Polarity and uncertainty define election

Early voting, confusing results and close races made for a chaotic election night

Mariama Jallow, Staff Columnist

One of the most important elections of our lifetime, a statement many of us have heard over and over and over again. For months the election has been at the center of conversations in class, on the news and in social groups. All of this built up to the events of one night: Tuesday Nov. 3. 

In 2016 the total number of votes cast was 138 million. This election has broken records in the number of voters that came out to vote. With over 101 million early votes cast and millions more on election day. North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia emerged as the states to watch. 

In the beginning of the night Texas and North Carolina races were very close and not too soon after, Texas was won by President Donald Trump. At the end of the night Trump was leading in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina and for many Americans, that may have been the end. It certainly was for Trump.

At around 2 a.m., Trump declared victory at the White House and repeated the same rhetoric he has been for months now: that ‘the election is rigged’ and ‘voter fraud’ is underway. Needless to say, President Trump claiming victory was extremely premature because as the millions of absentee ballots come in, some states where Trump was leading are now turning blue. 

#Aboloishthepolice was trending on Twitter in relation to the Black Lives Matter Movement. People have spoken about abolishing the electoral college. However, is it time we #abolishthepolls? In 2016 the polls were wrong and this year they were just as wrong. For weeks, even months, polls were the center of many news organizations, giving us a ‘prediction’ of what we might expect in this election. However, in states where presidential candidate Joe Biden was supposed to have a 10-point lead or more, but his lead was only about a point or two.

With so many uncertainties one thing is for sure: this country is more polarized than it has ever been.” 

This election cycles the senate race in South Carolina was one for the books. Lindsey Graham, a Republican incumbent, ran against Jamie Harrison. Harrison raised $100 million during his campaign, Graham only raised about $28 million in the third quarter. It got to the point where Graham was frequently on Fox News begging America for money.

With the tremendous amount of money that Jamie Harrison raised and the support that he recieved all around the country, it was a shock that he lost the South Carolina race. Nevertheless, this was a monumental race because South Carolina has not had a Democratic senator since 1956. This could have been a turning point for South Carolina and a glimmer of hope for many Democrats living there.  

As the night went on, the Democrats won the house, but the Senate races are also key in this election. The Democrats only needed four new wins to flip the Senate majority. As of Wednesday, the Democrats gained one seat and the Republicans gained one, which meant the Democrats still need six wins in order to win the majority party. Currently, Michigan is the only state where a democratic candidate is in the lead. In Georgia and North Carolina, Republican candidates David Perdue and Thom Tillis are in the lead. As of Wednesday afternoon, Biden is in the lead with 248 electoral college votes and Trump with 214. However, the question on everyone’s mind is what is going to happen in this country if either candidate wins. Unlike ever before, in states all around the country, stores are boarding up their doors and windows, even here in Winston-Salem. 

Is Trump really going to refuse a peaceful transmission of power if he loses? If he wins will there be civil unrest? Will there be a civil war? Or will there be a race war? People are stocking up on groceries and plan on staying inside their homes this week, social media sites are filled with memes and predictions of chaos when the results are final, regardless of who wins. 

Even Time magazine has a column titled “If Donald Trump wins a second term, blame white people.” With so many uncertainties one thing is for sure: this country is more polarized than it has ever been. We may not know yet what will happen when the final results are out, one thing we do know is our democracy and lives may be at stake.