High School Students Reflect on the 2020 Election


Anna Moore

Stressed, anxious, terrified, nervous, overwhelmed, obsessed, disgusted, exhausted, scared, tearful. These are the words that the students at Mount Vernon High School used to describe their feelings about the 2020 election. The anxiety among students and the nation did not subside on election day, Nov. 3.
For some students, working on the day after the election was nearly impossible as they eagerly awaited the results. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden being neck-and-neck in the race for the seat raised tension in the high school. They aren’t the only ones feeling the stress. Sophomore Dallas Olberding, a Biden supporter, had a few general thoughts about the election. “I believe that as of now, Biden is going to win,” he said the morning after the election. “Last night, looking at the map was very disappointing for me with what seemed like everything was red. However, patience is key for the democrats this election, and it has been proven that more democrats voted by mail which works out in Biden’s favor for sure.”
When choosing a president, students considered several issues. The biggest concern students had was equality. Whether it’s racial equality, equality for women, or equality for the LGBTQ+ community, students felt strongly about this issue. “As of right now, the issue that I care about most is a woman’s right to choose, and maintaining abortion rights for women,” senior Lillie Hawker said. “I know for a fact that Donald Trump is against every form of abortion and I know that Joe Biden has advocated for women and maintaining a woman’s right to choose, and that’s why I would vote for him when it comes to that one issue.”
Some argued that President Donald Trump is against equality altogether. Ashlyn Steen, a junior and Biden supporter is concerned about racial and gender equality. “Some of the things that Trump has said are a tad sexist, racist, homophobic, and/or transphobic. My real fear for the future of our country is that around 50 percent of it is willing to ignore all of that and still vote for him,” she said. “Even if he doesn’t act on that, the fact that you can vote for someone that has shown that he disapproves of that is horrific to me. It scares me,” Steen said.
Trump supporters were reluctant to be publicly identified. The Trump supporters interviewed for this story said that there have been multiple instances where their view has been considered irrelevant or invalid when either having a debate or talking to someone about it. They explained how no one seems to listen, but instead jumps right into a debate. Having more conservative viewpoints when attending a more liberal school, can be draining. “There are people there, at Mount Vernon who are Republicans, but they’re not going to tell you because they’re scared of retaliation,” a Trump supporter said. “You want to be accepted. That’s all you want, is to be accepted and to be heard.”
One student, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of backlash, spoke about their support of President Trump. In response to one of the concerns of students who voted for Biden, the issue of white supremacy and the Black Lives Matter Movement, the student said “As a white American I’m not for racism but I definitely feel like the black Americans are keeping it going. They are constantly reminding us that they were slaves and that there’s segregation,” the Trump supporter said. “I don’t feel like white Americans are racist, I feel like people of color are keeping that going. They are continuing to feed the enemy and feed the energy that they want,” they said. “I believe that there will always be that separation until they decide to put it to rest. I think that they have a part in it, we have a part in it, that’s it’s a mutual agreement.” They said that they are feeling the stress from the election, and are afraid that Biden will win.
An email survey was sent out to students the week before the election to see who they would vote for president. Out of 100 people who responded, 62.7 percent chose Joe Biden, 21.6 percent chose Donald Trump, 11.8 percent chose Kanye West, while the remaining chose either Jo Jorgenson or Howie Hawkins.
On Nov. 7 the Associated Press called the election with Donald Trump at a total of 214 electoral votes, and Joe Biden at 290 electoral votes. On Nov. 13, the final two states finished their counts, widening the split to 306-232. Georgia finished its recount today where Biden beat Trump by 12,284 votes, according to the final results from the audit.
Biden won the election and is now the 46th president-elect of the United States, but President Trump has yet to concede. While people around the world were celebrating, there were different emotions going on around the High School. Hannah Dewitte, a junior and a Biden supporter is pleased about the results. “I feel like there’s a huge weight off of my shoulders and I don’t have to worry as much as to if Trump was re-elected again,” she said. “I mean, knowing that Biden has a bunch of plans on expanding disability rights and protections, as well as healthcare, as to where Trump was never really in favor of helping and protecting disabled people.”
However, not everyone is feeling joyful about the outcome. An anonymous student who is disappointed in the results of the election had a few things to say. “I’m frustrated in the fact that Joe Biden wants to shut down the whole economy,” they said. “I’m worried about my boyfriend (who is in the military) being able to come home when the borders are shut, I’m worried about his job and our life.”
Relieved, hopeful, disappointed, speechless, happy. These are the words that students at Mount Vernon High School use to describe their feelings about the result of the election. The younger generation was important in this election because it directly impacts them. Students at Mount Vernon attest to this as they are a crucial part of our growing society. This election impacts not only their education, social interactions, beliefs, health, but their willingness to bring change.