By Vynateya Purimetla (’21)
On November 7th, 2020, the Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, and other news networks called the 2020 election for Joe Biden of the Democratic Party. Although his win was not the landslide projected by numerous pollsters, it was still a decisive mandate and a historic win. He became the first challenger to defeat an incumbent in 28 years, he gained more votes than any other candidate in history, and he flipped traditionally Republican states like Georgia and Arizona that haven’t voted for a Democrat President in decades.
Through his win, he has also enshrined President Trump in history. Trump has never won the popular vote in either of his cycles, never reached a majority likability percentage like other Presidents, never became a two-term President, and was impeached and received a bipartisan vote for his removal from office. Although Trump remains vastly unpopular among the majority of Americans, his die-hard supporters are indignated, calling the results of the election a “fraud” and “illegitimate”. Most notable to Biden’s victory are two surprising factors: margins in swing states and demographics of his supporters. Although Biden was able to rebuild the historically “blue wall” of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania decisively, he did not regain the “blue plains” of Iowa and Ohio and the “sunbelt state” of Florida. This is due in part to the shifting coalition of his supporters.
Although the black vote, youth vote, and female vote was carried strongly by the Democratic party, Biden still made some notable losses from even 2016. For example, the Latino vote- a bloc key to swinging Florida- turned out roughly evenly for Trump and Biden. Although this shortcoming was made up through inroads with white men and suburban voters, displayed notably in Arizona and Virginia, this spells a structural problem for the Democratic party, which must spend more time canvassing and gaining the trust of the Latino community. The once reliable swing states of Iowa, Ohio, and Florida were painted redder due to economic concerns and lack of outreach to the Latino community. However, the Democratic party only just made this up with the uneasy support of white men and suburbanites that shifted once-reliably red states like Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia.
Nevertheless, the facts of this cycle can not be denied. Joe Biden has been elected the 46th President of the United States by a historic and decisive margin. His running-mate Kamala Harris has also shattered boundaries, as the first woman, first African-American, first Indian-American, and first child of immigrants to achieve the Vice Presidency of the United States. The record-breaking turnout, rare incumbent loss, and flipping of 5 states affirm that Trump’s lackluster legal challenges have no standing and a new administration will be sworn in on January 20, 2021.