Editorial—After the chaos of election week

Joe Biden

“Joe Biden February 2020” by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, Arizona is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 WINNER ANNOUNCED-Joe Biden led Donald Trump in the electoral college and popular vote.

North Wind Staff

As election night turned into election week, many students and faculty expressed their feelings of stress and anticipation while waiting for the results of the presidential race. 

On the night of Nov. 3, pickup trucks bearing American flags as well as Trump 2020 flags toured Marquette’s streets. Students shouted, “F*** you!” to fellow students in the Woods parking lot. 

One of our team patrolled town all night, reporting on the poll locations and found that it was great to see people just doing their part and voting. The worst thing we heard was some people had some flags in the parking lot at the municipal building, but they had to leave. Overall in Marquette, election day was pretty peaceful.

Another member of our team worked as a stringer for the Associated Press (AP), responsible for tallying the votes for each candidate from the local precincts and sharing them with AP so they could accurately report the election in real time. What he saw was people excited to be involved in helping people vote and making their voices heard. No one who went in to vote seemed concerned or there to cause trouble. It was a good reminder that the people who are working the election are just individuals who want to give back to their communities. They aren’t people who are secretly making voters use sharpies to invalidate any votes. They are simply people who are passionate about democracy and have contributed in many elections.

When, in the morning, the race had not yet been called, we all settled in for the long wait that was to come. Finally, on Friday, news organizations began to call the race. The president elect was identified: Joe Biden.

This may have come as a surprise to some, because President Trump had announced his victory early on the morning of Nov. 4 while many states had not yet been called one way or the other. As members of the North Wind team stayed up through the night on Election Day and heard Trump’s speech, it irked us that he declared the win prematurely and invoked concerns of voter fraud without evidence. Mail-in ballots have not historically been linked to fraud nor is there proof of it happening on a large scale during this election.

His demand to put a halt to counting votes in some states and to continue counting in other states is absurd and only a few steps away from something terrifying. In fact, perhaps the most frustrating thing to hear during this election was calls for election workers to stop counting votes to favor President Trump. Additionally, hearing stories of people attempting to storm rooms where ballots are being counted is scary because the vote counters are simply doing their jobs.

Still, at the time of writing, President Trump has yet to concede his defeat in the 2020 election. Yet, this refusal is on par for his character and expected. It would usually be considered “childish” or “selfish” or maybe even “conceited” to not accept defeat. It’s like a cooking show or fashion show with eliminations. If someone gets to the next round and it’s not you, you need to congratulate them and move on. Yet here we are, and really, what did we expect of him?

On the other hand, we found it wise for Biden not to claim victory until verified by the AP and other outlets.

Now that’s not to say we consider this election over. There have been several audits of this election so far, but none have found the widespread voter fraud allegations that the Trump campaign claims. And as far as the Trump campaign’s many lawsuits pursuing victory, these seem likely to exhaust themselves. While it’s definitely fair for President Trump to wait until the results are certified, we worry that even after then he won’t concede his clear defeat. There’s a lot of harm that claiming there was fraud can do to the public’s perception of elections, and that harm will have to be repaired with the legal process and the recounts, rebuilding the trust of many voters.

In sum, we support the recounts happening, and we find it vital to our democracy that fairness of the election is established to both parties’ satisfaction, as far as reasonably possible. A leader must have a legitimate claim to their position. So, let them recount.

Indeed, one of the most important things we will take away from this election is that no one will ever be able to stop Democracy from happening. Regardless of whether or not the candidates you wanted to win won, there is a verifiable winner and a verifiable loser and we hope that everyone will come to live with this. 

This process has been frustrating and confusing. We want this to end as fairly and quickly as possible. Like most Americans we were in intense anticipation of the results. With an entire country in distress waiting for an election to be over, we hope that they figure out how to make the process quicker in future elections.

For many people we talked to, this election cycle has been paralyzing. It was extremely polarizing with much of the country pitted against itself. As recounts progress and President Trump rages against the decision of the electoral college, let’s all take a breath. 2020 is nearly over. Time to keep chugging on.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is an editorial, written by the North Wind Editorial Board in its entirety. It reflects the majority views of the individuals who make up the editorial staff of the North Wind. It is the policy of the Editorial Board not to endorse candidates for any political office, in order to avoid aligning this public forum with particular political organizations.