A nation in dismay: a crucial reaction to a contended election

The weeks after the Presidential election are some of the most important, and telling, of the next four years. The United States has taken pride in its ability to have a peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. This peace depends on the response of the sitting President and, if they are unseated, the President-Elect. This is extremely important during this election, where political tension is at a high and both candidates have a large and passionate base of followers who believe that their lives are dependent on the outcome. The candidates’ responses to the confusion and changing climate of the 2020 election are crucial, and while Joe Biden’s words have promoted unity and hope, Donald Trump’s have been divisive and have purposefully created distrust in the democratic system, potentially leading to even more political unrest and division.

Twitter has become the easiest and most useful way for politicians to connect with the American people during the digital age and this connection was vital in getting information out on election day. November 3rd started off strong for both candidates, with each promoting their campaigns and encouraging their supporters to get out and vote. By the end of the night, the election was too close to call. But Donald Trump had a lead in many key states, and his chances of winning had increased dramatically since the days prior. At 9:45 pm, the President tweeted, “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!,” seeming to imply that he had won the election. Later that night he claimed that “they” are trying to steal the election, an inflammatory statement that was flagged by Twitter as disputed and misleading. In a conference later that night in the East Room of the White House, the President claimed that “a very sad group of people” are trying to “disenfranchise” his voters and claimed that the election is “is a fraud on the American public,” a claim that would be continued through the election. The Trump Twitter timeline after November 3rd is full of claims that Twitter marked as false, including the President claiming, “for electoral purposes,” wins in Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, and Michigan, which have all, besides North Carolina, been called for Biden or at least have him leading by a small margin. The President has also chosen to continue unsubstantiated and disproven allegations of voter fraud and election tampering. Tweets like “STOP THE COUNT!” on November 5th have led to pro-Trump demonstrations in Detroit, where his supporters can be seen shouting “stop the count” in front of a convention center where poll workers were counting ballots at the time. The group is also seen banging on windows and attempting to force their way into the room. Trump’s repeated false claims and demonization of fellow government officials has and will continue to lead to a larger divide between the different factions of American politics as well as create false Republican distrust in the sanctity of the democracy of the United States.

The response by Joe Biden could not be any different from President Trump’s, with his message supporting a calm and respectful approach to the chaos, tweeting on November 5th, “I ask the people to stay calm. The process is working. The count is being completed,” and stating that democracy, “requires a little patience. But that patience has been rewarded for more than 240 years.” The former Vice President has also focused on unity and becoming “an American President” in his first speech as President-Elect, calling for an end to political divisiveness and a start of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, specifically in regards to the handling of COVID-19. To ensure the American people of his commitment to responsibly handling the pandemic, the President-Elect and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have already launched a transition website and announced their COVID-19 task force for when they take office. All of these actions promote maturity and fairness, traits that a leader should utilize when their nation is in distress.

While it is perfectly fair for the President and his legal team to pursue recounts and investigate any kind of suspected tampering in such a close and disorienting election, the paths they have taken have been unprofessional and irresponsible given the state of the Nation. Their actions only make the United States look weak and dangerous to our adversaries and allies both. President-Elect Biden’s message of unity and patience is what this county needs in order to sustain itself. If President Trump continues down this path of violent accusations and childish behavior, the United States will have to pay the price of his consequences for long after he leaves office.

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