Biden's mandate, the GA run-offs, the youth vote and more

This essay was originally published on Monday, November 9th.

Biden’s mandate– When all is said and done, President-Elect Biden will likely have won this historic race by 5 points, and hit at least 306 Electoral College votes, the same amount Donald Trump has been claiming is landslide territory these past 4 years.  It was a hard fought and bruising campaign, and we lift our hats this morning to the entire Biden-Harris campaign, particularly its manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon. 

It is great to see the Biden-Harris transition getting off to such a sure-footed start this morning. It is a sign of just how experienced this team is going to be.  In a statement this morning, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris laid out their four initial priorities:  “Joe Biden and I are ready to get COVID-19 under control. We’re ready to rebuild our economy. We’re ready to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. We’re ready to act to address systemic racism. And we’re ready to fight for you.”  A new day indeed. 

In a new Letras Libres magazine article (in English and Spanish), Simon offers his thoughts on what we might see from the new Administration.  Biden’s convincing win gives him a clear mandate to move on his ambitious agenda, as does the remarkable fact that in all but one national election over the past 28 years Democrats have won more votes than the Republicans. This success is a reminder that the Democratic Party has been perhaps the most successful center-left political party in the developed world in recent decades – something that will become even more important as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris go back out and try to rebuild our frayed alliances and improve our degraded standing in the world. 

And finally, NDN wants to acknowledge what a miracle this election was.  The challenges election administrators and volunteers faced across the country were extraordinary.  And yet it has all come off without major incident, in every state, early vote/day of vote/vote by mail, and with record numbers voting.  That we were able to pull off this election despite the challenges was in of itself an affirmation of the gritty, spirited, all in this together America we know is still there, and one we hope will emerge again in the coming months.  

The GA run-offs– Our advice to anyone looking at these Georgia races is to practice a bit of humility.  We really have no idea what is going to happen.  Whether Rs will show up without Trump on the ballot (they didn’t in 2017-2018-2019); what the Trump loss will do to GOP turnout; can Democrats replicate election day turnout in run-offs, something they have struggled to do; what it means for the Democratic political leadership in GA now that they’ve turned the state purple; what Biden and Harris campaigning will do, etc.  

These two races are about as high stakes as it gets, and our expectation that like 2020 itself they will both go down to the wire.  

The youth vote comes through for Democrats– We’ve been writing quite a bit of late about the youth vote and early data suggests that young people (18-29) voted at some of the highest levels we’ve seen in recent decades, and according to the early Exit Polls went for Biden 62-35 (+27), up from 55-36 (+19) for Clinton four years ago.  18-24 year olds went 67-29 (+38), up from 56-34% (+22) four years ago. 

For more on the youth vote in the 2020 election check out the remarkably in-depth early analysis from CIRCLE at Tisch College, Tufts University.  

We will be offering a more in-depth look at this historic election in the coming weeks – stay tuned.