Last updateWed, 18 Nov 2020 1pm


Americans Celebrate as Biden is Elected

Americans CelebrateThe presidential election results were projected on Nov. 7th, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris announced as the winners of the race. This news lead to various different reactions across the country and around the world.

Jennifer McGovern, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology, went into some detail about people’s reaction towards the election results.

“Well first of all, not everyone was happy about it right? I think 2020 has not been a great year and I think people needed a win you know? Even though, not everyone’s happy and even though not everyone’s favorite candidate won, I do think for the people that support Biden, that just felt like an emotional uplift,” said McGovern.

She explained how if President Trump was re-elected, people would have seen his supporters doing something similar. McGovern feels that the reaction of the election results from the Biden supporters was an expression of relief.

In response to how Trump reacted to the results, McGovern said that she was not surprised because he has been saying or weeks that he was going to act this way. She said, “In weeks leading up to the election, he was kind of setting the table for if things did not go the way he wanted, he was going to challenge them.”

McGovern continued, “I also think that if you’re Trump and you are moving around to all these rallies. He is at these rallies and he sees a lot of his supporters who are very passionate about him to get elected. And so, in his mind he is thinking he is going to win but remember that the people who were against him were not at the rallies. I do not think he had a sense of how many people disliked him.”

Eleanor M. Novek, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Communication, explained that Trump went into an election saying that he might not accept the results unless they went in his favor. 

She said, “While some people speculate about him sulking or being a poor sport, other observers fear he is using this behavior, and the numerous lawsuits he is filing to oppose the election results, as a distraction from the arms deals he is making to generate as much money for his own pockets before he leaves.”

Voter fraud has been a big conversation since the election results, and McGovern stated that she thinks that there is no evidence of any widespread fraud. She explained how most election boards are bipartisan, so they have people from multiple parties who are in the room and who are observing the counts. She also said that none of those people have come forward and reported any problems. McGovern then stated that the most common (even though it is very uncommon) concept of voter fraud is that someone died and then a person in their family casted a ballot in their name because it was their dying wish.

Conversely, Kristen Kane, senior criminal justice student, thinks that there was potential for voter fraud to be real. “I don’t know if it actually happened and to the extent that it is being claimed,” she said.

However, Kane believes that social media heavily affected the election because many influencers and celebrities use their platforms to not only get people to vote but who they were voting for could have influenced a lot of new or younger voters.

“I believe social media is so crucial right now regarding the elections because in a time of COVID social media is one of the main ways information and opinions about political views and each candidate is being spread,” said Kane.

She pointed out that Twitter specifically was the main platform where people would go back and forth with one another about the election and their political beliefs. “I believe Twitter played a big role in the election not only with Donald Trump constantly tweeting controversial things that always received backlash,” said Kane.

Donna Dolphin, Associate Professor of the Department of Communication, is not on social media, but believes that Twitter played an outsized role in this election.

“Many people use it as their source of news. It is not always easy to distinguish between news and opinion. It also created a sense of immediacy between the candidates and their followers. It eliminates gatekeepers between candidates and the receivers of their messages,” said Dolphin.

Kane then continued by saying that the people’s reaction to the election results was exactly what she expected. “I expected many people to voice their happiness or dismay over the election results, especially with a female becoming vice president for the first time in history. I thought there would be a big reaction pertaining to this,” said Kane.

Novek also discussed some of the reaction to the election results and said that the rallies of celebration after Biden was elected was a no-brainer. Novek explained that the country has been very divided during the Trump administration and people who opposed him were pleased to see him defeated.

“Many are hoping that the cascade of mean-spirited policies that have proliferated in this administration will end. That’s something to celebrate,” she said.

Novek then explained how responsible journalists will focus on helping the country unite after the election. She said that among other things, journalists can help the public understand how election laws function, how the system of checks and balances is supposed to operate, how the transfer of power should work. That journalists can also step away from the usual “he said, she said” focus on conflict and emphasize the need for an immediate response to the global pandemic and the economic and health challenges the country is facing.

“I hope that U.S. citizens will stop allowing their diverse political views to tear them apart and stress them out. I hope that the isolationist policies the country has adopted in the last four years, leaving the Paris Climate Accord, plans to leave the World Health organization, etc. will be reversed,” said Novek.

She finalized by saying, “I hope that the immigrant children snatched from their parents will be reunited with them, and that more humane immigration policies will be enacted. I hope that we will take major steps to reduce the social and economic inequality faced by many citizens of color, not just woke talk but actual fundamental policy change. I hope we will rethink our law enforcement and criminal justice policies to eliminate brutality and focus on reconciliation and rehabilitation.”



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