News/Op-Ed: Former Vice President Joe Biden Elected As 46th President Of The United States
by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief
In 2020, anything is possible. As Americans have endured a tumultuous year and have witnessed the desecration of partisanship, civility, and decency throughout the country, it is evident that a remedy to mend the wounds of the nation and restore its status as a beacon of hope to an often vitriolic, asinine, and hopeless world may be coming soon.
The rapid proliferation of a polarized political realm has indubitably changed the way in which Americans have chosen to engage in political discourse and vocalize their support for specific candidates, which often comes with preconceived notions on the character of individuals solely based on political ideologies and stances on national issues.
Throughout the history of the United States, the American people have always seemed to find a way to set aside political differences and unite as one during times of strife.
When the national state of affairs and overall well being of the country is at a compromise due to foreign or domestic challenges, Americans in every state, no matter what political party they belonged to, what religion they were faithful to, what the color of their skin was, or what state they lived in, everyone found a way to truly embody the fundamental idea of America being composed of the “United States”.
When the back of the country was to the wall after events such as the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the misery of the Great Depression, the seemingly everlasting battle for Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, 9/11, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings, Americans found a way to persevere, come together, and unite. Not once did the American people waver on their strength in numbers, and in times like those, uniting wasn’t a choice, it was a given.
Yet, somehow and someway, amidst a global pandemic that has ravaged communities, desecrated homes, and essentially put an end to any sense of normalcy that was left in the world, Americans began to grow contempt for one another based off of the same very thing that makes this country so strong and powerful – differences and diversity in thought.
All the same, amidst national civic unrest due to police brutality and calls for an improved criminal justice system, the American people were once again faced with the challenge of picking a side – either left or right – with the inability to choose neutrality due to societal pressures.
In a country where millions have lost their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic and faced with the pressures of wallowing in the mire of unemployment and dire financial straits, once again Americans found themselves pointing fingers at one another, choosing their own scapegoats, and thinking of different ways to set one another apart and add fuel to a spreading fire.
The America of today is not the America of yesterday. The biggest fallacy and irony found within the nation is the very name of the country, which promotes the notion of unity when everything is tremendously polarized.
In the election playing out right before the very eyes of all Americans nationally, the division and polarization of the country are displayed through the two candidates – former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, two men who are symbols for the two sides Americans find themselves in.
No, not the sides of Democrat and Republican, but Unity and Division.
While the election was certainly closer than many Americans thought it would be, everything that played out most definitely went as expected.
After midnight on November 3rd, with states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina hanging in the balance – with a presidency attached to it – both candidates were caught in the middle of an election hot potato.
At the end of the night, Biden had leads in Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin, with President Trump holding slim leads that were within a margin of error.
With polls long closed and the grueling election process playing itself out in a very prolonged manner, both Vice President Biden and President Trump decided to make formal statements to the American people as the presidency hung in the balance with no clear winner established to claim it.
In order to quell the concerns of his base of support, the former Vice President said in a short statement from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware that while he was confident he was headed toward a victory and the 270 threshold needed to formally win the presidency, there was no way he could possibly claim victory without results finalized, instead commending his supporters for their patience in getting the results and telling them to “keep the faith” while promoting the idea of civility and unity.
On the other hand, in a polar opposite speech given at the White House by President Trump, he claimed victory of the entire election while throwing around the baseless accusation of voter fraud within those key battleground states, undermining the integrity of America’s democracy by degrading the power of the people from their right to use their voice at the polls and vote.
The divisive, accusing rhetoric employed by President Trump is the same divisive rhetoric that he has built his political career and campaigns around, which has amplified the polarization and divisions that plagues American society.
The fabric of our democracy is built around the process of counting all ballots and upholding the integrity of our elections and allowing Americans everywhere to exercise their right to vote, no matter whom they decide to vote for.
A palpable sense of relief that Americans can feel everywhere in the integrity and accuracy of our elections is being undermined by President Trump and his reelection campaign, who seek to undermine a staple of our democracy that has long preceded their existence of power in Washington by preparing lawsuits and requesting state-wide recounts in an attempt to not concede and drag out the process of electing a president as much as possible.
In an almost orwellian situation, the American people – no matter what party – found themselves as middlemen in a back and forth election, as the actions taken by Vice President Biden and President Trump amidst the close races in each state are not just reflective of the rhetoric they have employed throughout their political careers and respective campaigns, but create a further divide in an already overly polarized country.
Once again, the divide is not split into Democrat v. Republican, or Left v. Right, but is instead split into Unity v. Division and Rationality v. Irrationality.
After Biden took Wisconsin late Tuesday and Michigan on Wednesday afternoon – two flips back to the blue column after President Trump flipped them red in 2016 – there was a paradigm shift in the race and the path to 270 Electoral Votes for each candidate.
While the Biden camp’s confidence was confirmed, it continued to soar with a path to 270 much more clear than the potential paths to victory for President Trump’s camp.
Then, as Biden began to take the lead in Georgia and Pennsylvania, the end result was clear – the former Vice President was on track to be elected the 46th President of the United States.
Early this morning, AP, CNN, and Fox News, amongst others, officially called the election for Joe Biden, as he won Pennsylvania, later winning Nevada. While the official final results have yet to be released from Arizona, Alaska, Georgia (which may head toward a recount, but will not have an affect on Biden’s victory regardless), and North Carolina, the former Vice President fulfills a lifelong dream of ascending to the presidency. Meanwhile, President Trump, despite his denial of the election’s results, takes a stunning loss and becomes the first incumbent president since George H.W. Bush to lose their bid for reelection.
As of now, the former Vice President has 74.49 Million popular votes and 50.5% of the vote, while President Trump has 70.34 Million popular votes and 47.7% of the vote. Both marks are the first and second most popular votes received by any candidate in US History, respectively.
Barring anything unforeseen, on January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be sworn in on Inauguration Day as the 46th President of the United States, with Senator Kamala Harris becoming the first African American Woman – and Woman regardless – to hold the Vice Presidency.
The initial point of inflection caused by the rapid polarization of our nation is not a wound that will be easy to mend. If history is any guide, however, Americans may once again prevail and rise above political differences as a new administration comes into power.