Election Results Lead to a More Divided America
December 1, 2020
With many deeming the 2020 election as the most important in our lifetime, the stakes were high on Nov. 3, as voters headed to the polls in record amounts.
Due to the expansion of voting by mail in 2020, the election proceeded to be a five-day marathon starting on election day, and ending on Nov. 7, as Joe Biden was declared victorious by media outlets after winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes and reaching the necessary 270 vote threshold to become the President-elect.
What followed were moments that Americans, young and old, will never forget.
People took to the streets across the country to celebrate, with many dancing, crying, cheering, and hugging. In Minneapolis, Minnesotans marched across the city and gathered at the former 3rd Precinct Police headquarters where Native American dancers performed socially distanced.
Though many celebrated, some protested, as President Trump fought back with claims of voter fraud and rigged results in multiple states.
Helen Mayer, senior, is head of the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) club at HHS, and one of the many Americans who still have questions surrounding the results.
“I have mixed emotions about the election results, but after all the court cases happen, I think we will possess more info about whether there was ‘fraudulent’ voting,” Mayer said.
Democrats find these claims of voter fraud unfounded, like Hazel Nelson, senior, who is the head of the Young Democrats (Dems) Club at HHS with Vivian Hadley, senior.
“I think Trump screaming fraud is just a fear-mongering tactic that he’s using in order to attempt to stay in office for as long as possible,” Nelson said. “It’s scary to me that it seems to be almost working.”
Though Democrats continue to be excited about a Joe Biden presidency, many Republicans feel that their success in this election is being overlooked. After all the counting in states is concluded, it’s predicted that Democrats could lose as many as 13 seats in the House of Representatives, after being predicted to gain seats.
Similarly in the Senate, there was an overwhelming amount of talk surrounding the idea that Democrats had a good chance of winning the majority back.
After pouring millions of dollars in Senate races in states like Kentucky, South Carolina, and Maine, Democrats failed to take the seats of Senators who have been in office for years, which was one of the biggest goals for the Democratic party.
“Having a Republican-controlled Senate would make it really hard for Biden to get anything done, as this was a similar struggle that President Obama had to face during the last two years of his presidency,” Nelson said. “The most productive presidents are often ones who have the Senate and House controlled by their party.”
Some of the most targeted Republican Senators during the 2020 election cycle included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Susan Collins, though all three candidates won their reelection bids.
“There is more support for Republicans than ever before and I think that has to do a lot with the past of Joe Biden as well as what President Trump has done in his four years in office,” Mayer said.
Many believe that there is a “silent majority” of Republicans and Trump supporters in America. A phrase often used by President Trump, Mayer believes it comes with a lot of truth due to the backlash many Republicans face for expressing their political views.
“A lot of people don’t know I have conservative views because I, myself, am afraid of the potential backlash I could face,” Mayer said. “If you look at non-partisan news sources you can oftentimes find numerous articles about Trump supporters being attacked just because they hold opposing viewpoints.”
The attacks that Mayer points out have become an increasing trend on both sides due to political polarization, which continues to divide America every election cycle.
Political polarization is defined by Pew Research Center as, “The vast and growing gap between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans.” Pew Research Center also determined that in 2014, 92 percent of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94 percent of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.
As bipartisanship seems to continue to dwindle, Americans are growing increasingly concerned about the future of the country, as contested election results only add fuel to the fire.
“The two parties are very divided right now and I think that will be hard to overcome,” Nelson said. “However, because of groups like The Lincoln Project, I think that there might be some moderate Republicans who will be willing to work with Democrats to pass more legislation.”
Mayer is concerned as well about the strong differences between the two parties but believes we should all respect each other at the end of the day.
“It’s terrifying seeing this division between parties. I am not going to tell anyone what they can and cannot believe because it’s not my place,” Mayer said. “What is my place though, is to respect any views I come upon and I hope after this election we can all reflect on past elections and the way people previously reacted with each other.”