Biden and Harris prevail after historic voter turnout


Mr. Jim Watson

American voters elected Mr. Joseph Biden and Ms. Kamala Harris to serve as the next President and Vice President of the United States.

The 2020 presidential election came to an unprecedented and drawn out conclusion this week as the United States elected Democratic Presidential nominee Mr. Joseph R. Biden Jr. as its 46th president.  Public safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic sparked a large wave of early and absentee voting, which complicated the ballot counting process and prevented experts from establishing a clear verdict until November 7.  

Mr. Biden was first elected to the United States Senate in 1973 and served as Vice President under President Obama from 2009 to 2017.  He defeated incumbent President Donald J. Trump after running a campaign centered around signature issues such as establishing an affordable public healthcare option, creating a concrete national plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and asserting America’s position as a leader on the global stage, according to The New York Times.

Incumbent President Donald J. Trump and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. address each other during the first presidential debate September 30.  Courtesy of Mr. Jonathan Ernst

The Biden campaign also makes history after selecting Senator Kamala Harris of California to serve as Vice President.  Ms. Harris is the first woman, first Black American, and first person of Southeast Asian and West-Indian descent to fill the position.  Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris both delivered acceptance speeches Saturday, November 7.  In his speech, Mr. Biden advocated for bipartisanship and promised to unify the American people as President.

“I pledge to be a president who does not seek to divide, but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, but only sees the United States,” Mr. Biden said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump led vigorous campaigns and spent recent months appealing to states where voters have expressed similar levels of support for both candidates, including Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.  These “battleground” states had a key impact in deciding the outcome of the election this year, according to  In 2016, Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes went to Mr. Trump, but this year the state flipped to support Mr. Biden, securing his win.

The country saw a large upsurge in voter turnout this year across various demographics, particularly among youth voters.  As of November 7, Mr. Biden won 75.1 million popular votes, which marked the highest number of votes ever received by a presidential candidate in United States history.  Mr. Trump won 70.8 million votes, marking the second highest number of votes earned by a presidential candidate, according to The Wall Street Journal.  The narrow margin between the candidates reflects division amongst American voters, specifically due to key issues like the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing public dialogue surrounding racial injustice.

Sixty-two percent of Americans believe that the United States response to the coronavirus pandemic under the Trump administration has been ineffective in comparison to other countries, according to pewresearch.orgSimilarly, 49 percent of American adults believe that the country has not gone far enough to ensure equal rights for minority citizens, according to  As a result, record numbers of citizens voted in the presidential election to make their voices heard. 

Mr. Biden delivers his acceptance speech Saturday, November 7 at a rally in Wilmington, Delaware.  Courtesy of Mr. Andrew Harnick

Senior Hadley Noonan, a student in Sacred Heart Greenwich’s Advanced Placement (AP) United States Government and Politics class, reflected on the historic importance of voting.

“Voting is a freedom that many other countries do not enjoy, and one that has not always been available for all Americans,” Hadley said.  “In particular, it took women and Black people centuries to gain the right to vote.  We should cherish the work of those who fought for universal suffrage in participating.”

This year, Americans chose to vote either early in-person, on Election Day, or by mail.  Approximately 92.1 million people requested absentee ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New York Times.  Notable critics, including President Trump, doubted the validity of mail-in ballots, raising concern about voter fraud.  The number of mail-in votes, as well as ballots cast during the early voting periods in each state, contributed to a four day delay in the election results.

Within Sacred Heart, the students of the AP Government and Politics class attempted to involve Upper and Middle School students in the election, following their tradition of creating a “Mock Election” in which students can participate.  Hadley explained the importance of encouraging the school community to form opinions on current events.

“Even though many Sacred Heart students are too young to vote, it is still crucial to remain involved and informed,” Hadley said.  “Oftentimes, young people avoid getting involved because the situation is too complicated or confusing.  While this is understandable, it is imperative that young people are involved as the next generation of voters.  When we are adults, we cannot have limited views of the world, and being informed is the easiest way to enhance knowledge and understanding of current events.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Mr. Jim Watson