The Saddest Day of Our Democracy

Only in today’s hyper-toxic political environment could the events of January 6th, 2020 occur. While over 100 Congressional Republicans, 10+ Senators, and the President objected to the valid results of the 2020 election, Americans who supported the President and everything he said became indoctrinated into his false premises. Let me repeat myself- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the next President and Vice President of the United States. They won by substantial margins in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia. When questions arose as to the validity of the ballots cast, Team Trump used their legal rights and objected in court. They lost – a lot. To date over 60 petitions had been filed in courts across the country with a grand total of 0 resulting in a change of vote count. The legal process should have and did end there. What came afterward has been nothing short of despicable, egregious, and dangerous. Refusing to admit defeat, the President and his cronies began peddling misinformation- that the election was rigged (it wasn’t), or that Hugo Chavez (a deceased Dictator of Venezuela) had conspired with voting machines among other lies. With these lies repeated over and over again, one by one people who voted for the President felt disenfranchised and angry- and wanted action.

With Congress meeting to certify the Electoral College vote on January 6th, the President and his loyalists saw this moment as one last chance to attempt to overturn the election, a tactic completely unconstitutional and dangerous. His calls to overturn the election reverberated throughout the party, with cynical Senators such as Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) joining the President in his claims in an attempt to win over his base of support. Leading up to today’s Joint Session of Congress, was a scheduled rally of protesters to try and convince their congress members to “object” to the results of the 2020 election. This goal became realized when President Trump joined the protesters and spoke in front of Capitol Hill this morning, further fanning the flames of hatred towards those willing to uphold the rule of law.

Emboldened by their President and members of Congress trying to score political gains, many protesters stormed the capital, breaking through barricades and smashing windows, forcing a shutdown and evacuation of the buildings. Amidst the chaos and dysfunction, the most radical (relatively speaking) of the group broke into the Senate chamber, rushing the majority member’s chair and jumping from the scaffolding. Where was the President during this moment of domestic terrorism? Tweeting. The tweets and videos have since been taken down due to the risk of instigating more violence, with one of them criticizing VP Pence for refusing to object. All while people overcame Capital Police and lay siege on our Capital.

Never before in the history of our nation have we had a President or major candidate for the nation’s highest office refuse to concede an election. Never before have we had domestic terrorists lay siege upon our nation’s Capital. Today is truly a sad, despicable day.

Georgia Goes Blue: Warnock, Ossof Defeat Loeffler, Perdue In Runoff Election

Following the declaration of President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump, many eyes of the political landscape turned to Georgia’s Senate election. Hidden among the chaos that was November 6, 2020, many states not only voted for the President but also for their Senators and Representatives in Congress. 

Following election night, almost every state was able to announce their winners soon after the votes were counted, all except Georgia. Georgia has a special rule in place that says a Senate candidate must win with at least 50%+1 of the vote in the state. If this fails to happen then the top two candidates will then move on to a runoff election where the winner will take the Senate seat. Georgia had two Senate seats up for reelection as Senator David Perdue’s term had expired, and one following the resignation of Senator Johnny Isakson. On January 6, both races were officially called, Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock beat out Republican Kelly Loeffler for Isakson’s seat and Democrat Jon Ossof beat incumbent Republican David Perdue. 

These results are key looking forward to the state of the Federal Government in the first two years of Biden’s presidency. With the double Democratic victory in Georgia, both chambers of Congress hold a Democratic majority. In the Nancy Pelosi led house Democrats lead 222-211. In the Senate, there is a 50-50 split, but the Vice President, Kamala Harris, will break ties for the Democrats. This means Democrats will likely be able to get a lot of bills passed in both houses without the need to pass through a chamber held by the opposing party. This being said we can likely expect a slew of bills being passed within the first two years of the Biden presidency as he looks to utilize this majority to his advantage. 

One thing is uncertain, however, could the progressive wing of the Democratic party attempt to use this majority to swing the democratic platform to the left by withholding their support unless their wants are met? Only time will tell. Democrats have full control of the federal government for the first time since the 111th Congress in 2009 following President Obama’s historic rise to the presidency.

Rising Stars of the Northeast

Whether one is a Republican or Democrat, there are new, young faces that represent their respective parties. From far-left Progressives to Trumpian Republicans, there are representatives of every ideological thought.

