Students Wary of 2020 Election Results

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Harvest Browder/Echo Photographer

Sunrise students meet following the 2020 election.

The recent 2020 election lasted for days and left the entire country wondering who the next president of the United States would be. On November 7, four days after election Tuesday, multiple news sources projected former Vice President Joe Biden to be the winner. Here at Warren Wilson College, students and staff alike made an effort to increase voter turnout and create change in government, with many pushing for more progressive policies. 

Sophomore Isaac Ofori-Solomon and a close friend drove down to Georgia this year to vote early and in-person to ensure that their votes would be counted. This year the traditionally red state of Georgia turned blue. But, when asked what that means, Ofori-Solomon said it doesn’t mean much. 

“The margin wasn’t that significant, and the fact of the matter is that liberal voters and conservative voters are just as racist as one another,” said Ofori-Solomon, a political science major. “It doesn’t mean anything.” 

Ofori-Solomon sees the Georgia result as just a win for Biden’s election, but in terms of the safety of BIPOC people and other marginalized people, he believes there is still work to be done. According to Ofori-Solomon, the changing of a state from Republican to Democrat does not ensure safety for its citizens. He sees a Biden win as a return to “diet racism” and is afraid that people will just “go back to brunch” and feel that their job is done. 

 “70 million people still voted for outright, violent fascism,” Ofori-Solomon said. “70 million people voted for a man who claimed he doesn’t know if Nazis or Ku Klux Klan members are bad people. It’s something deeply ingrained in the fabric of society.” 

Senior Bryan Thompson, a leader in Black Student Union, is also very nervous about the weeks ahead. With President Donald Trump having not officially conceded yet, and fighting numerous court battles across the country, Thompson feels uncertain and anxious about Trump not leaving office. 

“We got (Trump) out of office, but also what does this mean for marginalized communities?” said Thompson, who is a creative writing major. “I definitely feel a sense of escalation happening, especially with what just transpired the past six, seven months.”

Thompson voted for Biden but was not sure if the former vice president would win or not. Seeing how close the race was, and the number of people that voted for Trump, the outcome has not put Thompson’s mind at ease. 

“I feel a lot of grief, and it’s been a really hard year and a really hard last six months,” Thompson said. “To even conceptualize that there was an election in this country when so much is happening and people are still homeless and people are dying from police brutality, in the midst of this election happening.” 

In addition to racial justice being on the ballot this year, students such as freshman Ella Syverson voted for a more progressive agenda concerning environmental justice. Syverson is a member of Sunrise, a nationwide organization fighting against the climate crisis. As a part of Sunrise, Syverson phone banked for Green New Deal champions and progressive politicians. The efforts made by Syverson and others within the organization have been instrumental in key races across the country, she asserted. 

“One of the tactics that was used in this election was relational organizing,” said Syverson, who is originally from Wisconsin. “Getting youth to get together and talk to their peers and mobilize people to action that way. Because we know that talking to our peers and doing that kind of friend to friend organizing is the most effective way to get everybody to turn out.” 

Syverson said the nation must push the Biden administration to learn the lessons of this election and remember that it was progressive policies and candidates who won. And, that extensive organizing by BIPOC people and youth are to thank for those wins. Syverson said there is a lot more work to be done and that a Biden presidency is just a return to the status quo, which she believes is rampant wealth inequality, systemic racism and a lack of action on the climate crisis. 

“A return to the status quo is not a victory in any sense of the word,” Syverson said. “But, I do think it is good to have something to celebrate, and the end of the Trump presidency is definitely worth celebrating.”