The last polls for the 2020 presidential election closed in the United States at 1 a.m. early Wednesday morning, but American voters were left with no clear decision as to whether Republican President Donald Trump would be reelected for a second term or former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden would assume the presidency.
“Your patience is commendable,” Biden said in an address to the American people from Wilmington, Delaware, on election night. “We knew this was [going to] go long.”
Biden expressed his campaign’s confidence in winning Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Since Biden’s statement, the Associated Press declared Biden the winner in Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan. However, in an election night speech of his own, Trump expressed his confidence in winning the aforementioned states, and his intention to contest swing state votes in the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We want all voting to stop,” Trump said in a press conference at the White House early Wednesday morning. “We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o'clock in the morning and add them to the list.”
Trump filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, and said he would ask for a vote recount in Wisconsin.
Both candidates expressed confidence in winning the presidency on election night.
“We believe we’re on track to win this election,” Biden said in his speech. “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election — that’s the decision of the American people, but I’m optimistic about this outcome.”
Trump predicted a more positive outcome for his campaign.
“We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said in his address. “As far as I’m concerned, we already have won it.”
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Penn State student political leaders shared their reactions to Election Day and expressed opinions on what has stretched into a long contest for the White House.
Jordan Clark, the president of the Penn State College Republicans, said both Trump and Biden’s election night speeches weren’t “great.”
“[Trump] strongly emphasized that he won the election, [but] he did not declare victory by any means,” Clark (senior-telecommunications) said. “I don’t think that was smart of him, that was unnecessary.”
Still, Clark said there are “plenty of paths to victory” for Trump, as he believes the president will secure wins in Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
“My biggest surprises of the evening were probably Florida and Arizona,” Clark said about election night. “I didn’t think we would win by such a large margin [in Florida, and I] thought we’d have a better chance in Arizona. I’m still surprised that we lost Arizona, especially so quickly.”
Arizona, which is typically Republican, came to the forefront of the race as one of the deciding factors of the election.
The AP and Fox News declared Biden won Arizona, but CNN and the New York Times have yet to announce such a result.
Additionally, the Trump administration expressed it is still holding out hope for a last-minute flip to red in the state.
Clark said it’s “possible” for Biden to win the election, as mail-in ballots are a “problem.”
“I completely disagree with counting [votes] three days after [Election Day],” Clark said. “I don’t see any logic or constitutionality [in it].”
Trump, who is outspoken regarding his stance on mail-in ballots, said in his election night speech that counting votes past Tuesday’s poll closings “is a fraud on the American public” and “an embarrassment” to the country.
Clark doesn’t believe “anything” will come out of the possibility of Trump’s lawsuits being taken to the Supreme Court.
“Most of what we’ve seen has been legal,” Clark said.
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Avinash Bakshi, president of the Penn State College Independents, went to sleep at midnight Tuesday thinking Trump had the election “in the bag.”
“The election turned out a little closer than expected,” Bakshi (senior-biochemistry and molecular biology) said. He thought Biden would initially “snatch” a few more states.
Bakshi said in an internal poll the College Independents conducted with its members on Oct. 23, Biden was forecast to win with 50% of the vote, compared to Trump’s 28.6%.
“During the election, people started to get a little [more] nervous,” Bakshi said. “I think we all knew going into it [that] Pennsylvania was going to be the biggest… ‘keystone state.’ Whoever wins that state probably wins the election.”
The result Bakshi “most dreaded” was a close election.
“No matter what happens in a close election, the opposite party is going to contest the results,” Bakshi said. “[The election] is going to be a long process that never ends… classic 2020.”
Bakshi said he “doesn’t trust” the mail-in ballot system, which is why he voted in person. Specifically, he said Pennsylvania will be “in a lot of trouble.”
“I think if the election results reach the Supreme Court, I don’t think they’re going to change it out right, even though [there is a] conservative majority,” Bakshi said. “I think decisions will be largely on a state-by-state basis.”
Clark said he doesn’t think Pennsylvania will have election results until Friday, but was “very pleased” to see voter turnout in State College. Both Clark and Jacob Klipstein, president of the Penn State College Democrats, campaigned in front of the Bryce Jordan Center polling location Tuesday.
“I’m just happy to see that everyone’s seeing how important it is [to vote] in this election,” Clark said. He said he received “some thumbs-up and some middle fingers” from voters at the BJC.
Klipstein (senior-political science, history and Jewish studies) said he was “really proud” of voters’ decisions Tuesday.
“I think Penn State students sent a very strong message,” Klipstein said. “I think they’ve seen the last four years of divisiveness [and] said ‘this is not the country I want to live in.’ They said ‘no.’ I think Penn State students took a great step in taking our country back.”
According to unofficial general election result data from the Centre County government website, Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris won Centre County with about 51% of the vote.
Out of a total of 112,090 registered voters, 76,450 cast ballots, resulting in about 38,978 votes for the Democrats and 35,849 for the Republicans, as of midnight Thursday.
Klipstein said the mail-in ballots not yet counted in Pennsylvania will be enough for Biden to win the commonwealth’s 20 electoral votes.
“I’m not going to prematurely declare a victory, but I really like the way things are turning right now,” Klipstein said. “[Trump’s] going to go out kicking and screaming like the little boy he is.”
When he spoke about the lawsuits Trump filed and the possibility of Supreme Court involvement, Klipstein said he sees no “legal justification” for them.
“[Trump is] trying to call the integrity of our election because he isn’t getting his way,” Klipstein said. “It’s just him being a sore loser again and again.”
Klipstein said Biden will soon win, but while the official results are pending he will remain “cautiously optimistic.”
Because of the flip to blue in Wisconsin, Michigan and seemingly Arizona, Biden only needs one of the larger remaining states — Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina or Pennsylvania — to secure 270 or more electoral votes.
In order to secure a second and final term, Trump needs to keep Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania red, and win either Nevada or Arizona.
Editor’s note: Jacob Klipstein is a student member of The Daily Collegian’s Board of Directors.