• Liam McDougal

2020 U.S. Presidential Election Results

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

The 2020 U.S. presidential election was one like no other. Americans all across the country were faced with a difficult decision with who to cast their vote for between former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and Republican candidate President Donald Trump on Tuesday, November 3. Both have responded in pretty different ways to the really significant issues our country has faced this year alone. Also, the American voter needed to find a way for their vote to be cast and counted safely through arguably the defining problem of 2020: a global pandemic, one we haven’t seen of this magnitude in about 100 years.


The presidential race is always the most popular and notable component of any four-year election cycle. On the morning of the election, most polls and subsequently news outlets had predicted that Joe Biden would take a landslide victory. But, there were similar predictions for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over President Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Some of the key states that were being predicted to play the most pivotal role in deciding who would win the election were Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. However, it was also made very clear that the results of the election would not be clear on election night like usual because of the unprecedented amount of mail-in, early, and absentee ballots that were cast this year due to concerns from the Coronavirus pandemic. Also, the way that votes are cast and counted in each state is a little bit different, so different states would report their numbers in different ways at different times. Some would update their count publicly every few hours, some continuously as the night went on.


As results first started to pour in, the electoral count between Biden and Trump was pretty close. However, it came clear pretty early that Biden was not going to win the state of Florida, which is worth 29 electoral votes out of the potential 270 that a candidate would need to win to secure the Presidency. That was a big loss for Biden because the polls had predicted he would win Florida with a comfortable lead. Many cite this error to the polls not taking into consideration the older hispanic population in Florida, which voted in greater numbers for Trump than any polls predicted; it would end up that was also the case all around the country. It was obvious that Trump’s chances of winning reelection were larger than previously thought.


As the night went on, Trump started to take a considerable lead in other potential swing-states as well, such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan. The likelihood of Trump’s second term was increasing. What looked like the most likely path for a Biden victory would be when some of the swing states in question started counting their different versions of ballots that weren’t cast in person on election day. In the months leading into the election Trump consistently questioned the validity and legitimacy of the different ways people could choose to vote without going in person, so it was predicted that voters who chose to not vote in person would overwhelmingly vote for Biden. Also, since states have different rules for counting ballots, many of the swing states in question would not start counting their non in-person votes until later on election day.


The tides began to shift later in the night in Biden’s favor when he started to gain a lead in Arizona. Arizona is traditionally a more “red” state that favors Republicans, however President Trump had many public disagreements with the now deceased Senator John McCain, who was very highly revered in Arizona. It also had gotten to the point of the count where many of the mail-in ballots were going to start getting counted in some of the swing states, most notably Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Biden only needed to win a few of them to win the race, but Trump had a significant, yet small lead in all of them.


By this point, it was so late in the night that many Americans had gone to bed (I stayed up until 3 am watching coverage myself). The next morning, the American people woke up to a slightly blue Wisconsin and Michigan. It became clear that although Trump had a lead in the count at the time, Biden was catching up. And, he already had a decent lead in the electoral count for states that had already been called. Within the next few days, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania had also started to get less and less red until Biden took a lead in all of them. By the time Saturday morning rolled around, Biden was declared the President-elect by most major media outlets.


Despite all of this, President Trump has not yet conceded. Before the election, he made it pretty clear that he thought that there were going to be lots of counts of voter fraud, and that mail-in ballots could not be trusted. And, many of his very strong and loyal supporters agreed with him. After most of the ballots were counted, his campaign began to hire lawyers all across the country, and they started to file cases in key swing states to try and instigate recounts and/or try to get large sums of ballots discounted because they were fraudulent. However, his efforts haven’t been super successful so far. There has been little to no evidence of any mass amounts of voter fraud being committed, and even then the amount of ballots that have a small chance of being discredited to fraud still would not be enough for Trump to win reelection.

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