Governor Chris Sununu (R-NH)

A lovable moderate Republican from the Granite State, Governor Chris Sununu has been able to successfully straddle the Trump base while simultaneously securing votes from both Independents and moderate Democrats. Running as a social moderate and economic conservative/libertarian in 2016, Sununu was able to rally disaffected Obama voters into joining his voting coalition and beat his opponent, Colin van Ostern 49% to 46.7%, a healthy 17,000 votes. In addition, he was able to run ahead of then-President-elect Trump by 2.5 percentage points, laying the groundwork for New England Republicans who will run for office in the near future. His crossover appeal is one of his biggest assets, as is his record as governor. The most important of his executive actions have been met with widespread approval, including when it comes to addressing the COVID pandemic. According to the most recent UNH survey, Governor Sununu has a 71% approval rating on COVID, and a 69% overall approval, netting him the #5 spot of most approved governors in the nation. 

It is uncertain what the future holds for him, as rumors have been circulating as to whether he will run for Senate in 2022, return to the governorship, or even be a VP contender in 2024.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

Whether you love her or despise her, it is undeniable AOC has taken Washington DC by storm. Winning unexpectedly during New York’s 14th District primary race immediately launched her into the spotlight, for various reasons. First, her opponent Joe Crowley was the 4th highest-ranking Democrat in the House and was rumored to be next in line for the speakership, a title very few have had the privilege of holding. Running to the left of a Hillary Clinton surrogate after 2016 in one of the most liberal districts in the country was a bet that paid off for Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez. Now a 2-term member of Congress with a lot of media exposure, expect AOC to push for more reforms and more power in varying committees for herself and other progressive members.

It is also worthy to note that AOC has not ruled out a Senate primary of Chuck Schumer in 2022, which could be potentially catastrophic for Democrats if they are matched with a viable Republican contender. Although New York is a solid-D state, nominating a far-left Progressive would definitely put the seat in jeopardy, with potential Independents and moderate-leaning Democrats willing to vote Republican.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

Elected in the 2014 “red wave”, Congresswoman Stefanik has quietly but surely become one of the GOP’s rising stars in Congress. Running as a moderate Republican from Upstate NY, Stefanik cruised through her primary and general, winning by a healthy 20.5% margin. Pro-life and a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment, Stefanik has been a strong voice for social conservatives, even speaking during a primetime spot at the 2020 RNC Convention. At only 36 years old, the sky’s the limit for this young Congresswoman.

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-CT)

A young progressive elected in 2018’s “blue wave”, Congresswoman Hayes, a former Connecticut Teacher of the Year recipient, won by 11% in Connecticut’s 5th district. With a compelling story and an endorsement from former President Barack Obama, Hayes cruised through the primaries and general election against former Mayor of Meriden, Manny Santos. Since taking office, she has voted with the Progressive Caucus on many issues, including debt relief to those most at risk of falling into poverty. At 47 years old, there is a lot more to be expected from this experienced educator.

UNH Survey Center, “Sununu’s NH Job Approval Remains High; Handling of COVID-19 Falls 12/2/2020” (2020). All UNH Survey Center Polls. 628. 
https://scholars.unh.edu/survey_center_polls/628

“Governor Rankings.” Morning Consult, 4 Jan. 2021, morningconsult.com/governor-rankings/

 “Jahana Hayes.” Ballotpedia, 2020, ballotpedia.org/Jahana_Hayes. 

“Elise Stefanik.” Ballotpedia, 2020, ballotpedia.org/Elise_Stefanik. 

“Chris Sununu.” Ballotpedia, 2020, ballotpedia.org/Chris_Sununu. 

PELOSI WINS SPEAKERSHIP BY 2 VOTES

On Sunday afternoon, shortly after being sworn-in, members of the House of Representatives elected Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker by just 2 votes. As we entered the new year, and up until the vote today, it was still unclear whether or not there would be enough votes to re-elect Pelosi to the speakership. Rumors circulating the capital had a group of recently elected Progressive Congress members, withholding their vote for Nancy Pelosi unless she agreed to an up-and-down floor vote on Medicare for All. Congress members Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) of New York and Cori Bush (D-MO) of Missouri in a recent CNN interview refused to say how they would vote, sparking more intrigue among pundits as to what they would do.

