Election 2020: Biggest Takeaways from the Election

Image courtesy of USA.gov

The election is finally over! Sort of. While the casting of ballots has been completed, we’ve got roughly one month until Congress certifies the election results. That being said, all signs so far seem to indicate that former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, is the President-elect. With this in mind, here are my biggest takeaways from the election.

The ground game was legendary

Stacey Abrams, whose 2018 bid for governor in Georgia ended in defeat, mobilized hundreds of thousands of voters to try and flip Georgia blue. Abrams’ efforts were motivated by a key focus of her 2018 opponent, then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp, in purging voter registrations, which sparked accusations of voter suppression.

Meanwhile, Arizona, the home of Trump-sparring former Republican Senators Jeff Flake and the late John McCain, seemed to buck the idea of re-electing a man who constantly disrespected their senators. Flake famously called for the Republican Party to avoid becoming a “cult of personality” regarding the president while McCain tanked the Party’s effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. President Trump has previously called Flake “weak” and “toxic” and called the late McCain a “loser” on top of saying he “[likes] people who weren’t captured,” jabbing at McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Coronavirus was definitely on the ballot

Photo courtesy of the State Department.

Prior to the debates, I highlighted a late July to early August Pew poll that found 62% of voters found the COVID-19 pandemic to be an important issue for the election. Coronavirus has claimed the lives of at least 230,000 Americans, and the economy has been in a state of flux due to various responses in attempts to contain it. While it was important to 39% of President Donald Trump’s voters, it was important to 82% of President-elect Biden’s voters, and it would seem that translated into over 74 million votes.

In his speech on Saturday, Biden pledged to gather a team of scientists “by Monday” to hit the ground running on addressing the pandemic by the time he is inaugurated. Per CNN, Biden announced a COVID advisory board “chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler and Yale University’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith” and featuring thirteen other doctors. It also features Rick Bright, the former head of HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority who was removed in April and filed a formal whistleblower complaint accusing the Trump Administration of cronyism.

Mail-in voting was clutch for Biden

Early on Election Night, it seemed as though President Trump had the advantage in the popular vote and Biden would have trouble maintaining an electoral college lead. However, once the mail-in vote counting began, it became clear that the President would have more difficulty securing re-election.

President Trump is contesting the results in court, alleging massive voter fraud and claiming victory for himself. Several of his lawsuits during the counting of ballots were tossed or softened, and as he is not a quitter, expect to witness his frustrations in real time. The president has made these claims since at least August, despite voting by mail in the primary election.

Election Day is “last call” for voting

Imagine walking into a bar as the bartender announces “last call” and trying to binge drink your body into a drunken stupor before it closes. That’s the equivalent of voting on Election Day.

People need to be voting early in every election to avoid delays, technical difficulties, or other shenanigans. Candidates across the board need to be pushing for people to vote early, rather than crowding lines on the last day and voting at the last minute. Our entire voting culture needs to change.

We need blockchain voting

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Or at least something that can more quickly tabulate the results, while increasing access. With the president’s pending lawsuits surrounding mail-in/absentee voting, concerns surrounding voter fraud, and issues of voter registrations being purged, having a secured system that allows more people to legally vote and efficiently count results would be crucial. There were so many memes about the count in Nevada days after the final ballot had been cast, and there are pending recounts in multiple states.

Blockchain, which is built to ensure secure and unique transactions, is the technology that makes cryptocurrency possible (and attractive). There are several case studies such as in Utah, who used blockchain voting during both the local Republican convention and the general election via the Voatz app. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has also applied for a patent for a blockchain mail-in voting system. As online voting becomes a reality, blockchain will be the most likely scenario. We should probably get a head start on this.

There are still demographic divides in our politics

While Biden was not initially considered attractive to a lot of Hispanic/Latino voters, he managed to win 65% of them. He also performed well with Black (87%) and Asian (61%) voters, voters aged 18-44 (56%), and Catholic voters (52%). He also won 64% of moderates.

President Trump did well with white voters (58%) across most demographics, except college-educated white women (45%). He won 12% of Black voters, 32% of Hispanic/Latino voters, and 34% of Asian voters. He also did well with voters whose 2019 family income was $100,000 or more (54%), non-college-educated voters (50%), and voters with Associate’s degrees (50%).

There are many who consider people of color to be mostly Democrats, and the exit polling seems to show that Biden won 71% of those voters. Notwithstanding, these demographics are not monolithic, and must not be treated as such.

What’s Next?

The coming weeks will determine the final count of all the votes. Then, the electoral college will officially vote on December 14th. If the results are consistent with media projections (and, you know, the state reports), then Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States in January. Otherwise, President Trump gets a second term.

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