2020 Presidential Election Opinion Piece
Eesha Ali ‘21 and Ifrah Malik ‘21
On Saturday, November 7th, after almost a week of waiting for the election results, President-Elect Joe Biden, was declared the projected winner, and he delivered his winning speech later that night. This election made history–in more ways than one. Firstly, the large voter turnout that broke century-old records. Secondly, Kamala Harris earned the title of being the first woman, a woman of color, and a woman of South-Asian descent to be Vice President. Thousands of people took to the street to celebrate this win over the weekend. On Saturday night, at his President-Elect victory speech, Biden repeatedly reinforced how he “[pledges] to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify” however, this will not be easy for him due to the current climate of the nation. Due to President Trump’s refusal to concede, the fear of riots and violence in the country increases as more claims about voter fraud begin to spread. Although the legal actions being taken by the Trump Administration to ensure the fairness of the election is justified, the remarks without evidence lead to fear of violence. In contrast, according to Biden’s speech in Wilmington, Delaware, he plans to unite the parties and prioritize solving the issue of the pandemic. This serves as a positive sign for Americans as we finally have a president who acknowledges the severity of Coronavirus and will work to end it. Although the outcome of this election may be bittersweet for some, there is also immense hope for a brighter future ahead if the President-Elect and his team continue to deliver their promises.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of mail-in votes in this election have broken records–potentially reshaping future American elections. Democratic candidate Joe Biden, encouraged voting early through mail while Republican candidate President Trump, recommended in-person voting. Most mail-in ballots were expected to favor Biden for this reason. However, due to many states holding off counting till the day of the election, there had been several delays in reaching a final result for the election. In each of the swing states there were thousands of mail-in ballots along with in-person ballots that had to be counted. Poll workers were tirelessly working in some states to ensure that all votes were counted. States similar to Pennsylvania, who waited to count, announced that they had to wait till Friday to count all votes and allow mail-in ballots to arrive. Both candidates were prepared for a legal battle as a result of the slim contest in key states. In addition, President Trump, in his speech on November 5th, made various false claims about the election being rigged or corrupt, pointing out the issues with mail-in ballots, the observers, and Democrat control. After his claims were fact checked, most of them were deemed false. This is highly threatening to the democratic process as the president is unwilling to accept his seeming defeat, thus jeopardizing the integrity of the election and undercutting the principles of the American democracy.
Nationwide Opinion Polling
There is a list of nationwide public opinion polls that have been conducted for the 2020 presidential election. These polls are commissioned by many professionals ─ research analysts, professors, journalists, bloggers─ and they are conducted with a sample size of about 1000-2000 adults. The data is weighted in multiple stages to ensure an accurate representation of the U.S. population. Figures for age, sex, race, education, and income are also incorporated, where necessary, to reveal voting trends and methods of shifting population demographics. This year specifically, non-partisan sources such as 270 to win, RealClear Politics, and FiveThirtyEight were the leading poll aggregators as they rigorously, and continuously, administered and updated their polls. In all three sources, Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, had an average polling lead of 7.9 percentage points in the popular vote over incumbent President Donald Trump, the Republican nominee. In addition, Joe Biden was predicted to have an average 51.4 percent chance of winning the Electoral College, as compared to a 43.5 percent chance for Trump. Although Biden was favored in the Presidential forecasts and stood considerably stronger than his opponent, many, incorrectly, predicted that Trump would be able to overcome this with a high Republican turnout in the remaining uncounted votes.
On November 3rd, we were undoubtedly aware that this Election Night was going to be different. However, we did not know that it would result in legal and logistical battles over vote count in states. Election day soon turned into election week with a much slower count,nationally, caused by laws allowing some states to count postmarked mail ballots that were received after November 3rd. Although we predicted that the preference of most Republicans to vote in-person would create a momentary lead for Donald Trump, it was difficult to predict if mail-in ballots would largely favor Joe Biden. However, it is now evident that most Democrats used absentee ballots since the tally of mail-in votes in several states like Michigan and Wisconsin led to a spike in Biden’s favor. On the other hand, Trump’s victories in states like Ohio, Florida, and Texas tightened the presidential election and closed off many ways for his opponent to win 270 electoral votes. However, as more votes were being counted and reported in battleground states like Nevada and Pennsylvania, Donald Trump’s chances of winning decreased and made us, and the nation, conclude that Joe Biden would win the Presidency.
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