Polarizing Politics

Written by Rebekah Carter

Illustrations by Emma Whitt

Over the course of 2020, major political issues began to unfold. After footage of George Floyd being arrested and killed by police was shared with the public, the Black Lives Matter movement was kicked into full gear; there were protests and political turmoil throughout the nation. Amid all this tension there was another major political occurrence—it was an election year. 

The 2020 presidential election brought many fights, name-calling and disastrous debates that generated pop culture dynamite. Voter turnout surpassed previous years, with a record turnout of over 64 percent. For many young college students, this was the first year they could vote and leave their own stamp on 2020. 

“This was my first time voting. It felt great knowing I was actively participating in changing our country,” said Anaheim, Calif., senior Abby Gonzalez. “This was also probably the first time a lot of Baylor students were able to vote, and they were able to educate themselves on different topics to choose their ideal candidate.”

Some election highlights include the debates full of interruptions and arguments between President Donald Trump and president-elect Joe Biden, leaving viewers worried about their country’s future. “I thought they were ridiculous and painful to watch. It did not feel like a debate but rather little children fighting with one another over nothing,” Gonzalez said. 

The ongoing pandemic was a major topic of discussion during both Biden and Trump’s campaigns. 

Specifically, Biden attempted to inspire the American people in spite of the pandemic during a speech he gave in Georgia as the presidential campaign came to a close.  “Today … we must cultivate the science of human relationships — the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world at peace,” Biden said. “To live together and work together. That’s how I see America. That’s how I see the presidency, and that’s how I see the future.”

Trump used the situation to re-emphasize his belief in the country through a public service announcement. “The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States. We are all in this together,” he said.  

In spite of a controversial election, Houston senior Lyssa Gonzalez believes that differing political beliefs do not need to divide our nation. “I try hard to be respectful to everyone around me, regardless of their political views. If they can respect me and my opinions, and understand where I come from, I can appreciate them,” she said. 

“I think Trump used rallies to his advantage and really tried to get people excited to vote for him and enthusiastic about the election,” said Charlie Letts, vice chair of Baylor College Republicans. “Despite the fact that it seems like Trump lost, he still got 74 million people to vote for him. He even did a good job at appealing to minority voters. I think it’s all because of his appeal to the average American worker.”

However, the intensity of the election still managed to escalate further after Biden was announced the winner. On January 6, 2021 a mob of Trump supporters carried out a riot inside the United States Capitol, protesting Biden’s win. These protestors scaled walls and broke windows in order to gain entry to the Capitol. Eventually Trump called for the rioters to leave the Capitol building. “Go home. We love you, you’re very special,” he said.

In spite of the recent violence at the Capitol, the 2020 presidential election will still go down in history for its breaking down of race and gender norms. Vice president elect Kamala Harris will be the first multicultural woman to serve in office. “It is monumental to see someone in office that represents me, and so many other black women,” Rosharon senior Olivia Evans said. “Seeing Obama in office was spectacular, but the fact that my vote put the first multicultural woman in office will stay with me forever.”