Student Reactions to the Presidential Election


Rebecca Michaeli

Though a majority of students at City High are not yet eligible to vote, many closely monitored this year’s unprecedented election. On Saturday, November 7, it was announced that Former Vice President Joe Biden was elected as the 46th president of the United States, with Senator Kamala Harris as his Vice President.

“My initial reaction to seeing that Biden and Harris won was relief and happiness. Obviously they have a lot of work to do, but I think that their campaign was well-led, and they are ready to take on a pandemic and a very divided country,” Frances Bottorff ‘22 said.

Bottorff volunteered this election cycle, phone banking with Battleground Iowa in support of the Biden-Harris campaign.

While this election occurred during a pandemic, and is historic in nature for many reasons, Kamala Harris being elected as Vice President of the United States also made history. Harris is the first woman and woman of color to serve as Vice President.

“It’s long overdue to have a woman of color, and a woman in office. I think she’s going to do a lot of great things. Obviously she’s not perfect, but I am going to try and support this administration while also holding them accountable. I think it’s really great that she is the first Black, Indian-American woman, and first woman ever, as Vice President,” Bottorff said.

While some students predicted Biden and Harris becoming President and Vice President elect, others disagreed. The race was close, with results changing and ballots being counted frequently.

“I honestly thought it was going to be a landslide, with Trump taking the lead, though I had no doubt Iowa was going to go red this year. I am definitely ashamed of America. I’m just scared for what’s to come. [Election day] was a sad day to be an American,” Sydney McCleary ‘22 said.

With 504 out of 538 electoral college votes called as of November 11, Joe Biden has 290 votes, with Donald Trump taking 217. While these numbers could increase for either candidate as North Carolina and Georgia haven’t been officially called, Biden was the first to reach 270 electoral college votes, which declares presidency.

“I was really nervous and stressed [on election night]. I also knew that because of the mail-in ballots, it wouldn’t be done in one night, but I was still really concerned the whole time and anxious to find out what was going to happen,” Amira LaVelle ‘22 said.

Those these students were not eligible to vote this year, for some, this unusual election season has sparked a new interest in politics.

“I stayed up until one or two a.m. listening to the news, just trying to see what was going on,” Savannah Steele ‘22 said. “I just thought it was so interesting. This is one of the first years that I’ve really paid attention to the election, and done so much research on it, and the past ones too now.”

Social media has played a large role in spreading awareness and sparking conversation, especially among the younger generation. On platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, many students share their political opinions and push for everyone who’s eligible, to vote.

“Although social media tends to put people in this bubble, where we don’t really understand what the majority believes, I think it plays a very important role in modern politics. This is the new way that information gets out to people and how people form new opinions and find new things to believe in,” LaVelle said.

While social media has its benefits, it can also be misleading and spread false information. Given high polarization during this election, it can be helpful to fact-check information consumed online, to ensure its accuracy.

“I saw some stuff and was like, ‘Wait is this true? What’s going on?’ but then I figured out it was not true at all. I think half of [social media] is good to spread awareness, but you have to be careful,” Steele said.

Though the new President and Vice President have been announced, some students still have concerns for the future of the country.

“I’m still nervous, COVID is a huge concern of mine, and the parties are really divided. There is a lot of hostility and tension between Trump supporters and Biden supporters. So I’m nervous, but I’m feeling very, very hopeful,” Bottorff said.

With election results declared, Joe Biden’s inauguration will be held on January 20, 2021.