Joe Biden elected 46th president of the U.S.


Photo Kerry Donovan

People celebrating Biden and Harris’ win in Times Square, NYC.

Joseph R. Biden Jr was elected the 46th president of the United States on Saturday morning. His victory was announced after he won his home state of Pennsylvania, tipping him over the necessary 270 electoral college votes. 

In the popular vote, Biden currently has more than 76 million votes, defeating incumbent President Donald J. Trump by nearly five million votes and breaking the record for the most votes ever cast for a presidential candidate.

Biden’s running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, also made history as the first woman, African American and Asian American who will hold the office of Vice President. Harris, 56, is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. 

Biden gave his victory speech on Saturday night in Wilmington, DE, where he pledged “to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify.” He promised to restore the values that America strives for and called for healing amid health and economic crises. In Harris’ speech, she said, “Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a nation of possibilities.”

Trump was at his Virginia golf course when Biden’s victory was announced. Despite encouragements to concede from First Lady Melania Trump and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, he has refused and contends that “this election is far from over.” He tweeted on Saturday morning, “I won this election, by a lot!” His campaign promised to “start prosecuting [their] case in court” and filed lawsuits in multiple states on grounds of voter fraud, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan, where the lawsuits were dismissed. 

Due to COVID-19, many people opted to vote using mail-in ballots. Since states have different laws regarding when they can begin counting mail-in ballots, the president-elect was announced after five days of nationwide turmoil. 

To win the election, Biden flipped major battleground states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and is currently leading in Georgia, a state that hasn’t been blue since the 1992 presidential election. Stacey Abrams, a former representative for Georgia’s 4th congressional district, helped prevent voter suppression and encouraged more than 800 thousand residents to register to vote. 

Ballots are still being counted, a process that typically happens after the election, yet Trump tweeted on Sunday that “this was a stolen election” due to the unusually high number of mail-in ballots counted after Election Day. Though the Associated Press has called the presidential election since 1848, Trump also tweeted on Sunday, “Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be?” 

WHS senior Olivia Ebel, who created and runs the website, believes that the outcome of the election was fair. She said, “Encouragements from the incumbent President Trump to not trust the mail and vote in person on election day proved consequential when his leads in states like Pennsylvania and Georgia were overturned.” She added, “There are very few proven cases of voter fraud due to mail-in voting. The evidence is not substantial enough to suggest that fraudulent ballots would skew the election.”

As soon as Biden and Harris were projected as the 2020 presidential elects on Saturday, emotional celebrations erupted worldwide. People flooded the streets of New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and more, waving flags, honking car horns, watching fireworks explode and playing celebratory music. People also celebrated in Biden’s ancestral town of Ballina, Ireland and in Harris’ ancestral village in southern India. 

WHS senior Zahra Ahmed, who attended the celebrations on Saturday in New York City, said, “I think the celebrations were much needed since everyone has been on edge this year. It was definitely a release of pressure and the music people played was hilarious.” 

WHS senior Evan Cronin said, “I support celebrations in the streets,” but “it goes both ways. I saw someone on Twitter praise the Biden rally, and then 10 hours later criticize Notre Dame students for storming the field after they beat Clemson. You can’t criticize one rally and praise another during this pandemic.” 

Though votes are still being counted and Biden won’t officially be inaugurated until Jan. 20, he is already taking steps as the president-elect. On Monday, Biden launched his transition plan with the website along with a twelve-person coronavirus task force consisting of top doctors and health experts to help battle COVID-19.

The 2020 election was certainly unprecedented considering the circumstances of COVID-19. However, a global pandemic didn’t stop people from voting in record-breaking numbers, speaking out across social media and celebrating with one another during this historic election.