White House Archives
Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th President of the United States on Nov. 7, and that night declared that he would be a leader who “seeks not to divide, but to unify” a nation facing a surging pandemic, economic trouble and social turmoil.
“I sought this office to restore the soul of America,” Biden said in a victory speech a drive-in not far from his home in Delaware, “and to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.”
After five days of intense vote-counting across the nation, news organizations including the Associated Press, projected Biden, former vice president to Barack Obama, as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Pennsylvania, Biden’s home state, pushed him over the edge in the Electoral College Nov. 7 with its 20 electoral votes. Biden had trailed incumbent President Donald Trump on election night, but gained votes as more absentee ballots, heavily Democratic, were counted.
In 2016, President Trump won the state by a similarly narrow margin of 0.7 points over Hillary Clinton, which like Biden, helped him win the Electoral College and the presidency. This means that Pennsylvania, along with Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan were flipped this year by Biden, all helping him cross the 270-vote threshold to take the presidency.
The uncertainty of the election led to anxiety for citizens and students were among those eager for results. Senior Lucy Prieto said that the election caused stress for her, but she’s happy to have results.
“I have definitely felt uneasy during the past few days as the results of the election have been reported,” Prieto said. On the results, she says “I personally believe that this is a large step in the right direction for our country, however this is not the end of the problem and we must continue to work on and draw attention to important issues within our country.”
The Biden-Harris ticket made history in several ways this election.
First, the pair received the highest number of votes of any campaign in the history of the country, with over 75 million votes by the American people.
Second, Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris made her own history as the first woman, first Black person, first Indian-American, and first Asian-American to hold the office of Vice President.
Despite not all votes being counted, President Trump spoke to the American public early on Wednesday morning, declaring victory for his campaign and demanding that the counting of votes be halted immediately. Joe Biden spoke shortly before President Trump in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., calling for patience, and urging that every vote be counted; he told the American people he was confident he would be victorious and said to “keep the faith”.
Stopping counting would have left out large numbers of absentee ballots in many swing states which tend to be disproportionately Democrat compared to in-person votes. In many states, absentee ballots cannot be counted until Election Day, making it nearly impossible for all votes, in-person, and mail-in, to be counted by the end of Election Day.
Amidst a global pandemic, more people than ever voted by mail in this election. In California, over 74 percent of voters cast their ballots via mail this year versus 58 percent who voted the same way in 2016.
Sophomore Tanner Schinderle says that mail-in voting helped to keep democracy alive amidst uncertainty this year.
“I think voting by mail was a great decision that expanded access to voting to millions of Americans,” Schinderle said. “Especially in the middle of a pandemic, its crucial we have access for everyone to vote if they chose to, and mail-in votes expanded that opportunity and ability to vote and participate in the American democracy.”
All of the neighborhoods surrounding Rio overwhelmingly supported Biden, matching the Rio mock election results in which 65.9 percent of the vote went to Biden and 21.2 percent to President Trump. When zooming out to the entire Sacramento region, Biden also led by a similar margin; on election night, Biden held 60 percent of the votes compared to Trump’s 38 percent.
While some states continue counting votes, thanks to record voter turnouts across the nation, Biden and Harris will be sworn into the nation’s two highest offices in January of next year.