WHS students react to the 2020 presidential election


Credit: Atharva Weling

Wayland students sport merchandise supporting both Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s presidential bids. “I expected Biden to win from the start,” junior Zachary Bell said, “but I didn’t think it would be as close of an election as it was.”

Atharva Weling and Brasen Chi

After four days of tension on both ends of the political spectrum, Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States on Nov. 7. Biden convincingly won Massachusetts’ 11 electoral votes with 65.2% of the statewide vote and 78.8% within Wayland itself, results that are largely unsurprising considering our reputation as a Democratic stronghold. However, on a national level, the results were far closer, and both Democrats and Republicans at WHS have strong opinions on the outcome of the election and the chaos that has ensued.

Senior Sam Goldstone self-identifies as a socialist and supported Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries, but he joined a larger movement to “settle for Biden” in the general election, as the lesser of two evils compared to current President Donald Trump. Prior to the election, Goldstone worked with a group called Reclaim Our Vote to call communities of color hurt by voter suppression in key states like Georgia and help them make a plan to vote.

“[Our work] is one of the reasons why the margin in Georgia has been so good for Joe Biden, [given] how he is ahead there,” Goldstone said.

Goldstone has been disgusted with the Trump administration for a number of reasons. He has taken issue with Trump’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, spreading of misinformation surrounding it as well as its immigration and asylum policies. Most of all, Goldstone thinks that Trump is a fascist and that his desire to cultivate a strongman persona is what has caused the United States to be so badly hurt by COVID-19.

“He is a fascist, and I am on principle against fascism,” Goldstone said. “His inability to look past that [strongman] persona and be a leader has doomed over 200,000 people.”

Senior Bec Patsenker echoes that sentiment. Patsenker did their part for Biden by donating in bits and pieces to his campaign, convincing other people to vote for Biden and going to a protest in support of the postal service when Trump was threatening to pull its funding. Patsenker too was not an early supporter of Biden, but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, they feel that Trump has been stripping away their rights since the onset of his presidency.

“I feel like I have been scared for my rights every single day,” Patsenker said. “I didn’t realize how much tension I was holding until I really started to have hope.”

Patsenker is excited to see what changes a Biden presidency will bring. They are sure that Biden believes in science and will allow scientists to oversee a solution to the pandemic, and they were also happy with Biden for acknowledging systemic racism. Most of all, Patsenker sees Biden as a unifying force for our country who will reverse four years of increasing divisiveness under Trump.

“I can confidently believe that he is [going to] be the president who does what we want and who unifies us as a country because Trump has spent four years dividing to conquer,” Patsenker said.

Goldstone is less optimistic. He sees Biden as a middle-of-the-road candidate who will need to be pressured by more progressive politicians into making the changes Goldstone desires. He also thinks that the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia will be crucial in determining who controls the Senate, and thus, how successful Biden can be. A Republican-controlled Senate, he believes, will not pass any legislation regarding important issues like climate change.

“[Republicans’] job is not to govern; their job is to obstruct the other side from ever governing,” Goldstone said.

Neither are especially concerned about Trump’s refusal to concede the election or his threats to take the issue to the Supreme Court.

“It’s completely baseless and he has no claim to increasing his vote share in any of these states,” Goldstone said. “There is no evidence at all of any voter fraud, and it is absurd.”

While Goldstone and Patsenker’s liberal views line up with Wayland’s majority, there are some people who agree with Trump’s policies, whether it’s all of them or just some, and who are disappointed with the president’s loss.

“I agree on immigration restrictions and specific abortion policies,” Junior A, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “Immigrant restrictions will prevent any act of terrorism from a foreign country in the US.“

For some people, the economic policies of the Republican Party were what was attractive. Junior Zachary Bell believes that these policies stimulate the market and create more job opportunities for people after college. He believes that the Republicans’ policy of tax cuts and a free capitalist market matches up with his own beliefs.

“I think both candidates are bad choices for president. Neither [candidate] has had a good background, and both make good points why the other should not be president,” Bell said. “I agree with the goal of repealing Obamacare, [and] I don’t like Biden’s tax plan very much [compared to Trump’s].”

Junior B, who also asked to remain anonymous, also agrees with the Republican Party on some policies. They are especially drawn in by the Republican Party’s stance on foreign policy issues and access to firearms for civilians.

“I think that Republicans have been doing very well with foreign policy, especially in concern to the trade war and pulling troops out of the Middle East,” Junior B said. “Gun rights are also important to me because I believe in the right to one’s self-defense; bogus restrictions should not be passed by legislators with no knowledge of firearms or how they function.”

Another reason that some WHS students have chosen to side with Republicans is that they don’t really trust Harris and her policies.

“I personally believe that the policies she is trying to advocate for just aren’t good,” Junior C, another junior who asked to remain anonymous, said. “Harris filed legal papers in the Supreme Court case supporting race as an admissions factor at the University of Texas, which I completely disagree with.”

With the two parties at odds, Biden ending the election with a win doesn’t really sit well with Trump’s Republicans. Many opinions are forming over whether or not some of the votes should be counted or not. Ultimately though, both sides can agree to some extent that neither candidate was especially exciting and that the future will hopefully bring something better.

“The two choices are absolutely horrendous, and I think that it would be awesome if people voted for a third party,” Junior C said.