Written by Sabirah Mohammed
After a prolonged and gruelling wait, the results of the American Presidential Election were finally announced on the 7th November 2020. For some Americans, it was a day of momentous celebration and triumph, whilst for others, a dismal retreat.
Crowds of ecstatic Biden supporters took to the streets of America cheering from all corners of the White House, welcoming the President-Elect of America.
“He is honest, he is straightforward, and he has the experience to lead this country out of this very dark period,” said former White House Advisor, Omaraso Manigault, interviewed in Washington.
The presidential election turnout this year recorded the highest turnout in 120 years at 66.9%. The key states were significant in securing votes for the candidates, particularly in Pennsylvania, where the most electoral votes are located. It was announced on the day Biden won the presidential ticket that he had secured 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania, essentially earning him his victory.
Trump tweets to ‘STOP THE COUNT!’
When more votes were counted and it was clear that Biden was in the lead, Trump took to twitter to complain of the ‘tremendous corruption and fraud in the mail-in ballots’, though there was no evidence for his claims. Twitter took these posts down because they violated its’ Civic Integrity Policy, which states that one may not use twitter ‘for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes.’ This includes tweets which ‘suppress participation’ of voters.
Trump’s tweets caused a hostile reaction from more than 200 people protesting in Phoenix, Arizona who were angered by the idea of their votes not being counted, therefore causing a conceivable disruption in democracy. Pro-Trump supporters in Phoenix protested outside the Election Headquarters, chanting ‘count the votes,’ and in Detroit where supporters echoed Trump’s tweets to ‘stop the count. Meanwhile Democrat supporters responded with the chant ‘count every vote.’ Biden assured voters in his tweets that ‘every vote must be counted.’
Trump, now refusing to concede to Biden’s presidency, claimed on twitter that ‘this was a stolen election’ and ‘the simple fact is this election is far from over.’ It is evident that he is not going to accept the results.
Trump has promised that he will take his claims of election ‘fraud’ to the Supreme Court. No modern president has ever refused to concede; therefore, this will lead to a constitutional crisis. The Biden campaign addressed this issue, remarking ‘the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.” Though Trump can refuse to concede, this does not prevent the inauguration of President-elect Biden in January.
Why did Trump lose?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to lose their lives and Trump faced frequent scrutiny over his handling of the crisis. He was accused of downplaying the threat of the pandemic and giving misleading information, which some claim led to a higher fatality rate. At a time when compassion is so essential to the innumerable losses many have experienced, some claim that it was the face of compassion Biden represented that caused him to win the election.
Trump also faced criticism for how he handled the protests after the murder ofGeorge Floyd, who was killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin. Floyd had been arrested for allegedly counterfeiting a $20 bill and had complied to being arrested. Footage of the arrest showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck and Floyd can be heard saying in the video during the last moments of his life ‘I can’t breathe.’
Disturbed by this devastating scene, protesters gathered in the state of Minneapolis to protest to the unjust killing of Gorge Floyd. This revealed the deep ingrained institutional racism within America’s police force. Trump responded to the riots with what many have condemned as an encouragement of police brutality, as he tweeted ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’, causing resentment amongst marginalised communities.
So what now for America?
Will Biden be able to heal these deep wounds in America’s polarised society? Biden has called for unity as President-Elect, telling the people of America that “I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did.”
Not only has Biden been given the difficult task of governing a divided society, but also a divided government. It is essential to have control over the Senate if one wants to succeed in passing legislation, however he has been unable to gain majority over the Senate, which will most likely lead to political paralysis. Will he be able to govern America affectively and guide them out of these dark, unprecedented times? That is what we will see in the upcoming January.
Sabirah Mohammed is currently studying English with English Language BA at the University of Leicester, with future aspirations of pursuing a career in journalism. You can find her on Instagram @sabiirah123.