There was an election this week!! I went into this week feeling hopeful and optimistic about the future of our country. Early voting and absentee turnout statistics were showing that young people were showing up in recording numbers. With countless local, congressional, senatorial, gubernatorial, and presidential races, there were so many opportunities for the paradigm to shift for the better. In the end, things worked out pretty well (!!), but not perfectly. Let me fill you in what I did this week and my reaction to the election results.
1) I began this week by doing some final phone banking. Through my conversations with real people (especially in a swing state like NC), I’ve learned a lot about how people process information and weigh issues. I’ve also learned about how young and old people handle voting. For example, many young people I called couldn’t talk because they were working. Older people were more free. Phone banking has also made me a stronger, more confident citizen who can defend himself and inspire others. I wrote about my experience phone banking for the last time this week in my previous post, so check it out!!
2) I spent the rest of this week following and analyzing the election results!! Going into this election, I expected Democrats to keep the House (I think it was impossible for Republicans to overtake it), Republicans to keep the Senate, and Biden to become President. In the end, I was mostly correct. Democrats disappointingly lost several House seats, but we kept the lead overall. Republicans also maintained the Senate for the time being, in part due to Cunningham’s loss. I honestly didn’t expect Cunningham to win because his scandal made a lot of people question his overall judgement. However, I was so glad to see Senate wins in AZ and CO, and how both of the GA races are going to runoffs!! And Cooper was re-elected!! So excited to see that.
Keeping up with the presidential race this week was a roller coaster. On Tuesday night, I honestly felt really defeated. Even though Biden’s chances remained in tact, it was so disappointing to see NC and FL go red again after 2016. It felt like all of my work for Biden in our state got us nowhere. Now that we’re farther away, I can look back and say that it was REALLY close, and I should still be proud of that!! Regardless of my fears, I maintained hope that AZ or PA or NV would flip blue!! When I got the news yesterday, I was ecstatic!! I was actually downtown working when I heard people honking in their cars. A parade formed outside, and I went to go check it out!! See below:
Really, this election was a win for young voters… There were unprecedented amounts of suppression in the form of misinformation and mistrust from Republicans, anxiety from COVID-19, long lines, and confusing identification requirements. Nevertheless, they made sure their vote counted!! Tufts reports that 7 million voters ages 18-29 voted early or absentee, much greater than in 2016. Numbers are still being counted for the election day reporting, but it looks promising!! Plus, overall turnout in the President election was the best it was in 120 years!! Young peoples’ work seems to have paid off, too, because statistics show 61% of them voted for Biden. This is a big win for the younger generation.
My overall feeling right now is cautiously hopeful. Not having the Senate will create some struggle for Biden and Harris, but I trust my leaders. President-elect Biden is a true man of character, and Vice President-elect Harris is a trailblazing fighter. I have felt so much joy over their victory, and so has the rest of Durham. This is a victory for young people, for working class people, for our environment, for minorities, and for the future of our country. Stay tuned next week because I will be starting work on my final project!!