Students react to Joe Biden’s presidential win

by Kristin Chapman | 11/12/20 2:10am

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by Bruno Korbar / The Dartmouth

The news of former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election — and the historic ascent of his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., to the office of vice president — has garnered varying reactions from Dartmouth students.

After almost four days of uncertainty surrounding the results of the 2020 presidential election, most major news networks called the race for Biden on Nov. 7. In the following days, many students expressed excitement, while others were uncertain over what Biden’s presidency might bring. 

In New Hampshire, Biden won the popular vote against President Donald Trump by a margin of 52.8% to 45.5%. Biden also won in Hanover with 86.6% of the vote, while Trump took away 11.8%. A recent survey conducted by The Dartmouth found that 82% of students polled supported Biden, and 13% supported Trump. 

The mood on campus seemed to improve when Biden’s win was announced, after the looming results of the election posed a particularly stressful week for many students. 

Miranda Yu ’24, who voted absentee in California for Biden, said that she is happy with the results of the election and has observed similar sentiments on campus, with many students celebrating after the race was called.

“I’ve seen a lot of people celebrating and students driving around in cars, and there were fireworks on the Green,” she said. 

Former organizing fellow for the New Hampshire Democratic Party Rohan Menezes ’23 said that he was “incredibly relieved” with the results, though he supported and volunteered for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign during the primaries. Menezes said that because of his family history — his parents immigrated to the U.S. from India — and his international perspective from attending school abroad, he felt that his eventual choice to support Biden was not up for debate. 

“[Trump] tapped into a source of anger and frustration in America, and so the results of this election renewed my confidence in the soul of America,” Menezes said. 

Some students had different reactions to Biden’s victory. Self-identifying libertarian Jack Nicastro ’23, who chose not to disclose who he voted for, said that he supports “individual rights, free markets and voluntarism,” and was therefore dissatisfied with both candidates. Nicastro cited the lack of one-party control in the nation’s government, particularly within the Senate and the House, as the source of his optimism towards the results of the election. 

“I think for the people who don’t want a supermajority of Republicans or a supermajority of Democrats having their partisan way in government, this election is actually pretty good, for centrists and libertarians,” he said. 

Matt Capone ’24, who identifies as an independent with conservative leanings, ended up voting for Trump, although he was “very conflicted.” 

“Ultimately, I’m a bit indifferent with the results of the election,” Capone said. “I’m excited for climate reform in regards to Biden’s administration because that was something I had certain qualms about with Trump’s administration. However, in terms of Biden’s tax plan, I’m not necessarily in full support of him raising taxes on those who make over $400,000 a year.”

Students also had mixed feelings about the future of politics. Both Yu and Menezes felt that despite Biden’s victory, there is still a lot of work to be done. 

“I think a lot of people are bathing in this overall happy environment, so it’s also important that we remember that there are still a lot of things we have to push for,” Yu said. She named climate change, COVID-19 and systemic racism as some of the main issues she hopes will improve under the Biden administration. 

“I hope [Biden] does not forget who elected him into the White House,” Menezes said. “Without the support of progressives who care about things like climate action, and [people of color] whose communities have been suffering under Trump, [Biden’s] campaign would be dead in the water. These are the people he now needs to take care of.”

Nicastro said that although he hopes any ballot fraud will be caught, he is not supportive of  Trump’s post-election rhetoric: Despite his losses in both the electoral and popular votes, Trump has still refused to concede the election and has filed multiple lawsuits to challenge the results. 

“If there is evidence that some of the ballots are from dead people, or any other things that would make them illegal, inappropriate, etc., then those things should be taken seriously and investigated,” Nicastro said. “But I think the way Donald Trump is complaining about the situation is bound to lead to conflict, and I’m not a fan.”