As America watched with stomachs in knots, the 2020 Biden versus Trump election’s closeness will go down in history.
Last year’s election could easily be classified as one of the most impactful elections in modern history, with all that it held in the balance. Even with important issues such as the possible dismantlement of the Affordable Care Act, the economy, racial divide, immigrant rights, and COVID-19 responses, the influx of voter turnout still surprised many.
What Determined the 2020 Election
Now that the dust has settled, we can see all the elements that amounted to the 2020 election results and the events that since occurred.
Like many things in the digital age, popularity played a highly influential role in the Trump campaign’s failure. Whether you want to blame the campaign’s lack of popularity on unfulfilled past promises or the competition’s smear campaigning, social pressure to vote was extreme.
Voter Turnout in the 2020 Election
One main thing last year’s election confirmed is that every vote counts. Over 159 million votes were counted during the 2020 presidential primary after being casted by the voting-eligible population, VEP. The number of ballots casted divided by the VEP is what’s used to calculate the voter turnout rate.
Voter turnout was a record high in the 2020 primary election giving both Biden and Trump a record for the most votes received. Donald Trump obtained 46.8 percent of the popular vote only topped by Joe Biden’s 51.3 percent with over 80 million ballots casted.
In recent years eligible voter turnout has averaged around 60 percent, whereas the 2020 presidential election showed a turnout of over 66 percent. The progressive turnout of voters still means that roughly 34 percent of America’s VEP decided not to vote.
In democracy, it’s easy to feel lost in the shuffle so It’s important to acknowledge the reasons keeping all of the VEP from exercising their voting rights. Missing one-third of citizen opinion affects the weight of the popular vote and is highly influential on both election outcome and citizen satisfaction.
The main elements that affect voter turnout are:
- Election type: Non-presidential elections tend to have significantly lower turnout rates.
- Result anticipation: The media attention and the popularity of candidates amongst the public highly reflect how many people make an effort to vote.
- Voter age and gender: Persons who identify as women or are of middle age statistically have higher voter turnout rates. Last year the youth vote was one of the highest ever seen, which significantly influenced the results of the 2020 election.
- Voter race and income: Statistically, the wealthier and the higher educated Americans are more likely to vote. A community’s access to generational wealth has created political binaries between race and income.
- Accessibility: Those with disabilities and a person’s location have affected who can vote. Due to movements dedicated to imparting the problems adding to poor voter turnout for disabled and disenfranchised communities, there’s been a positive influx in votes in recent years.
In the 2020 presidential election result, anticipation was the primary element that led to this year’s record-breaking history.
Studies show that the way Trump handled the pandemic brought him an approval rating of less than forty percent, leaving more than half of voters unsatisfied with his leadership.
Additionally, the serious issues affecting BIPOC communities and the result of great anticipation for change influenced the increase of young black voter turnout leading to Biden’s victory. Voter anticipation is typically influenced less by election type but what specific issues are held in the balance.
What 2020 Voters Cared About
“Dump Trump” made a catchy tagline, but for an election with numerous close calls and record-breaking voters, turnout credit should go to the public.
Each election has its most important discussion topics that typically guide the talking points of the candidates. Due to the unprecedented year, more debate points than usual were deemed crucial issues to voters.
According to the Pew Research Center, issues that voters ranked as most important and influenced their vote the most were:
- Economy, taxes, and the growing wealth gap – 79 percent
- COVID-19 response and health care – 68 percent
- Immigration and foreign policy – 57 percent
- Gun policy – 55 percent
- Police brutality and the racial divide – 52 percent
- Climate change – 42 percent
- Abortion – 40 percent
What the Swing States Tell Us
Whether Democrat or Republican, America was stunned at the political flip of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. With the power of 73 electoral college votes, these states decided the outcome of the 2020 election.
Big swing states turning blue surprised Americans this year and even influenced democratic wins in run-off elections in states like Georgia.
Knowing what we do about voter turnout, these states’ blue flip is highly telling of the current social divide. Conservative parties will continue losing as the younger generations age if they don’t find more ways to appeal to young voters.
Where does America go from here?
Putting party affiliations aside, Americans do tend to want similar things. Beliefs in governmental willingness to protect national borders, our nation’s healthcare, providing financial relief to rural residents, and job security all stem from desiring a government that we want to be a part of.
Political analysts will continue releasing data and pointing out what articles within the Constitution support their beliefs for preceding legal decisions, but it’s time that the average citizens talk.
Respecting each other doesn’t have to come with the erasure of our beliefs or others’ values. As an average working American citizen, I want my country to debate and govern without experiencing the loss of life.
Facing the events that lead America to the current events of today shows us that we are a society who needs to appreciate our freedoms better.
Being able to unite is an often forgotten perk of our nation’s Constitution. Moving forward doesn’t have to be about left versus right, or even Trump vs. Biden. As a nation, we are being called to return to the golden rule of treating others how we would like to be treated.
The only question left is, will we answer?
Danielle Beck-Hunter writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. Being a life-long political activist, Danielle sees the current political era as an opportunity to change the course of American history and society. She identifies as independent and holds no allegiance to either political party.
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