November 27, 2020
We’ve just lived through one of the most historic elections in American history! But despite the constant news updates, unrelenting poll numbers, an ungodly amount of interactive maps, it’s not the easiest thing to digest. In fact, chances are, the last few weeks have had you all cursing the founding fathers for their establishment of the electoral college. Here’s everything you need to know about the 2020 election:
Meet the candidates: Donald Trump, 74 years old, ran as the Republican candidate, battling for his second term as president. Trump surprised America in 2016 with plans to run for president, as he had no background in politics. Trump was a businessman, spending his professional years operating under the family brand name and building a vast Trump empire. He was also well known to the public for his role on “The Apprentice”, a popular TV show. He was elected in 2016, and after four unprecedented years, Trump was ready to fight for his spot as second-term president, alongside his VP Mike Pence. Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, at 77 years old, had spent a few years in the White House already and was back for more. He dedicated his life to politics, attending law school, becoming a Senator, and serving as Barack Obama’s vice president. He ran with the full force of his past political experience behind him, serving as both a tool and an obstacle in getting elected. Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris joined him in his fierce battle on the ballot.
The Electoral College:
But why don’t we officially have a president yet? Why were there certain states that mattered so much for the outcome of the election? In order to understand this election, (and pass your civics test!) let’s refresh our memories on the electoral college.
The electoral college is a system that was designed to distribute the power of voting to all of the states. Under the framework of the electoral college, each state is awarded a certain number of electoral votes they have the power to cast, all of which add up to 538 total votes. In order for a candidate to win the election, they must win at least 270 out of the 538 electoral votes.
Basically, how this works is that every state has a certain amount of designated votes. (Connecticut has 7). If the popular vote for a state goes Democrat, all of the electoral votes of that state will be cast for the Democratic candidate. If the Republicans win a state’s popular vote, all the state’s electoral votes will be cast for the Republican candidate.
But if you’ve been following the news, I doubt you’ve heard Connecticut be mentioned very much in vote counting. Why is that?
Well, there are a few reasons. The first is that not every state has the same number of votes. For example, California has a much larger population than Connecticut, so they are given 55 votes as opposed to 7. But even some of the largest states aren’t considered “swing states” and don’t often change the course of the election. There are enough consistently red and blue states that it only takes a handful of electoral votes to swing the election. The most important states are ones that aren’t guaranteed to go blue or red.
There were a few states that determined the outcome of the 2020 election. Most notably:
Arizona: 11 electoral votes, Democrat
Michigan: 16 electoral votes, Democrat
Nevada: 6 electoral votes, Democrat
Wisconsin: 10 electoral votes, Democrat
Pennsylvania: 20 electoral votes, Democrat
Iowa: 6 electoral votes, Republican
Ohio: 18 electoral votes, Republican
Florida: 29 electoral votes, Republican
Texas: 38 electoral votes, Republican
North Carolina: 15 electoral votes, Republican
Georgia: 16 electoral votes, Democrat
By every major new source, all state governments, and even the candidates themselves, it’s been confirmed: Joe Biden has won the presidency. But that doesn’t mean Trump has gone down without a fight.
Once again making history, Donald Trump has refused the tradition that the losing candidate has respected for decades: a public concession of the election. Trump has refused to concede the election, which has already complicated the transition of power. On top of this, Trump hasn’t even forfeited the ballots yet.
The Trump campaign has been introducing many lawsuits throughout the nation in an effort to change the results, ranging from mail-in-ballot deadlines, the transparency of the counting process, and the sharpies used to complete ballots and everything in between. Despite impressive teams of lawyers, case after case is being dismissed or retracted by the courts and the campaign. Time and again the judges have made it apparent: there is little legal justification for any of these cases. There has been no evidence of fraudulent ballots and has been no constitutional reason to stop or limit the counting of all ballots. There aren’t substantive legal grounds for any of these cases.
Things to be the following:
In the coming weeks, some very important things are happening! The official electoral ballots will be cast on December 14th, cementing the victory of Joe Biden. While it’s unlikely, keep a lookout for the possible concession of Donald Trump. The way that Trump and his campaign handle the next few weeks will likely impact the course of Biden’s presidency.