American Election Roundtable: As it unfolded
Tabitha Hanamm presents a compelling insight into The Big Apple’s reaction to the election result and serves up some food for thought regarding America’s trajectory in the weeks and months to come.
It’s Saturday, 11:27 EST and my friend gets a phone call from her mum whilst we’re sunbathing in the last rays of November sunshine. At first, we can’t comprehend what her mum is shouting because of the cacophony that spirals out of the speaker, but eventually Claire shuts the window of her New York apartment, jubilantly informing us that we were hearing the celebratory shouts and screams of the city in the wake of President Trump’s defeat. In the same moment, the first holler of relief echoes across Vassar College campus, my study abroad destination for this year, signalling the end of a nail-biting, four-day vigil for Democrats across the country.
The weeks leading up to the election were filled with tense anxiety across campus: friends were sharing information about how to handle absentee ballots that had been incorrectly sent out or mislabelled, reminders that all ballots in selected states had to be filled out in black ink, not blue, or their vote would be ineligible, the democratic right to vote if you were in line when the poll station hours closed, advertising last-minute phone banking on election day. There was an unutterable fear that another four years of Trump would emerge out of the conflagration that epitomised the 2020 election.
There was an unutterable fear that another four years of Trump would emerge out of the conflagration that epitomised the 2020 election.
From the distasteful and painful viewing of the first presidential debate on 30th September (although no one can deny there was a certain bleak satisfaction when Biden lost his resolve and muttered, “Will you just shut up man?”) to the appointment of Amy Coney Barret a mere week before the election, there was a palpable panic that shrewdly refused restraint in the light of the 2016 election result.
There was palpable panic that shrewdly refused restraint in the light of the 2016 election result.
Worryingly, whilst there is still ongoing dissent from Trump and the Republican party, who refuse to concede the election, there are many people looking to the impending future of the country for hope. History has been shaped in front of our very eyes: Vice-President-Elect, Kamala Harris, has become the first woman of colour to serve in one of the country’s two highest offices. And it’s well overdue.
A friend of mine was bubbling over with excitement when Joe Biden named Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in August: “It’s so incredible that Kamala has been selected; her mum hails from the same region of India as my dad… all my relatives have been making a huge fuss over her selection – I don’t think I’ve ever known them to be so ready to cast their vote!” The salience of Ms. Harris’s nomination feeds into the ongoing discourse surrounding the importance of descriptive representation in politics, an especially poignant dialogue after the eruption of Black Lives Matter protests across the country in the last six months.
As President Trump enters the ‘lame duck’ session of his presidency, there is light at the end of the tunnel with the promise of a Biden presidency in 2021. Yet, Americans are correct to be wary of Trump’s copious legal battles that are being brought to state supreme courts across the country.