Biden Wins with Largest Voter Turnout in U.S. History


Gage Skidmore

Biden ran a campaign that centered on a promise to “reclaim the soul of the nation.”

As students walked from class to class on the week of November 1st, many checked the Associated Press’ updates on the election repeatedly. On November 7, CNN called the race, with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. defeating incumbent President Donald J. Trump to become the 46th president of the United States. 

Biden ran a campaign that centered on a promise to “reclaim the soul of the nation.” By highlighting his decades of experience in Washington, D.C., he portrayed himself as a stable, unifying leader, a message which ultimately appealed to the majority of voters.

The president-elect’s message comes at a time when the country is divided over protests of racial injustice and struggling to contain a pandemic that has claimed over 240,000 American lives. In his victory speech delivered at a drive-in rally, Biden said, “This is the time to heal in America.” Wyatt Towner ’24 said, “Having Biden as President gives our country a better face, and he can bring us out of the situation we’re in with the economy and the pandemic.” 

Without mentioning Trump, he then promised to work to mend partisan division in the nation. He said, “I will work to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify. I won’t see red states and blue states; I will always see the United States.”  

With historic numbers of voters turning out to the polls, both candidates received over 70 million votes. However, Biden’s victory was not certain on election night. In fact, Trump possessed sizable leads in battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania at the end of Election Day. 

As vote-tallying continued over the next four days, states reported more mail-in ballots and votes from densely populated urban areas. Both categories leaned Democratic, and Biden gained narrow leads in those battleground states. 

On November 7, major news networks, such as the Associated Press and Fox News, projected that Biden would win Pennsylvania, a state with 20 electoral votes. The decisive victory vaulted him to 290 electoral votes, surpassing the 270 required to win. Networks then projected that Biden would be the next president of the United States. This was the first time in over two decades a sitting president has lost re-election.

President Trump has thus far refused to concede the election to his opponent, proclaiming supporters that the race is far from over and vowing to challenge the results in court. In a statement on November 7, Trump said, “The American people are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots and not counting any illegal ballots.” Numerous fact-checking websites and state election officials from both parties have dismissed the President’s claims that the election was at all fraudulent.

Trump’s campaign has already filed lawsuits in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia challenging election results. Most of the lawsuits have been unsuccessful, with the exception being one in which a judge in Pennsylvania allowed poll-watchers to stand slightly closer to where votes were being counted. 

Throughout his presidency, Trump has enacted restricted travel from a variety of international locations. International student Ryan Tse ’23 is enthusiastic that Biden will make immigration policies fairer. He said, “Beginning this year, there was a lot of uncertainty and inconsistency on travel restrictions because of COVID-19. But with Biden as president, I am more confident that these policies can help students like me safely learn in the U.S.”

Though Biden won the election, Republicans narrowed the Democratic majority in the House and are expected to maintain their majority in the Senate, leading some political pundits to argue that Biden’s victory was less a support of Democratic beliefs than an expression of disdain for the incumbent. Exit polls from CNN show that 68% of people who voted based on disdain for the other candidate voted for Biden.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2021.