results of this election, however, provides sparse clarity.
Black votes are extremely significant.
This election was special in its timing. Previous election cycles, with the exception of the Civil Rights Era, have not seen wide scale racial divide in the political realm. Unusual was the power in which Black grievances had on the results of this election.
In the past Black problems mattered but were never dominating enough to cause real disruption to the electoral process. The death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor changed the playing field causing waves of outrage all across the country. For the first time in history White Americans — specifically in the south — had to answer for their bigotry and disposal of innocent Black lives.
The biggest issue that the Republican party continues to face is rapidly changing racial demographics. On one hand, Republicans can be sure that the bulk of their votes will come from White non-Hispanic voters. The Brookings Institute reported that Whites have favored Republican candidates since 1968 — the year that the Southern Strategy polarized American politics forever — however, the margin was reduced from 20% to 17%.
Republicans may be a dying breed as Black and Hispanic voters slowly threaten their majority. Pew Research center reported that in 1996 Whites accounted for 85% of the electorate while in 2018/2019 they only accounted for 69%.
In a Fox News interview, Lindsey Graham, the Senate Judiciary Committee chair expressed “If we don’t challenge and change the US election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again.” This may be true as white voters continue to age out. As Black voters threaten the majority, conservative white voters may have to abandon their strategy of appealing to Southern whites and adapt to the grievances of Black voters.
The Associated Press found that in a survey of Biden supporters 7 out of 10 said that racism was a serious problem in U.S. society and in policing. Biden also earned the majority of college graduates, and voters under 45. The reality is, Black people are becoming more valuable to American society.
While police brutality and racism continue to counter unity, more Non-Blacks are willing to stand next to Black voters in their fight against inequality. Though Trump put the majority of his faith in White voters and Black tokenism, it was not a strong enough move against growing racial tensions.
Pew Research center determined that 56% of Biden supporters only supported him because he was not Trump. Joe Biden is a battle cry for a shift towards a different America than Trump supported. He showed a glimpse of hope for the Black community as Americans denounced the hateful rhetoric that Donald Trump and his policies could ever possibly “Make America Great Again”.
The People You Encounter Overtime Matter.
Joe Biden’s success is void of him or his history. To his benefit, Joe Biden met huge political names during his political career that provided considerable help along his presidential campaign.
Donald Trump relied on party allegiances and coalitions. Throughout his presidency he governed in an acutely self-serving way, unlike we had ever seen before. Most notably, he added religious driven, conservative judges to the bench, despite his slim personal history with religion. As of February Donald Trump did not belong to a church in Washington. A core value of those apart of the Christian Faith is love and acceptance, Trump tends to lack in that department. While previous presidents have acted as the nation’s glue during our most heartbreaking moments, Trump has mocked The Black Lives Matter Movement, banned Muslims, and accepted support from White supremacists all of which have been in his best interest.
While Joe Biden has a bumpy past of his own, he still cares about how his supporters and coworkers feel about his governing. Perhaps it is solely because he wants to be elected as the next POTUS, but too many people have vouched for him for that to be completely true.
Despite the high-profile support that Biden acquired this election season what was more telling was the affect that Coronavirus had on the election. Trump had a strong shot at winning the 2020 election if the pandemic did not affect America in the way that it did. Unfortunately, the outbreak unearthed a disturbing truth about politics: when the election is at stake you do what your party wants, regardless of how it may affect the masses.
The alarming reality is that much of Trumps decisions derived from voter appeals. To his demise, he thought that the anti-lockdown sentiment amongst some voters was the reality of all his supporters, which later proved false. Resulting from Trump’s actions is hope for humanity in that his lack of compassion and care in handling the pandemic was met with instant consequences. Because Donald Trump did not show a genuine care for the American people, he was ousted.
This is the first real reality check for Republicans. While they believed that Donald Trump was a clear sign that divisive conservatism was still widely accepted, the electorate clearly demonstrated that American politics are not what they once were. For Joe Biden, this means that he will have to be a policy driven president capable of merging growing gaps and fighting inequality.
America is not what it used to be.
For the first time in history there is hope for real unity America. In the past, divide has boiled under the surface threatening the establishment as a whole. While northern states became progressively less oppressive, southern states-maintained religion driven white supremacy.
This election saw a shift in some states that have not seen large political shifts since the 1950s when the Democratic Party shifted its ideological appeal. On November 3rd history unfolded. Biden was able to flip Georgia, a state that has not voted for a Democrat since 1996, along with reigning victorious in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Pennsylvania. Watching states that typically voted Republican flip, means that America is changing.
In large part, Joe Biden was successful because he is a moderate in a deeply liberal party, capable of forging the gap in partisanship. But his message was clear, and a lot of it was rooted in Black liberation. While he maintains his commitment to be the president of all people, he has made considerable promises to the Black community that were very instrumental in getting him elected. With this in mind, it is groundbreaking that despite his blatant support for equality and minority rights, he still was supported by some of the most historically racist and conservative states in America.
The aftermath of the election is concerning. Though Joe Biden won the election for his party, House and the Senate elections proved that some states are not fond of the growing Socialist movement. Democrats went into the election naively confident that they would be able to secure the majority in the Senate and push the country in a more liberal direction. The election results, however, show that perhaps Americans are not ready for progressive politicians like Ayanna Pressley or Alexandria Oscasio — Cortez.
Party politics is founded on the premise that two groups of people can co-exist with different beliefs. Today, because of Donald Trump and his relentless effort to mock progressive politicians, unity is lost in Congress. If Republicans secure the Senate for another two years, Joe Biden and his party will undoubtedly be at a stalemate with conservatives.
Overtime I have come to learn that, despite the policy goal of politics, much of it is void of feeling. The 2020 Presidential Election has finally demonstrated its limitations of a Two-Party system. As a country we should take pause and listen to one another. We seem tremendously divided now, with no unity in sight. But I am confident that compassion is the way out.
I find peace in knowing that the system is breaking down in every way, as history has shown me that it is in our darkest and most divided moments, unity and acceptance shows its significance.