By Tobili Hatcher
I was sitting in my bed, with both my MacBook screens open; one to the electoral college map and another to an Apple News article about what the world may look like with a Biden win. And then it happened. The notification that could be heard around the world.
After five days of anxiously waiting and staring at the U.S. map, praying for it to turn blue, the Associated Press was the first to call former Vice President Joseph R. Biden as the 46th President Elect on November 7th at 11:30 AM EST. Which also meant that former California Senator, Kamala D. Harris (D – CA), was in fact going to be America’s first ever Black, Asian female Vice President elect.
Talk about monumental.
Everyone who has been working tirelessly to ensure that Biden would come out of this election victorious could finally take a huge sigh of relief knowing that the United States had elected their 46th President Elect, and it wasn’t the current incumbent. The simple fact that someone else besides Trump (or Kayne for that matter) won, was enough to send happy tears down my face and relieve a huge weight of my shoulders.
To say that this election season has been ground-breaking, historic and simply unprecedented in every way possible would be an understatement. I mean, just look at our new President and VP combo;less than one year ago, they were running against each other to earn a spot on the Democratic ticket to be President of the United States. Now, they’re working together and have won the ticket as President and Vice President elect.
Looking back on the past 18 months, time seemed to move somewhere between a glacier pace and warp speed. I remember when talks about the 2020 Presidential election began roughly two years ago. It brought back memories to my first time voting in 2016. Young and overwhelmed with a number of Democratic hopefuls I didn’t know much about.
There was self-described democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, who was very popular among younger voters, but had a hard time connecting with older, more centrist voters. Then, there was Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – MA), who was one of my personal favorites from the start. I had hoped Senator Warren would be named our 46th President of the United States, however, after living in this world as Black woman, I knew that respectability politics and her tough stance on big data would make that goal hard to achieve in this current climate. Andrew Yang, another former presidential hopeful, is an American entrepreneur who has a strong background in economics. Although I didn’t quite understand his tax plan, Yang was someone I had on my radar, up until he dropped out of the race on February 11. Although Yang didn’t advance far in his first presidential run, I have a feeling it won’t be the last time we see him in the national spotlight.
These are just a few of the candidates that ran for the Democratic ticket for the 2020 General Election. At one point, there were more than 15 candidates running at once, all vying for the attention, money and eventual vote that would advance them through the primaries-into the official ticket we came to see this past November 3rd.
In the end, it was Joseph Biden that won and accepted the Democratic nomination to run for President. After a long year of campaigning and adjusting to meet new guidelines due to the novel coronavirus, the Biden-Harris ticket was able to secure 273 electoral college votes by flipping the state of Pennsylvania in the 11th hour, thus pulling through and winning the election. Although they won the popular vote by 3.3%, Biden and Harris weren’t able to claim victory until they had at least 270 electoral votes. To be completely honest, the election shouldn’t have even been this close to begin with, however, that will be addressed later in this article.
First of all, it’s imperative to note that the only way in which Joseph R. Biden became 46th President – Elect Biden, is through the hard work, sweat and tears of Black and brown women all over the country. They came up and showed out in support of Biden; whether it be in true admiration and love for his policy – or in recognizing that we need to #SettleforBiden in order to effectively leave the Trumpian era. Biden and, to a large degree, Kamala Harris would not be where they are today if it weren’t for Black and brown women.
As the Democratic Party’s most loyal and dependable voting bloc, Black women specifically, were essential to this election. Black, indigenous and brown people are the only reason Trump didn’t get re-elected for a second term in 2020. As per usual in most elections, it was the marginalized people who bore the weight and voted in the best interest of those who needed to be heard the most: themselves. It was an act that saved America from entering a dark facist fever dream that was dangerously close to becoming a reality.
Biden and Harris were able to make their way to victory due to big wins in major Black cities in key battleground states. Cities such as Detroit, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Philadelphia were crucial in allowing Biden and Harris to flip some states from red to blue. Most notably, this election saw Georgia flip blue for the first time since 1992 and Pennsylvania flip back to blue after its short stint as a red state in the 2016 election. Without those two states turning blue, Biden’s path to victory would have been non – existent. Kamala Harris recognizes this and tweets directly to Black women on Nov. 9.
