Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 27, 2020

Students react to Biden-Harris victory

By MOLLY GAHAGEN | November 8, 2020

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ADAM SCHULTZ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Harris makes history as the first woman of color elected to be vice president.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was elected as the nation’s 46th president on Saturday after a long period of waiting for votes to be counted in several key states. The race culminated after Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, was called for Biden.

Not only did Biden secure the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency, as of publication he has received over 75 million votes, more than any president-elect before him

Junior Sylvana Schaffer, co-president of Hopkins Democrats, expressed her enthusiasm about the results. She also appreciated the media’s coverage of some Republicans’ rejection of Biden’s projected victory . 

“It’s definitely been an emotional rollercoaster, starting before election night. I was always cautiously optimistic, but there was so much at stake,” she said. “It’s really nice seeing Trump, Giuliani and others try to contest everything, and the mainstream media is pretty much ignoring them and not giving them any legitimacy.”

Although not all votes have been counted, Biden won by a smaller margin than was predicted. As of publication, Biden won 279 electoral college votes, while U.S. President Donald Trump won 214. Trump has yet to concede to Biden.

Schaffer was upset that Biden’s victory was not overwhelming. 

“The fact that it wasn’t a landslide for Biden after Trump having the deaths of over 230,000 Americans on his hands due to mismanagement of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic... was kind of a disappointment,” she said.

Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, is the first woman, first Black person and first Asian American elected vice president of the U.S. A first-generation American, Harris is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. 

Senior Shalini Vijayekumar, president of the Hopkins Feminists Club, emphasized the significance of Harris’ win. 

“We’re all so relieved that Trump has lost that we’re forgetting how historic it is that we have not just a woman but a woman of color as our Vice President-elect,” she said. “It’s time that America had a woman’s opinion in one of the highest political positions in the country.”

The Democrats kept control of the House of Representatives, but their majority was reduced. The control of the Senate is not yet decided, as the results of six races are still not confirmed. Although some races have yet to be called, many students are relieved that the presidential election is no longer up in the air.

Junior Ryan Ebrahimy, co-president of Hopkins Democrats, described feeling conflicted after the election results in an email to The News-Letter. He was disappointed in the congressional election results but overall relieved that Biden was able to win against Trump.

“Hopes of ambitious political reform and progressive policy under a Biden administration seem in disarray, even as pressing issues like climate change leave no time for inaction,” he wrote. “I feel like a lot of Democrats share in on this disappointment. But, it truly is difficult to let this disappointment define the entire election. Even in the face of other political losses, finally voting out one of the most destructive forces in American politics and democracy feels as good as we all expected it to.”

Schaffer is anxious to see how the Senate races conclude. 

“This is a day to celebrate, but that said, the Senate was pretty disappointing. I don’t think we’re going to end up getting that, but I guess we’ll see with [the runoffs in] Georgia,” she said. “I’m definitely concerned for what a Biden presidency could look like if we don’t end up getting the Senate.”

Cierra Gladden, a freshman representative for Female Leaders of Color, characterized Biden not as the ideal president but as someone who can still provoke positive social change.

“We need to remember that the battle might have been won, but the war is not won. We are rejoicing because this is a great first step for the path for the redemption of this nation’s attitude toward one another,” Gladden said. “He is the best option we had, and we’re going to make the most out of that option.”

Gladden also reflected on how Biden will work towards remedying tensions, especially regarding racism and white supremacy, that have become increasingly apparent during the Trump presidency.

“We have to fight what Trump has reignited in this nation, and it is going to be a very bumpy road from here on out, but it’s going to be a lot less bumpy with the leadership we’ll have,” she said. “We’re going to have the same societal issues with either president, but our president-elect condemns them, and our current president subtly condones it by not condemning it.”

Vijayekumar believes that Biden will represent a figure of compassionate leadership.

“I am more relieved than anything... knowing for the next four years I can have some sort of peace because we’ll have a president that will actually listen to the people, or at least try to listen,” she said.

College Republicans at Hopkins declined to comment, citing unfinalized results and pending litigations.

Chris H. Park, the vice president of College Democrats at Hopkins, is a News & Features Editor for The News-Letter. He did not contribute reporting, writing or editing to this article.

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