- Matt Rice
Election 2020 - One for the Century
OLIVET, MICHIGIAN, Nov. 3 – The sun begins to set on the east coast. Families rush home from work, school, and even friends’ houses. Last minute voters hurry to stand in lines that seemed longer in the evening then they did in the morning to cast their vote. All this and more is occurring throughout the nation as we the people began to watch the most anticipated election night in nearly a century.
For months the American people, arguably the world, have been watching rallies, special events, and debates between this year’s two candidates for President. What seem like a never ending battle between COVID-19 response, re-stimulating the economy, and civil unrest, President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joseph Biden have made arguments to support their claim as the next president.
Before the polls even began to open on Nov. 3, it was reported by the Wall Street Journal that over one million votes, roughly 60 percent of all registered voters, had already been cast by mail-in ballots. These mail-in ballots were an option that was implemented to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Besides mail-in ballots, Americans saw great caution being taken in protecting voters that decided to vote face-to-face. Cautions such as disposable pens to mark ballots physically and cotton swabs for touch screen ballots, these precautions paved the way to the largest voter outcome seen in years.
As first coverage began pouring out from news organizations around the country, the American people started seeing the results of an election campaign season closing in on the end. The coverage began around 7 p.m. eastern time as the first state results were being announced. Fox News and MSNBC news corporation both reported that Virginia and Vermont went to Biden, where Kentucky went to Trump. Biden had officially taken the lead in the race to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency.
Every half hour after the initial closure of the first states, other states followed suit. As these other states began closing, the familiar ‘election night’ statistics were coming in on voter turnout. News companies started discussing demographics that focused on key issues that both candidates campaigned on earlier this fall.
For Trump and the Republican party, support was shown very early in night, favoring the hopes of reelection. Early polls stated that the majority of face-to-face voters were choosing Trump versus Biden. These statistics showed much truth when the results of districts in Florida started being compiled. Prior to election day, the Trump campaign was facing challenge in this state with the older population in a poll taken by the New York Times. However, the numbers on election night were telling a very different story. Florida districts were turning red by the hour, eventually leading to a win for the Trump campaign in this key swing state.
As the Trump campaign was winning in the south, the Biden campaign was seeing familiar and new statistics weighing in their favor early in the night as well. Early reports by Fox news and MSNBC started showing that the majority of African Americans and other minority groups were casting their votes for Biden. Prior to the announcement of Florida states California, Oregon, and Washington were announced to be won by Biden. This announcement spring boarded the Biden campaign to be the first over 200 electoral votes.
The night continued to move forward and the race to 270 electoral votes became tighter. When the results continued to come in, the night saw its first ‘flipped’ state. In the 2016 election Trump had taken the state of Arizona from candidate Hillary Clinton, helping in his win that year. In 2020 the story was the same in making Arizona a ‘battleground’ state, however the outcome would be different. As news companies discussed possible outcomes for this state the result would come in that Biden would win Arizona, striking a heavy blow to the Trump campaign even though early predictions had Trump continuing to win out in the south.
Even though the focus of the night was the general election and which candidate would be elected to lead our country for the next four years, another important race was raging on in the background of key states for Congress. For the first time in nearly a century members of the House of Representatives and Senate were being elected to retain or gain majority in these chambers. This added to the already intense race ongoing with Trump and Biden. For the past four years the Republican party held the majority in the Senate under the leadership of Senator Mitch McConnel, whereas the Democratic party held the majority of the House under the leadership of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. This split in Congress has been hard on the Trump administration in the past four years in regards to passing legislation. Tonight, the Republican party was making a play to take the majority of the House, while maintaining the Senate.
As results came in for the races between Senators and representatives it was announced late in the night that the Democratic party would maintain majority in the House, while the race for the Senate still remained close. The Democratic party would need four additional seats to win the majority.
Midnight came quick for Americans on Nov. 3, with many retiring to their beds with the race to the Presidency and control of the Senate still ongoing. With key battleground states still counting, the predictions of who could win was ‘still too close to call’ as the headlines of Fox News and MSNBC read. Supporters of the Trump campaign went to bed feeling some relief knowing that initial tallies had Trump leading in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina as the night ended, but when American awoke next morning, the story had changed once again. Leading into Nov. 4, the Biden campaign took the lead in the early hours of the morning in states Michigan, and Wisconsin. While this switch was seen troubling to some, Trump still maintains the lead in the other contested battleground states.
With a new day already begun in the United States, we find ourselves still on edge as to who will occupy the White House for the next four years. Reporters and strategists are still stating that it is anyone’s race as gaps tighten in the remaining states. It seems unclear as we begin our daily duties today who will win this tight-knit election, as we look at our respected sources showing Biden in the lead with the Trump very close behind.