In the aftermath of the 2020 election, my feelings have been a mix of relief that the election cycle is over, but concern and uncertainty about the future. In complete honestly, I did not expect the reaction to the election results to be as tame as it has been. I find this especially odd considering that there are still many voters that do not believe the election results, and the President himself has yet to concede and is publicly casting doubt on the integrity of the election. To me, the country almost seems a bit burnt out, and I feel a certain sense of calm that I have not felt in months. Additionally, I did not expect to get the results of the election as soon as we did. I expected the large number of mail-in votes to drag out the count, and I anticipated that this period would be very tense and polarized. This imagined situation did not play out, however, and subsequently I think that it is true to say that many are ready to just return to a sense of normalcy. But with the pandemic back in full swing, I worry that there is still room for more tension if we are brought to the point of having to go back into lockdown.
The sentiment that the election was manipulated in order to secure a Biden victory is worth much attention in my mind. While I feel a sort of calmness at present, I have no idea how this doubt will manifest in the near future. I don’t know how a President Biden will be able to operate when the Republican members of the government and their constituents don’t see him as legitimate. More so, I fear that any action Biden takes to stop the spread of Coronavirus once inaugurated may stir up even more hostility in Republicans, as many of them seem to fear that he will institute another shutdown. I believe this fearful perception of a shutdown comes from the Trump administration and Congress’ collective failure to properly provide for citizens in lieu of temporary joblessness. Understandable as this is, I don’t see any other way to curb the spread of the virus other than doing a rigorous shutdown, under the condition that the government is able to ensure that citizens are properly ensured for lost time or revenue at their job or business.
As for Trump’s refusal to concede, I don’t know what this means in the short term, and I wonder about what sort of precedent is set by this. His refusal to concede hurts Biden’s position each passing day as he continues to claim that Biden only won through fraud. If this persists, Biden will be inaugurated in a very divided country where many of his citizens do not see him as their leader. Trump’s delegitimization of the election is another precedent that may have detrimental effects. My concern here is not specific to Trump, rather a broad concern over the idea of a sitting president calling into question election results in order to maintain power or damage the opposition’s authority to an irreparable point. I have no answers for how any of this will play out, but I do truly wonder if this is the end of a period of political polarization or just a new chapter.