Going into today, Congresswoman Pelosi needed to receive a simple majority of votes cast and accomplished this, but by just 2 votes. There were 428 voting members out of the 435 in the chamber, and Nancy Pelosi received 216-just one more than the required 215. To much surprise, it was not just the vote count that was of interest, but who received votes as well. Congress members Connor Lamb (D-PA) of Pennsylvania, Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) of Virginia, Jared Golden (D-ME) of Maine, Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) of Michigan, and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) of New Jersey all chose not to vote for Congresswoman Pelosi. Congressman Lamb opted for Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), while Congressman Golden chose progressive Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) of Illinois. This is of note, as they are all considered “Moderate Democrats”, representing swing districts. To vote against their party in choosing a leader was of great risk and it will be interesting to see how that decision affects them in the next election cycle.

President Trump Bows to Bipartisan COVID Relief Bill

President Donald Trump has signed the latest COVID relief bill, which includes more Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses, as well as $600 direct payments to those eligible. This revelation comes amidst a recent veto threat issued by the President if the bill did not have $2000 in checks to the American people. The bill was an evolutionary piece of legislation originally set to be completed this past September, however, talks stalled until after the election.

Initially, Republicans proposed an $800 billion deal, only for the President to ask for $1.8 trillion, one of the largest spending deals in US history in the lead-up to November. For most likely political reasons, a deal was never reached until after the results came in. Nevertheless, Democratic and Republican lawmakers met for weeks on end through November and into December to reach a deal to help the American people. After the proposed bill still did not have direct payments and only unemployment insurance, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) teamed up in a concerted bipartisan effort to get checks to the American people, eventually getting $600 direct payments added to the relief bill.

Enter President Trump.

After getting bipartisan approval on the bill, the President addressed the nation with a threat to veto the bill if it did not have $2000 in direct payments – over triple the initial amount proposed. In his speech, he boldly stated “I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package.” Had there been real follow through on previous threats, such as Congress fully funding a border wall, maybe there would have been more leverage. Instead, these recent threats came just a few days before the unemployment benefits for millions were set to expire. This situation put enormous pressure and time constraints on the White House to persuade Republicans to go along, all of whom wanted to be back with their loved ones for the Christmas holiday.

House Republicans didn’t go along with the change and stayed on course with their support for the bill that had already passed. With mounting pressure and little support from Republican members of Congress, Trump caved shortly after Christmas and signed the bill, granting emergency relief to those in most need. If the President wants his threats to remain credible and powerful then he must follow through, otherwise, they are meaningless.

Live Updates on the 2020 Election

On the day before the election, both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are hoping for unprecedented voter turnout. So far we have already seen early voting reach two thirds the level of total votes cast in 2016, which already is a great sign for participation in this year’s election. According to FiveThirtyEight’s 2020 Election tracker, an interactive site showing predictions by election analysts, Joe Biden is leading going into November 3rd with an 89 out of 100 chance of winning, whereas Donald Trump has a 10 out of 100 chance. On November 3rd and the days following, many people will have their eyes on what will likely be some of the most important swing states: Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and Ohio. These four states account for a total of 105 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the electoral college. When these states are called it is likely we will have a sound idea of who will emerge victorious in the 2020 Election.

Follow along with The Hilltopper’s Coordinator of Off-Campus News, Bryan Lavoie, and Coordinator of On-Campus News, Meghan Query, as they provide live reporting on the results as they come in

Live Updates:

1:35pm 11/3:

Texas, which hasn’t voted blue in a presidential election since voting for Carter in 1976, is listed as a tossup this year, with Biden polling just 1.5% behind Trump according to FiveThirtyEight. Texas has already had record voter turnout this election, with more people voting early than total voters in 2016. More democrats are voting early than republicans this year, so Texas is definitely a state to keep an eye on over the next couple of days, as it will likely play a significant role as a battleground in this election.

Ohio is also an important battleground this year, with Trump polling just 0.6% ahead of Joe Biden. No republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, so both candidates are hopeful that they will take Ohio’s 18 electoral votes.

Pennsylvania is arguably the most important battleground state in this election. Should Biden take Pennsylvania, as polls predict, FiveThirtyEight expects that his chances of winning go from 89/100 to 99/100. Should Trump take the state, as he did by 1.6% in 2016, his chances of winning a second term go from 10/100 to 60/100. Pennsylvania is expected to play a significant role this year, and may even be the deciding state in this election.

Politico has listed Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin as the deciding states in this election. These 8 states hold 127 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the electoral college, and all 8 states are polling in favor of Joe Biden. All of these, except for Minnesota (which has voted exclusively for democratic candidates since 1976), voted for Trump in 2016. 

Both candidates are hoping to take these crucial states in the electoral college this year. Keep an eye out for more updates on these battleground states as results start to come in from each of them later tonight, and as votes are counted over the next several days.

