After days of waiting with bated breath, on Saturday, November 7, the Associated Press declared Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States. In his victory speech Biden spoke of restoring the “soul of America” as an elected leader seeking to “unify” the country rather than divide. Representing the highest voter turnout in a U.S. presidential election since 1900, this election’s outcome significantly protects against the democratic backsliding initiated by Trump’s election. With COVID-19 cases reaching record highs each day, a Biden administration also restores hope in controlling the pandemic and reviving faith in scientific approaches to public health.
Come January, Harris will be the first South Asian, Black woman to walk the White House grounds as the vice president. Kamala Harris’s role as vice president defies the white supremacist ideals that guided this country’s formation, proving to women of color across the country that they, too, can reach the highest echelons of government.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she said in her speech on Nov. 7, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Their victory and the generation of young people they will inspire is, in part, a credit to the people of color who turned out en masse in support of Biden and Harris. Black female organizers like Rebecca DeHart and Stacey Abrams of Fair Count and Fair Fight, for example, collaborated to combat the effects of voter suppression in Georgia. Their commitment to empowering voters from traditionally marginalized groups, despite the dangers inherent to any in-person canvassing, might have been the deciding factor for Biden’s victory in the formerly-reliably Republican state.
Likewise, the three overlapping Arizona counties encompassed within the Navajo Nation saw, according to the Navajo Times, 97% of votes cast in favor of Biden, well above Biden’s performance statewide.
Donald Trump’s refusal, however, to concede to president-elect Biden and accept the results of the election casts doubt upon the legitimacy of the United States’ supposedly democratic system. Meanwhile, prominent Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, continue to back Trump’s narcissistic, unfounded claims of voter fraud and election-stealing.
Threatened by the country’s growing multiethnic population, which no longer aligns with their outdated ideas of “American greatness,” the GOP desperately clings to Trump for validation. The GOP’s unwavering loyalty to Trump is indicative of their increasingly authoritarian behavior. Evidently, their electoral victories come at the cost of corrupting their remaining moral principles.
Threatened by the country’s growing multiethnic population, which no longer aligns with Republicans’ outdated ideas of “American greatness,” the GOP desperately clings to Trump for validation.
Wholly indifferent to the faulty rhetoric and schemes of Republican leaders, Trump supporters came in full force.
72 million Americans voted for Trump this election. Though Biden won the popular vote and earned more than 270 electoral votes, it is of serious concern that many eligible voters deliberately endorsed a president responsible for the pandemic carnage, destruction of the planet, and unabashed white supremacy. Many now fear what a transfer in power will look like, as white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys transgress all bounds of political and social civility by threatening to physically defend Trump’s presidency.
White backlash resonates deeply within Trump’s campaign and supporters. The mid-2020 George Floyd protests and the national focus on institutionalized racism resulted in the highest approval ratings of the Black Lives Matter movement since its 2013 conception. Still, the backing of Trump by such a high volume of individuals depicts just how blind and apathetic a large portion of our country is to the ill-treatment of Black and brown people. And while during the 2016 election, Trump’s racist and bigoted personality was indeed widely apparent, there was no question of it this election — it is inexcusable to have voted for Trump.
Still, the backing of Trump by such a high volume of individuals depicts just how blind and apathetic a large portion of our country is to the ill-treatment of Black and brown people.
A Biden administration may also perpetuate white liberalism that upholds the status quo at the expense and harm of Black and brown folks. We are already seeing the sigh of relief become a permanent lapse in action, as many white people who were settling for Biden have become fully placated. It is intrinsic that we don’t support the narrative of 2020’s ceaseless brutality seeming obscure or accidental, but rather name the colonialist, capitalistic, fascist, racist, and sexist institutions — that each founded this nation — as the causes of suffering.
We are already seeing the sigh of relief become a permanent lapse in action, as many white people who were settling for Biden have become fully placated.
Despite the hopeful implications for our democracy’s longevity, Biden and Harris’ political backgrounds are also cause for worry in BIPOC communities.
Kamala Harris has a long history of being a prosecutor and working in law enforcement; she used this to paint herself as a “progressive prosecutor” in her presidential campaign. When analyzing her work as a prosecutor, she has been found to have increased convictions and sided with prosecutors accused of misconduct.
In a country whose criminal justice system was founded on racism, this had many negative implications on the racial breakdown of prison populations. She remained silent and refused to intervene as Attorney General of California when the police shot and killed multiple unarmed men.
Despite this, Harris also attempted to institute reforms in order to bring justice and equity to policing. Her intention with the “Back on Track” program was to divert young first-time, nonviolent offenders from prison and instead help them re-enter society. While this program is a topic of contention, as some say it was ineffective or counterproductive, a number of individuals credit Harris for trying to reduce the number of incarcerated youth.
Biden comes from a history of work in foreign policy, both as vice president to former President Barack Obama, and as senate foreign relations committee chairman. While his expertise in foreign relations work is helpful in mitigating the harms done by Trump, Biden’s political background shows that he has upheld the imperialist values that the United States was built on.
For instance, Biden supported the war in Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power under the Bush administration. Bush’s rationale for the Iraq war was based on a lie centered around the idea that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, but none were ever found, making the war a senseless cause for at least one hundred thousand civilian deaths — if not more. In this way, U.S. imperialism will remain intact with a Biden administration, as he plans to maintain the world’s strongest military and keep our military bases located in countries all around the world.
While Biden and Harris have previously occupied space in D.C., the state elections made history, ushering in a number of new BIPOC and LGBTQ candidates who won seats in Congress and the House.
Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones will be the first openly Black gay congressmen, while Cori Bush will be the first Black congresswoman from Missouri. Marilyn Strickland will be the first Korean American elected to Congress and Black congresswoman from Washington. Iman Jodeh will be the first Muslim lawmaker in Colorado and Mauree Turner the first nonbinary and Muslim lawmaker in Oklahoma.
The congressional wins of this election broke glass ceilings mounted centuries ago and these elected officials will fight for policies that represent the needs of the nation, making space for future BIPOC and LGBTQ lawmakers.
Although Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not the progressive leaders we hoped for, we have the chance to hold them accountable and demand transformative policies. The idealism of perfect politicians is faulty, no one politician will solve every crisis facing our nation. Thus, we cannot become complacent in our fight to end the inequities and systems of oppression that still define our country. Our fight is far from over.
Last updated 11/13/20
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