TAYLOR TRIMBLE, Special to The Denisonian—The election of 2020 was one of the most noteworthy elections of our time for several reasons.
One remarkable feature of the election is that the country saw the highest voter turnout compared to any other in the last century. As of publication, approximately 65 percent of eligible Americans cast a ballot early, by mail or in person, though the number is set to increase as more votes are counted.
Additionally, elected representatives for Congress demonstrate major demographic changes. The 117th Congress will be sworn in this coming January, and in doing so, will mark the first time that a Korean American woman, Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) and Black gay men, Mondaire Jones (D-NY) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY), will take congressional office. Missouri’s Cori Bush (D-MO) won a seat as the first Black congresswoman from the state after losing the race in 2018 and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who uses a wheelchair, became the youngest person to be elected to Congress, at 25.
While the Senate majority has not been determined, as two contentious seats will be decided in runoff elections in Georgia, the Democratic Party maintained their majority in the House of Representatives. Their win has been considered a confirmation of the negative ‘mid-term review’ in 2018, when the party first tipped the scales away from the Republicans, of President Donald Trump.
Trump has also become the first president in nearly three decades to lose reelection, and one of eleven former-presidents to have lost an attempt at a second term.
The election of 2020 has also provided insight on the politics of college campuses. At Denison, some were concerned about potential riots or protests, no matter which candidate claimed the victory.
A lot of this concern was rooted in the assumption that whoever identified as conservative and/or a Republican was automatically a Trump supporter and whoever identified as liberal and/or a Democrat was automatically a Biden supporter. These assumptions caused both sides of students on the political spectrum.
On the Hill, the Denison College Republicans and Denison Democrats act as advocacy and interest groups for those who identify with the affiliated views. Both also work with the school to host events that align with their views. Despite the views the groups promote, their reactions to the results of the elections were more nuanced than one may expect.
Despite the conservative views held by Denison College Republicans President Stewart Moore, ‘22 who is a political science major from Rye, NY, Moore maintains that it would be wrong to assume he found Trump an ideal candidate.
In fact, he found neither candidate satisfactory as he had “differing views on critical issues from both candidates.” Moore’s reaction to the election focused less on the candidates and more on what we as the people could do, which he believes to be civil dialogue.
Denison Democrats President Shayne Silver-Risken, ‘22, a political science major from Berea, OH, shared a similar outlook, in the belief that the onus is still on the vital role of the people; “Getting Joe into office allows us to fight for important change. It’s still going to be a fight, but at least we can start it.”
Hannah Wedepohl, ‘23 is a political science major from Huntington Woods, MI and serves as co-outreach coordinator for the Denison Democrats. In regard to the outcome of the election, Wedepohl also feels that “Biden winning is not a solution, but a start that provides hope. I’d also say a lot of problems are systemic which aren’t fixed by a presidency but having a leader who is open and willing to work on it is what we just accomplished.”
The 2020 election has no doubt been an historical event for the country, but has also engaged many college campuses throughout the states, with high voter turnout within the age group. Campus political climate has also underscored the importance of dialogue between one another, especially with those who hold differing beliefs, as only understanding, empathy and compromise can create meaningful change within our country.
If you would like to receive information about future meetings and events for the Denison College Democrats, please contact Shayne Silver-Risken ([email protected]) and visit @denisondemocrats on Instagram.
If you would like to receive information about future meetings and events for the Denison College Republicans, please contact Stewart Moore ([email protected]).