Elections are exhausting, and not just for the candidates. The 2020 election felt like endless months of phone call bombardment, attack ads and my eyes being completely glued to the TV. The whole spectacle suddenly ended in one week. The twists and turns have me exhausted, and returning to post-election life is more complicated than one might think.
After a long week of counting ballots, Joe Biden is the president-elect of the United States, having won the popular vote and the electoral college. The Vice-President elect, Kamala Harris, is the first woman and woman of color vice president.
Biden ran his campaign on the promise of damage control of the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledgment of systemic racism and guidance of the United States to a track that will mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce further harm. He also assured a continuation of some of the Obama administration’s policies, like the Affordable Care Act.
Tuesday night through Saturday morning were tense as margins in most battleground states were razor thin. The country felt like it was on pause, regular activities were lethargic with the news playing in the background. With all energy focused on this race, the release of tension and emotions has now left the country in a post-election crash.
First things first, focus on the senate races:
While the presidential race has been called, the country is still awaiting the senate races in Georgia and Alaska. These two races have the potential to flip the senate from Republican to Democrat. The Congress is technically the first branch of government, and Senate majority power is crucial in our political system, as the country saw with the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Neither of Georgia’s senate races achieved 50% of the vote, so two run-off races will be held concluding on Jan 5. This is a result of multiple parties running in Georgia, and a newly divided state. The suburbs of cities like Atlanta and Savannah are becoming bigger and more progressive with more immigrants and people of color. While much of the rural areas remain conservative, this is the first time that Georgia has been considered a true battleground state.
Be prepared for an angry, uncooperative Donald Trump:
Throughout this election season, Trump has said on multiple occasions that if he lost the vote, he would not concede power. This election season has been full of Trump constantly refusing to concede the presidency if he lost, and false claims of victory. Minutes before Biden was projected to win, Trump tweeted, “I won this election, by a lot!” He has yet to concede the election.
Be ready for this to be messy and unlike the aftermath of any other election.
After hours of having the news on the TV and constantly refreshing Twitter and the New York Times, take a break from the news. You do not need to know what is going on every minute. Take care of your mental health and the news will wait.
Too much news is an added stress. I suggest listening to just one news podcast a day, such as UPfirst from NPR. This could be one way to stay sane and informed.
Many students have been putting off many responsibilities in lieu of election work and coverage the past week. It can feel like all of your work is piling up, which has made this election season even more stressful. This is very normal to do, and while stressful by prioritizing you will get everything done.
Start with lists, and write the most important tasks at the top. Take one step at a time, do not multitask. It will get done, so just take your time.
Finally, celebrate and enjoy it being over. Take some time to yourself, or safely with friends and family. Throw a Zoom party with friends and talk about anything but politics.
Whether or not you are happy with the results, celebrate the end of the suspenseful wait, phone call bombarding and attack ads.
Fiona O'Brien is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.