5:35pm 11/3:

Just hours before the first polls are set to close, several states are reporting instances of voters receiving suspicious robocalls spreading false information about voting. Some calls told voters to “stay home, and stay safe” while others attempted to convince voters to vote tomorrow due to long lines at the polls. In recent weeks, other messages have been sent to voters from “Proud Boys” email addresses, attempting to intimidate voters into voting for Trump. Investigation into these issues are ongoing, and state officials are very concerned by these attempts at interfering in the election process this year. It is unclear whether any of these issues have impacted voter turnout, as several states are on track to see record turnout this year.

6:10pm 11/3:

Be very wary of exit polls. As always take these polls with a grain of salt. With a record breaking number of mail in votes being tabulated throughout tonight and deeply into tomorrow morning, expect exit polls to swing in favor of Donald Trump as many in person voters today will be voting his way and many of the mail in votes will go to the former Vice President. Pay closer attention to specific precincts and counties reporting rather than any exit polls. The Hilltopper will be providing updates on the confirmed results from precincts rather than these exit polls.

8:30pm 11/3

Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee are going to Trump

Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, and D.C. are going to Biden

Biden leads 44-42

9:00pm 11/3:

Arkansas is projected Trump

New York is projected for Biden

Biden leads 73-48

9:20pm 11/3:

Trump takes South Dakota

Biden takes Connecticut

Biden leads 80-51

9:25pm 11/3:

Trump takes North Dakota and Alabama

Biden takes Colorado

89-63 for Biden

9:35pm 11/3:

An Update on Ohio

A couple of hours into reporting, Biden holds a lead in the Electoral College with 89 electoral votes to Trump’s 63, and all eyes are on Ohio. In our first update, we mentioned that no republican has ever taken the presidency without winning Ohio. Prior to today, Trump was polling just ahead of Biden, and was counting on taking the state. According to FiveThirtyEight, without winning Ohio, Trump has a <1/100 chance of winning a second term. With 59% of the vote counted, Biden is in the lead by 3%, or about 130,000 votes. Trump was undoubtedly counting on taking Ohio’s 18 electoral votes in his reelection campaign. Tensions are high, as expected, this election night, and there is no sign of that changing anytime soon.

10:30pm 11/3:

Louisiana and South Carolina go to Trump

New Hampshire goes to Biden

Biden leads 93-80

10:40pm 11/3:

Trump is projected to take Utah, Kansas, and Nebraska-at-Large

Trump leads 95-93

10:45pm 11/3:

Trump takes Missouri

Biden takes Illinois

Biden leads 113-105

11:00pm 11/3:

Biden takes California, Oregon, and Washington

Trump takes Wyoming and Mississippi

Biden leads 187-114

11:50pm 11/3:

Trump wins Idaho

Biden wins New Mexico

Biden leads 192-118

12:05am 11/4:

Trump takes Ohio

Biden takes Virginia

Biden leads 205-136

12:45am 11/4:

Trump takes Florida

Biden leads 205-165

1:45am 11/4:

Trump takes Iowa, Texas, and Montana

Biden takes Rhode Island and Minnesota

Biden maintains his lead, 220-213

2:50am 11/4:

The Electoral College has not shifted significantly in either direction, but President Trump has declared victory in his reelection campaign from the White House. This election is far from over, with several states not expecting to declare a winner until later in the week, possibly as late as Friday.

Biden takes one more electoral vote in Maine. Maine’s other 3 votes remain undecided.

Biden holds his lead 221-213

5:30am 11/4:

As we continue to wait for results in several key states, Biden takes Hawaii

Biden leads 225-213

6:25am 11/4:

Vote totals continue to come in, as officials in several states return to counting early this morning. There are still many votes to be counted, and results will likely continue to come in throughout the day.

7:55am 11/4:

As the day continues, the divide between the two candidates is narrowing in several key states. Michigan is expecting to have a full report at some point today, but it is unclear when we will get results in some other states.

Biden continues to lead, 225-213

12:15pm 11/4:

Biden gains two more electoral votes from Maine and keeps his lead

227-213

2:30pm 11/4:

Biden takes Wisconsin

He leads 237-213

4:19pm 11/4:

Michigan called for Biden

Biden’s lead increases, 253-213

9:05pm 11/4:

About 24 hours after most polls closed, election officials have not finished counting ballots in several key states. Going into the second night of counting ballots, Biden holds the lead in the Electoral College, as well as in Nevada and Arizona, both of which have not yet been called by ABC News. Trump leads in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alaska, but his lead has been narrowing throughout the day. Results are expected to continue coming in throughout the night and into tomorrow, and some states are not expected to have full results until Friday.

