Concluding a tumultuous election season, former Vice President Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump, becoming the 46th president of the United States. Alongside Joe Biden, his running mate Kamala Harris was elected the first woman of color to become vice president of the U.S.
Amid concerns of COVID-19, voters turned out in record numbers by mail and in person. According to the U.S. Elections Project, as of Nov. 2, over 97 million had already voted early. That’s almost 70% of the total voter turnout in 2016.
Biden’s victory of the popular vote was predicted by national polling months out from the election. However, his race to the 270 necessary electoral college votes for the presidency was highly dependent on a handful of key battleground states.
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The Associated Press called the election for Biden the morning of Nov. 7; Pennsylvania was called for Biden, putting him at 284 electoral votes.
Joe Biden’s journey to the presidency began on April 25, 2019, when he announced his candidacy.
Throughout the primaries, Biden stood out as a moderate Democrat among a diverse field of progressives. He initially trailed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in delegates. However, a turning point in the primaries occurred in South Carolina where Biden attracted Black voters and found the momentum to carry him through Super Tuesday.
Biden’s momentum continued ultimately resulting in him gaining the Democratic nomination.
Biden’s message throughout his campaign was one centered on unity. Contrary to Trump’s controversial and often-divisive language, Biden has continually emphasized his ability to work across the aisle with members of both major political parties.
“While I’ll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president," Biden said at the Democratic National Convention this year. "I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me … That’s the job of the president, to represent all of us."
However, Biden’s commitment to bipartisanship failed to impress more liberal progressive Democrats who were more attracted to the promise of radical reform from candidates like Sanders. Many of these disillusioned voters ultimately felt that they were voting not so much for Biden as they were against Trump.
Benjamin Mohler, fourth-year student at the University of Arizona involved in the Young Democratic Socialists of America, explained that Biden did not represent the kind of policy or moral character he would like to see in the presidency. Despite this, Mohler said he voted for Biden in order to prevent another four years under Trump.
“There’s a lot of people I know who are wrestling with the fact that [Biden] is the left-most option on the ballot,” Mohler said. “A lot of people feel cornered about having to vote for him.”
However, despite Biden’s flaws, Democrats in the UA community characterized their reaction to his victory as one of relief.
In a written statement from acting president of the UA Young Democrats Dana Brouillard, she expressed optimism for an America moving past the Trump Administration, while emphasizing that there is still work to be done.
“As young Americans, I feel confident saying that many of us are relieved to be moving on from a Trump presidency,” Brouillard said. “The last four years have been gravely damaging to so many people, many of the most vulnerable people living in this country have lost everything: jobs, homes, loved ones, and so much more. We hope that, in moving on from the last four years, we can begin the work in changing the U.S. to a country that is more equitable for marginalized people that call the United States home.”
Biden characterized this election as a battle for the nation’s soul. He has opposed the acerbic rhetoric of his fellow candidate Trump during their two heated debates, and has accused Trump of racism and bigotry.
To an America wounded by COVID-19, systemic racism and hyper-partisanship, Biden promised a return to stability. According to his campaign website, Biden has plans to end the COVID-19 pandemic, provide economic relief, provide affordable health care, address the climate crisis and improve racial economic equity.
With regards to Biden’s national victory, the Pima County Democrats expressed their excitement.
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“The Pima County Democratic Party is thrilled that Joe Biden, who has dedicated his life to service, will be our 46th President," the Pima County Democratic Party said via email. "We look forward to supporting his administration in establishing a humane immigration policy, affordable healthcare, economic policies to strengthen our middle class, and science-based policies on climate and public health.”
Alison Jones, Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, also expressed excitement about the local level victories as well.
"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's victory in Arizona has been four years in the making," Jones said via email. "Together with strong candidates at every level, our Legislative District committees, and allied organizations such as The Arizona Ground Game, Pima Area Labor Federation, Lucha, Indivisible, and Las Adelitas, we have worked to bring more Arizonans into the political process than ever before. The hard work of engaging with voters at an unprecedented scale is the reason that tonight we see Arizona vote blue for only the second time in over seventy years."
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