By Jibril Howard ’22
Three days on from the 2020 Presidential Election and it’s only just now that the picture becomes clearer on who will be elected President of the United States. At the time of writing, the Democratic nominee, former Vice-President Joe Biden sits on 253 confirmed Electoral College votes. Many news organizations, including MSNBC and Fox News have projected Biden winning other states, although vote counting continues in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Alaska and North Carolina. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump has amassed only 214 votes.
Despite the ongoing vote count, Biden looks set to win Arizona and Pennsylvania (11 and 20 electoral college votes respectively) and remains competitive in Nevada and Georgia. Regardless of the final Electoral College breakdown, Biden has won the popular vote by almost 4 million votes more than Trump and, with an ongoing vote total exceeding 71 million, received more votes than any other US presidential candidate in history. Throughout the election Trump has lambasted efforts to count mail-in votes and stir false claims of voter fraud. Speaking at a press conference the evening of November 6th, Trump accused Democrats of stealing the election and sought to sow doubts about the integrity of the election. The speech was widely derided as authoritarian with many major news networks cutting away mid-broadcast.
Despite the seemingly rosy picture at the top of the ticket, Democrats suffered surprising losses in down-ballot races: failing to make gains in rural and exurban districts, losing six seats in the House of Representatives, and failing to take back control of the Senate, despite massive fundraising hauls on candidates running in South Carolina, Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas, and Maine. However, control of the Senate does remain in play as the candidates in the Georgia regular and special senate races failed to clear 50 percent thresholds, triggering automatic January runoffs. Additionally, vote counts remain ongoing to determine the winner of the Alaska Senate race.
Nevertheless, the House and Senate losses overall will prompt concern and rancor among Democratic lawmakers over the direction and strategy of the party moving forward, especially in messaging and outreach to growing Hispanic/Latinx communities and continuing to speak to and address the needs of Black communities across the country. In-fighting has already begun between moderates such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) against progressives such as Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
Naturally, the Goucher community is not estranged from the political atmosphere. While existing in an online space due to the ongoing mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic by President Trump, the rights of LGBTQIA+ students and the right to abortion for thousands of people with uteruses remain at the whim of a conservative Supreme Court, leaving many Goucher students with liberal political perspectives nervously waiting for a Biden victory. I collected some reactions from a quick convenience sample of Goucher students. Here are their collected thoughts and responses to the 2020 Presidential Election.
Junior and former Quindecim copyeditor Steven Van Riper ’22 in a group message text exchange explained his reaction succinctly “AAAAAAAAAAA!”
Fellow junior Kayla Thomas ’22 provided a lengthier reaction to the election. “I can give [my reaction] to you in one word: anxiety. I’m trying my hardest to remain hopefully cautious. I remember four years ago that all politics were progressive and left-leaning and I was hurt when Trump won. I hope that I can be proven right this time.”
In an exchange via Instagram DMs senior Casey Braun ’21 was also nervous about the result of the election.
“I would say I’m cautiously optimistic [about Joe Biden winning] especially regarding Pennsylvania. I think it has a chance to go blue, but it would very close, so I don’t want to jinx it!” Regarding President Trump’s false claims of election rigging Braun replied: “Also our President doesn’t understand what a democracy is…”
Another junior Alex Riefe ’22 remarked on the endurance of President Trump’s ideas.
“…it’s been eye-opening to look at a physical map of the United States and see how these ideas that Trump has pushed, in denying science and facts and subverting democracy, have taken root. This is the most important election I’ve lived through in that for the first time our democracy and way we choose to govern our country is being challenged.”
First-year Andrea Casique ’24 took an international perspective via Instagram DMs.
“As a Venezuelan, I grew up watching crazy elections and being constantly terrified by the government, so I never really thought an American Presidential election could be this terrifying. I’m enjoying the memes and TikToks [about the election] though – it’s the only thing keeping me from losing it.”
Quindecim staff writer and first-year Mich Rouse ’24 reflected in an email on the unexpectedly competitive races in Republican-stronghold southern states:
“Some people in [majority-blue] states poke fun of the South because they’re not the same as them. What they don’t recognize is that by doing this, they’re erasing the work of southern BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, & People of Color] organizers who have been pushing for transformation since the beginning. As an organizer myself in North Carolina – and we all see how my state is doing right now – I’m just constantly frustrated. The Biden/Harris ticket is not what I personally wanted, but I pushed extensively to make it a reality, and I hope these efforts don’t go under the rug.”
Sophomore Whittaker Miller ’23 gave a scathing indictment of the US political process.
“Waking up and seeing the millions of votes for the man who embodies the white supremacist and oppressive ideals of this nation is a gut-sinking feeling I should have seen coming. 50 million people chanting ‘All Lives Matter’ while simultaneously deciding that the 200,000 that have died [from the Covid-19 pandemic] at the hands of this man and virus don’t matter. As I continue in my career in academia as well as community building in my hometown where I will be for as long as this pandemic persists, I have come to realize that all of this is intentional – the division, the defunding of education, the propaganda, and the eventual fall of America into complete fascism as my friends and I watch weeping at the thought that what little rights and hope we have lies in the hands of the ancient electoral college established 300 years ago. Biden is nowhere near what we need [for this political moment] and we only have so much time left.”
Quindecim Co-Editor-in-Chief Neve Levinson ‘21 argued in a similar vein:
“Our electoral system is rooted in white supremacy. As BIPOC activists have said for generations, we have to fundamentally change our systems in order to truly value life. [Scholar and activist] Ijeoma Oluo condensed this message when she tweeted on Thursday, “This election doesn’t change the work we need to do, it just determines how much harder that work may be.” All the available data show in no uncertain terms that white folks, and especially white women, have decolonizing work to do in the political sphere. We have dinner conversations to have and silences to break. This week has sucked.”
However, they ended with a piece of positive advice for folks as the election rolls on: “Take a nap, drink some water, and invest in community.”