Public health sophomore Armauni Nolan woke up from her Saturday afternoon nap to the best surprise ever, she said. She saw a breaking news notification, and immediately had to share it with her mother and sister. Joe Biden won.
“I was super excited,” Nolan said. “I ran around the house screaming.”
The Associated Press called the presidential election Saturday morning, naming Joe Biden the winner over President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States. He earned over 74 million votes, breaking the record for most votes gained in a presidential election, which was set by former President Barack Obama in 2008. At 77 years old, Biden will also become the oldest president in history.
The historic win makes Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the first female vice president. She will also be the first Black and Indian American vice president.
“It is the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for this vision,” Biden said in his Saturday victory speech.
The video of Harris sharing the news of their win with Biden became the fifth most liked tweet in history by Sunday.
Their win sparked impromptu celebrations across the country.
The atmosphere in Washington was full of joy, said political science senior Junior Ezeonu, who has been stationed there for an internship since August.
“I was at the White House cheering, I was at Lafayette Square dancing with everybody,” he said. “People are really happy; they were tired of Trump. They're really tired of Trump and his rhetoric and his behavior and his demeanor as president.”
On Saturday, Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” re-entered the top 40 on U.S. iTunes charts and “FDT” by YG and Nipsey Hussle reached No. 1.
Witnessing the aftermath of Trump’s defeat was something Ezeonu was proud to be part of.
“I'm here during the one of the most contested elections of our lifetime and consequential elections in my lifetime,” he said. “This really is a blessing that I can't really even articulate how I feel and put into words, I'm just happy to be here.”
Psychology sophomore Akeirria Garvin said she finally feels a sense of relief.
“I know that this is only the beginning of a long journey,” she said. “But I also felt relieved knowing that Trump is not in office for another term.”
Waiting for the results was tough because of numerous claims of voter fraud and Biden cheating, she said.
Trump has so far refused to concede the election after Biden secured the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. Instead, he has continued to tweet claims of voter fraud and claims that he won the election. Twitter has flagged many of his tweets, stating they are “disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”
THE OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE COUNTING ROOMS. I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES. BAD THINGS HAPPENED WHICH OUR OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE. NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WERE SENT TO PEOPLE WHO NEVER ASKED FOR THEM!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2020
“We believe these people are thieves. The big city machines are corrupt. This was a stolen election. Best pollster in Britain wrote this morning that this clearly was a stolen election, that it’s impossible to imagine that Biden outran Obama in some of these states.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2020
“It's been crazy. I've been talking to my parents about what was gonna happen if [Trump did] get reelected,” Garvin said. “I was really on edge, honestly, this whole time. I’ve just been like, wow, like, can we just get these votes counted. I got to know, I got to know.”
Nolan spent much of her time last week paying attention to the news as results slowly came in.
“I’ve been really antsy all week, I checked the Google page like I don’t even know how many times a day,” she said. “I’ve been picking up extra hours [at work], just so that I wouldn't be sitting on my phone all day just staring at it.”
When Ezeonu heard Trump's speech on election night, he said Trump made America look bad on the world stage once again.
“This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country,” Trump said in his speech. “We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation. This is a very big moment. This is a major fraud in our nation.”
Trump’s claims of mail and voter fraud have set a terrible precedent for future generations that may look up to him, Ezeonu said.
“His behavior is just atrocious. It's ridiculous,” he said. “I just hope that his behavior does not translate into future generations behaving the same way when they get into politics. People look up to the president, and if they feel like the president can do this, they'll do it too.”
Nolan said Biden’s Saturday night victory speech showed the character differences between him and Trump.
“Trump, you know, he's a billionaire. He's never really lost at life at all. He's never really felt a true setback, like he's never not got what he's wanted,” she said. “So of course, he's gonna throw a temper tantrum because it's something that he can't control. It’s something that his money can't buy, so like, he just can't handle that.”
Biden's speech projected something that made her feel the complete opposite, she said. He sounded confident; he knew he was going to win.
“We must restore the soul of America. Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses. It is time for our better angels to prevail,” Biden said in his speech. “Tonight, the whole world is watching America. I believe at our best America is a beacon for the globe. And we lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. I’ve always believed we can define America in one word: Possibilities.”
Even though America has a winner, Nolan isn’t relieved yet. People can celebrate for now, but she said she’s focused on making sure the Biden administration is held to their promises.
Seeing Biden win was not only exciting for American voters but for international students as well, said information systems junior Mitul Kachhla. He has been in favor of making the immigration process easier for many international students he knows.
He has lived in America for two years and said he has seen how tough it's been for international students. His family is happy to see there will be a change in politics.
As the former student body vice president, he spent a lot of time helping students register to vote, he said. Seeing so many people become so active in picking the country's future leader was exciting.
Harris’ win as vice president has caused a stir of conversation in India, he said. It’s nice that Biden chose her as his running mate because she has a lot of support from Kachhla’s friends from India.
The fact that a Black woman will become the next vice president is what Nolan said she was most excited about.
“In August of 1920, women just got the right to vote. And exactly 100 years later, we get our first woman VP, and she's a Black woman,” she said. “That's such a huge step for Black women and just women in general to me.”
Trump was preceded by the first Black president and will be succeeded by the first Black vice president, Ezeonu said. It’s remarkable.
“I'm really happy for that, I’m really happy,” he said. “Especially for people of color, they need somebody to look up to that looks like them. It gives them hope that they too one day can strive for greatness and achieve things that may seem unachievable for some of us.”
Gravin said America is like a pendulum, swinging in both directions of extremes. The country is now at an extreme where we have the first Black woman as vice president.
“It was such an amazing thing to see someone who looks like me, and other Black girls across the country that are going to see Kamala and see that she's like a beacon of hope,” she said. “There is somewhere that we can go, we can achieve these great things and we're not limited because we're Black women.”
Biden served as a Delaware senator before being elected vice president in 2008 alongside former President Barack Obama. Senator Kamala Harris will be the first woman, first Black woman, first South Asian American woman and first person of color to become vice president.
So much division has happened over the last four years, she said. It had only gotten worse after the COVID-19 pandemic started, followed by Black Lives Matter protests.
“I know that they're definitely not going to end the systemic racism that we've seen, but they're a step in the right direction. And now that they won, we definitely have to hold them accountable for everything,” she said. “We have to make sure that they're doing what they said they're going to do, to try to create change in America, because we’ve got a long way to go. But we've got to keep making strides in the right direction.”