Indiana Daily Student

Members of the IU community share their reactions to the 2020 election 

President-elect Joe Biden puts on his face mask Oct. 28 after making remarks about the Affordable Care Act and COVID-19 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden was named president-elect Saturday.
President-elect Joe Biden puts on his face mask Oct. 28 after making remarks about the Affordable Care Act and COVID-19 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden was named president-elect Saturday.

Joe Biden was named president-elect of the United States on Saturday after several days of counting votes and mail-in ballots across the country. Two IU students said they were excited about Biden’s victory and President Donald Trump leaving office.

Mark Fraley, associate director of Political and Civic Engagement at IU, said he thinks Biden’s victory was seen as a powerful moment for a lot of students, especially considering Kamala Harris will be the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president.

Fraley said while it was nerve-wracking to wait, people recognized it was going to take time to have the results.

“If democracy takes time, that’s not a bad thing,” he said.

Fraley said he hopes Trump will gracefully move toward a smooth transition of power to a Biden presidency. While the Trump administration is filing legal charges, it does not appear likely those will overturn the results of the election, he said.

“Any instances of voting irregularities should certainly be explored,” he said. “However, there seems to be far fewer contested ballots than those that make up the difference between Biden and Trump in a lot of those swing states.”

Fraley said the impact of the Biden administration will depend on whether Biden will be presiding over a divided Congress. Some Senate seats are still to be decided. However, he said he thinks Biden will be able to involve the scientific community in the fight against COVID-19 and reenter the Paris Climate Agreement without Congressional support.

“It will take a lot of real effort and bipartisan cooperation in order to be able to pass major things through Congress,” he said.

The IU community is supportive of diversity, fighting systemic racism and addressing climate change, Fraley said.

“I think that when you take a look at some of Biden’s policies they might find some hope and inspiration,” he said.

American citizens would like to see a recommitment to democratic norms, Fraley said. He thinks people will have different reactions to the outcome of the election.

“We are certainly prepared to see several more years of disagreement and that is a perfectly healthy thing,” he said. “But hopefully we can see that disagreement happen under the context of a commitment to democratic norms.”

Junior Tracy Miles said he was excited when he heard Biden was named president-elect. He said he felt optimistic once Michigan and Wisconsin were declared blue for Biden.

Miles said he thinks Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will represent the country well because they have experience in government and are better equipped than the Trump administration to handle issues facing the American people, such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Miles said it is a huge milestone for women and especially women of color to have Harris elected as vice president.

“I’m really excited that they are in charge,” he said.

The celebrations around the country and the world after Biden’s declared victory were motivated by people’s joy and happiness, Miles said. He said he believes Biden will unite the people of the country in a way Trump did not.

“Everything that Trump was for, is not necessarily what Biden is for” he said.

Miles said he thinks Trump is not going to accept Biden becoming president and will continue to make claims about voter fraud.

“I just don’t think that there’s enough evidence and the things that Trump is claiming I feel like stem mostly from him just purely losing and him not wanting to accept that,” he said.

Miles said he believes the Biden administration will have a positive effect on the U.S. for everyone, regardless of who they voted for. He said he thinks Biden needs to give credit where it’s due, such as to his Black supporters.

Sophomore Nina Brochin said she was unsure if Biden was going to win the presidency during the waiting period from Election Day to Saturday when Biden was declared the winner. She said she is excited Trump will be leaving office.

Brochin said Trump’s initial reaction to the results is to deny them and insist he won. She said she thinks it will be difficult for a smooth transition from Trump’s administration to Biden’s to take place.

“I don’t think he’s going to really ever accept the results of the election at all,” she said.

Brochin said statistics show voter fraud is not a relevant issue and she does not think the legal challenges taken by the Trump administration will have an affect on the outcome of the election.

Brochin said she is not confident a lot of change will come after Biden is inaugurated, but she thinks there will be a national mask mandate to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“I think a lot of presidents say things to win elections,” she said. “So I’m not really sure what actual change will come.”

Junior Ray Scherer said he is a Republican who usually votes strictly within party lines, but he was relieved when Biden was named the president-elect.

Scherer said he thinks the Biden presidency will have minimal impact on a state and local level.

“What this election really has shown me at least, in my opinion, is that most people don’t have any problems with Republicans,” he said. “They just have a problem with Donald Trump.”

Scherer said he believes there is always some existence of voter fraud, but it will not change the outcome of the election in Trump’s favor.

“I think there is fraud, but not to the degree that Donald Trump is hoping,” he said.

Scherer said he thinks Trump has made a lot of mistakes, such as speaking badly of former Republican Sen. John McCain, an action which likely led to his loss in Arizona.

“I think it’s time for him to, you know, realize that he’s lost,” he said.

This election year was a positive one for Republicans, Scherer said. Many state legislators still have strong support for the Republican party, such as Indiana where the state holds a supermajority of Republicans, he said.

“People do like the ideals, but the figurehead itself is a problem,” he said. “I think the nation and the world is ready for a change.”

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