Madison residents and students burst into celebration and rushed to the Wisconsin State Capitol Nov. 7 after multiple news outlets projected Joe Biden as the next president of the U.S. Over the honks of horns, the multitude of cheers and the shouts of joy, one thing was clear — Madison was celebrating.
The results of the election came as a relief to many after a stressful and emotional week.
“I knew Trump would say the election was rigged regardless of mail-in or not. I had a lot of anxiety about it leading up to the election,” University of Wisconsin sophomore Brenna Haakinson said.
But finally, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were pushed over the Electoral College victory threshold Saturday morning.
“The results of the 2020 Election made me feel relieved and hopeful, especially after four years under a president who did not care at all for the American people,” UW sophomore Annica Car said. “With Joe Biden as president, I believe he will care for all Americans regardless of race, gender or religious identity which gives me hope for the future of this country.”
It’s a feeling of relief UW students admit they haven’t felt in a while — the past four years to be exact. Similarly, a UW senior, who did not wish to be identified, shared that the outcome “makes me feel hopeful about the future of our country … because of the change in leadership.”
This relief comes at a critical time as Wisconsin, and Madison in particular, have begun to see another spike in COVID-19 cases. This past Tuesday, Nov. 10, Gov. Tony Evers shared his statewide address urging Wisconsin residents to stay home.
“Wisconsin, this is serious. This crisis is urgent. It’s not safe to go out, it’s not safe to have others over — it’s just not safe. And it might not be safe for a while yet,” Evers said in the address.
The urgency of his message came following the news that as of Nov. 10 the state of Wisconsin had 7,073 new cases, 66 new deaths and 2,070 people hospitalized with the virus — and only 128 intensive care beds available across the state.
Evers, after looking at numbers and recent projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, believes that by New Years Day the state of Wisconsin will lose roughly 2,500 more lives to COVID-19.
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As UW students put it best, Biden’s election couldn’t have come at a better time, as the country continues to see a devastating rise in the number of cases and deaths.
“It is incredibly relieving to have someone in charge who will be clear and concise in his handling of COVID-19,” a UW senior majoring in economics said.
Echoing this sentiment, UW student John Wolf reported feeling “hopeful for the future” following the election results.
What Trump never fought to do, Biden has a plan for. While he may not be president just yet, Biden promises a “Presidency for all Americans,” as his website reads.
“Kamala Harris and I aren’t wasting any time,” Biden tweeted. “We’re ready to get COVID-19 under control so that we can reopen businesses and schools safely, resume our lives and put this pandemic behind us.”
While his statements seem promising for the future of America, as we transition between one president to the next UW students must keep one thing in mind.
“The election results made me hopeful, but ultimately our political system is so messed up,” sophomore Tori Greer said.
Though Nov. 7 was purely a day meant for celebrating the results of the 2020 presidential election, it is important that the efforts made in regards to social and other forms of change don’t stop now.
As students who played a fundamental role in increasing voter turnout, we must still push for reform within our own university system, within our justice system and across our nation as a whole. The fight for racial and social justice, for acknowledgment of climate change, for a robust COVID-19 response and equal rights for all does not stop now.
For the next four years we must continue to urge our local, state and federal institutions to listen to us — those who voted for change and who voted to see the change promised to us actually happen. To be a “President for all Americans” means we must continue to hold our president accountable for the next four years.
Kayla Bell ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science.