By: Joe DeMartin ’21 (he/him), Senior Political Correspondent
After days of anticipation, just before 11:30am on Saturday, November 7th, the networks and the Associated Press all projected that Joseph R. Biden Jr. would become the 46th President of the United States.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of the ways in which Davidson experienced the results this year. The pandemic led many people across the country to vote by mail. And because some Republican state legislatures — namely in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — did not allow their election officials to process mail-in votes before election day, the vote-counting and the uncertainty surrounding the winner of the election extended much longer than in previous years.
While Davidson did host an election day watch party in the Union with multiple screens, because of the delay in reporting results, students left around midnight feeling unsure about the future of the nation. Clare Harbin ‘23 remarked, “I left the Union calm but nervous… leaving the Union at the last possible moment of watching the result stream gave me a sense of agency in my experience of the results.” Other students had similar sentiments: Sarah Suttner ‘22 expressed that she felt “stressed, overwhelmed, and disappointed” at the flaws in our electoral system. And Kelly Garrett ‘22 remarked, “[The vote counting] not being finished after election night stressed me out.”
This uncertainty was only amplified by Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter and election fraud and his false declaration of victory. Courtney Clawson ‘21 said she believes that “there will be a lingering sense of uncertainty until Inauguration Day” as a result of the President’s comments.
As the week carried on, students remained attentive to various sources of coverage. Deen Haleem ‘21 spoke about his multi-source approach to following along, saying, “I made sure to look at a variety of sources so I could always see results right when they came. I primarily used Decision Desk HQ and The New York Times to see what the results were. Beyond that, I kept MSNBC on the TV and read FiveThirtyEight’s blog to get a better sense of how well positioned each candidate was.”
Clawson spoke of her difficulty following the latest news of the election. “While I wish I could have watched the news around the clock, our lives as Davidson Students continued last week,” she said. Clawson added that she relied on, among other sources, The Davidsonian’s coverage because it allowed her “to stay fully informed while still continuing my obligations as a Davidson student and as a human.”
The stress of Davidson combined with the stress of following results left some students looking for relief. Garrett recalled finding it hard to focus on assignments for class while the results hung in the balance for days: “I was extremely distracted by the election.”
But both Clawson and Garrett remarked that professors did a good job of understanding students’ mental states during a particularly tumultuous time. “My professors were incredibly understanding. My workload was greatly decreased last week and several of my classes were canceled. Some of my professors even led us in self-care activities,” Clawson said.
As for North Carolina’s role in the presidential races, our state was called on Friday for Donald Trump. Following Election Day, the State Board did not release any significant results until the November 12th deadline to receive mail-in ballots. Unlike Pennsylvania and Georgia, the turnout in North Carolina’s heavily Democratic cities like Charlotte could not push Biden over Trump’s lead in more rural areas. In the US Senate race, Cal Cunningham conceded to Thom Tillis on Tuesday, November 10 narrowing the Democratic path for control of the Senate to the Georgia runoffs in January.