Biden leads in the Electoral College, 253-214 after Trump picked up one vote from Maine earlier today.

12:30pm 11/7:

After several days of counting votes, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris become President-Elect and Vice President-Elect, winning 290 votes of the 270 needed to win the Electoral College. Alaska, Georgia, and North Carolina have not been officially called yet, with President Trump in the lead in Alaska and North Carolina, and Joe Biden in the lead in Georgia.

Biden wins, 290-214. 34 electoral votes remain.

Trump Makes a Case for Law and Order at the R.N.C.

With the Republican National Convention concluded, the Trump Campaign’s message has become clear; Trump will bring law and order to a country that is riddled with crime and violence.

The convention was a departure from several norms of the past, including a stronger focus on the opposing candidate. The GOP stated they did not have a new platform, but rather that they continue to support the President’s platform from 2016. The convention was staged at the White House South Lawn and numerous speakers were White House staffers. Critics have said this convention has clearly violated the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act is an act that prevents civil service employees from engaging in political campaign activities with the exception of the President and Vice President. White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows responded to these criticisms with “Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares.”

Frankly, Meadows is right. Few voters actually care about the President using the White House as a staging ground for the convention. To the majority of Americans, the Hatch Act is completely meaningless.  What most people will actually see is an extravagant pageant with the President promising Americans that he will bring safety and security to their home.

Several speakers in the R.N.C. presented Trump as a keeper of peace. Vice President Mike Pence told viewers they “will not be safe in Joe Biden’s America”. The Vice President along with several other speakers emphasized to viewers that they “will always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line”. There were several claims that Joe Biden would defund the police, a claim that has been fact-checked as false and misleading by numerous sources already.

The final night of the convention presented a strong case for President Trump. Ann Marie Dorn, the widow of a retired St. Louis Police Captain David Dorn spoke at the R.N.C. about her husbands death, who was shot and killed during a violent protest in St. Louis, Missouri.  In a heartbreaking and powerful speech, Ann Dorn describes the horror of the night her husband died. “They shot and killed David in cold blood” she said, “and then livestreamed his execution and his last moments”. Compared to the rest of the speakers, Ann Dorn proved herself to be one of the most convincing speakers to sway voters for the incumbent president.

However, David Dorn’s daughters were against his widow speaking at the R.N.C. They have said Dorn was not a Trump supporter and would not have wanted his death to be used to help Trump.

Trump’s personal attorney and former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani also spoke on night four of the R.N.C., delivering an aggressive speech making a case that Joe Biden is “a Trojan horse with Bernie, AOC, Pelosi, Black Lives Matter, and his party’s entire left wing just waiting to execute their pro-criminal, anti-police socialist policies.”

As the President took the stand and accepted the nomination, he unleashed a barrage of accusations and attacks on Joe Biden and Democrats. He called Biden “the destroyer of America’s greatness”. If Joe Biden were elected, Trump said “China would own our country”.

The President also repeated his common claim that he has “done more for the African-American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln.”

The convention showcased the GOP’s concern of losing its moderate white voters. Speakers at the convention were noticeably diverse. A large amount of those speakers were African Americans. Interestingly enough, it appeared the GOP was not interested in appealing to Hispanics and Asian Americans, who vote for them in higher numbers than African Americans. Instead, the GOP was attempting to reassure moderate white voters that they were voting for the right side and avoided trying to sway undecided Black voters to vote with them.

Trump continued his blaming of Democrats for the violence and crime in America.

“In the strongest possible terms, the Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson, and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities all, like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, and New York, and many others, Democrat-run,” Trump said, referring to protests that sparked over police brutality and racism in the United States.

Whether or not Trump’s message of law and order is working has yet to be clearly seen. The Morning Consult conducted two polls at the start and end of the R.N.C. Prior to the convention, Biden led Trump 52% to 42%. Following the convention, Trump narrowed the lead, reducing Biden’s advantage to four points, with Biden at 50% and Trump at 44%

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

At The Hilltopper, our team would like to hear from you regarding George Floyd, racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement. We are always open to obtaining articles and op-eds from members of the Saint Anselm community and want to be a platform for your voices to be heard. You can message us on social media, our website, or reach out to one of our team members directly.