Sac State Trump and Biden supporters discuss presidential election

Students contemplate future of the U.S. post-election

Garry Singh

Jenna Cooper

Following the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, Sacramento State students discussed their thoughts on the presidential election and the future of the U.S.

For Biden supporters, Nov. 7 was a day of celebration as the former vice president was elected as the 46th president of the United States.

“I think this was a really great outcome at least from my perspective,” sophomore political science major Ellen Bezanson said. “I think it was really the happiest I’ve ever been this month in particular because it’s just been so crazy lately. It was really nice to see how people were dancing and singing in the streets and just for the moment it felt like nothing, like we didn’t have to worry about anything just for this moment.”

Over the course of four days while ballots were initially counted, supporters of President Donald Trump watched as he trailed behind Biden in both the electoral vote and popular vote and eventually lost his second term of presidency.

As much as Trump likes to think that he’s not going to concede, he’s going to eventually have to

— criminal justice major Kevin Yu

“I am Republican so obviously I was a little bit disappointed,” senior Spanish major Lizbeth Urbieta said. “I still am a little disappointed because I think even with all the legal battles that are ensuing right now I still think he [Biden] is going to be our president.”

Trump refused to concede and began taking legal action by filing cases in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin when Biden was first announced as the next president.

“As much as Trump likes to think that he’s not going to concede, he’s going to eventually have to,” junior criminal justice major Kevin Yu said. “While he might not be making the usual, traditional concession speech like all the other previous presidents before, he is going to have to go.”

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Leo Molina-Cornejo, of Sacramento, turns in his vote to the blue bag, designated for in-person voting, at the voting center at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. President Trump has yet to officially concede the election but President-elect Joe Biden has begun nominating members of his cabinet and moving forward with his transition team. (Sara Nevis)

Senior forensic chemistry major Cruz Barrera said he thinks Trump will handle the transition of power to Biden “very poorly” due to how Trump handled the election.

Trump requested a recount of votes in key battleground states such as Georgia and Wisconsin. Vote recounts automatically occur if the initial vote results are within a narrow margin generally ranging between 0.1% and 0.5%, but dependent on the state.

“I think it’s valid for people to always want a recount or want an audit just to make sure, ‘OK if I lost, I want to lose fair and square,’” Urbieta said.

Bezanson said recounting the votes won’t make a huge difference and that the states will still be blue.

“They’ve shown that in the past when these votes are recounted in these states that the difference is maybe by 100 or less votes,” Bezanson said.

You had the last four years where people spent calling people who might have voted for Trump or who voted for Trump racist

— Spanish major Lizbeth Urbieta

Reuters reported that more often in a recount, the winner won by a tiny bit more. On average, a recount shifts the outcome by 0.024%.

Along with the recounting of votes, Trump claimed voter fraud occurred during the election. The Trump administration even set up a voter fraud hotline which recently closed due to a copious amount of prank calls.

RELATED: Pro-Trump protestors and counter-protestors clash outside Capitol

“I remember even talking to the Sacramento County Elections office about this [voter fraud] and it’s not as big of an issue as President Trump makes it seem like,” Bezanson said. “I think people need to look at the statistics more and look at the evidence behind this. Yes, it can be a problem, but it’s not something that’s going to completely sway an election.”

Yu said Trump’s claims regarding voter fraud lack legal basis.

“I know in Michigan and Pennsylvania, the lawsuits over there have been thrown out, so I feel like I just don’t buy this whole thing about voter fraud,” Yu said. “With the thing about recounts, I mean I feel like even if there was a recount it wouldn’t make much of a difference.”

The election debates were historic for multiple reasons, and one reason in particular was the manner in which both candidates performed.

“It was very unprofessional in my opinion, it just seemed like two children bickering,” Barrera said.

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Baobye Thao, a Sacramento State women’s studies major, turns in her ballot at The WELL on Sac State’s campus Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. Thao said voting to her is very important and that even though it was her first time and “nerve-wracking,” it was important that she be a part of the change in the 2020 general election. (Dom Vitiello)

A mute button was incorporated into the final debate due to the candidates talking over each other.

“I don’t think I’ve seen one [presidential debate] this mishandled in a very long time,” Bezanson said. “The professionalism was kind of lost on both sides, but I think that it was mainly just due to the fear and hate that we’ve been kind of seeing throughout America. I think it also kind of reflected what we’re seeing in our own country right now.”

Yu said he is hopeful the U.S. will not just go back to normal, but move toward a better future through a time of healing as Biden addressed in his first speech after winning the election.

Other Sac State students were not as hopeful of a bright future for the U.S.

Urbieta said she does not think we can come together as a nation to help solve issues the U.S. is facing and does not think the political and social climates will change.

“You had the last four years where people spent calling people who might have voted for Trump or who voted for Trump racist,” Urbieta said.

Even though Biden won and it can be seen as a victory, don’t be complacent. Make sure you critique him as hard as you would critique Trump

— chemistry major Cruz Barrera

While not optimistic about the future unification of the U.S., Urbieta said she is interested to see how Biden as president will go.

“I, of course, wanted another four years of Donald Trump,” Urbieta said. “But I’m interested to see because of Biden’s age, will he last the four years? And if he does, will he run for a second term?”

Biden is 77 years old and Trump is 74 years old. Bezanson said she also has concerns with politicians who are “60 plus years old” because they are not representative of younger generations.

RELATED: Scenes from Election Day

“However, I think that he’s [Biden] really trying to push change and that he’s actually going to be listening to his advisers and to the people of this country,” Bezanson said. “He said in his speech the other day that he’s not just going to be the president for the Democrats, he’s running for the American people. I think that’s something that we solely need right now.”

As Inauguration Day Jan. 20 quickly approaches, Barrera said it is important to not “idolize politicians.”

“Even though Biden won and it can be seen as a victory, don’t be complacent,” Barrera said. “Make sure you critique him as hard as you would critique Trump.”