“I want to speak directly to the Black women in our country. Thank you. You are too often overlooked, and yet are asked time and again to step up and be the backbone of our democracy. We could not have done this without you”
Once again, Black women saved America from itself.
It is also important to mention and understand that white people across all income brackets, age, geographic location and education levels voted for Trump at the same rate they did in 2016. More alarmingly, “55% of white women voted for Trump – representing at least a two-point increase for this demographic since 2016.” When looking at a different poll done by CNN, it can be seen that when looking at white votes by both gender and education, the only group that skewed positively towards Biden were white college graduate women; with a nine point increase from the 2016 election. Every other combination of white voters by gender and education favored Trump at the same rate or higher for the 2020 election.
I could go on and on about how ridiculous this is; but instead, I’m going to keep it short. White people: you have to do better. This election should not have been as close as it was. How many of you posted black squares, talked about how deeply troubled you were to learn about systematic racism, or talked about how you were ready to make a “real difference” when it came to equality and equity among all people?
Well, I have news for you.
To come out in support of Trump the way you did during this election shows that all of your talk was simply just that, talk. No amount of black square posting or white tears shed will change the fact that your demographic continues to vote and think only of themselves. This polling number signals to me and every other non-white person that this summer was more about performative allyship than you all must have realized.
Please wipe your white tears, lay down your guns, stop yelling about how “pro-life” you are, and get to doing the real work.
When taking a closer look at what the past seven days have unfolded on to, there are many moments that leave me disappointed, yet not surprised. For example, Trump’s behavior throughout the entire election cycle – but more alarmingly, on and after Election Day. Not only did Trump deemed the 2020 General Election fraudulent before the election even began, he also prematurely and groundlessly claimed victory in the early hours of Wednesday morning during his first press conference after Election Day was over. After watching the election results live, I couldn’t believe my eyes nor my ears as I watched Trump lie in front of the world.
Dan Balz of the Washington Post summed it up perfectly in his piece entitled Trump blatantly seeks to undermine democracy. In his opening paragraph he writes, “For four years, President Trump has sought to undermine the institutions of a democratic society, but never so blatantly as in the early morning hours of Wednesday. His attempt to falsely claim victory and to subvert the election itself by calling for a halt to vote-counting represents the gravest of threats to the stability of the country.” If it wasn’t clear before what Trump was trying to do with this election, it was clear on Wednesday morning. He would stop at absolutely nothing to claim victory for an election he clearly had lost.
Just so we’re all on the same page here, it’s now been four days (as of writing) since Biden has been announced as the new President Elect and Trump has still refused to concede. What’s even more concerning is that the GOP (the Republican Party) is perfectly fine accepting the results of the Senate and Congressional races, but refuse to accept the results from the Presidential election - even though they are on the same ballot.
As we continue to wait for Trump and his team to concede, let’s examine yet another historic part of this election - voter turnout. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we also saw an unprecedented number of mail-in or absentee ballots, which allowed more people to vote.
Nearly 159 million Americans cast ballots for the General Election – making this the most voted in election (in proportion) since 1900. It’s super encouraging to see high levels of voter turnout, especially in the younger age ranges, so I hope that this momentum and fever continues in the elections to come.
In many ways, the 2020 General election is one for the history books. I know for certain that my life has and will have forever been changed. For as long as I’ve been alive, I cannot remember a time where I’ve fought this hard for anything that could change and shape the lives of so many people. Although the role I played in this election was relatively small; encouraging and reminding people to register to vote, going with friends to wait with them at the polls, reminding the general public that Kayne was simply NOT the right guy, it still makes me smile knowing that I was able to play a role in such a historic election.
As this piece comes to an end and I finally close my final tab of the electoral college map, I just want to remind everyone who reads this the importance of voting and letting your voice be heard. I took for granted how easily and readily available voting has been made for me in my city, even before I was able to cast a ballot. It wasn’t until this past election cycle where I really began to learn about the inequalities that surround voting, such as voter suppression, intimidation and simply not having the resources available to learn about candidates, the issues at hand or being allowed time off work to go and vote. I promise you, if your vote did not matter, they would not try this hard to make sure it doesn’t count. No matter what, please do all that you can to educate yourselves on the issues and make your way to the polls and make sure your voice is heard.