D Kevin McNeirEditor's ColumnOpinion

EDITOR’S COLUMN: What Will America Choose as its Defining Characteristic — Diversity or Divisiveness?

Despite efforts, both subtle and blatant, geared towards voter suppression, nearly 160 million Americans mailed in ballots, voted early, long lines notwithstanding, or went to their local polling centers on Election Day to cast their vote.

Obviously, the race that has garnered the most attention remains the still undecided and undeclared presidential showdown between incumbent Donald Trump (R) and the challenger, Joe Biden (D).

But their race wasn’t the only race that dominated the attention of political pundits, analysts and activists throughout this political season and on Election Day. Some waited for and predicted the outcomes for open seats in the state and local judicial systems while others evaluated who would pull ahead in states or municipalities where candidates slugged it out for city council positions, city mayor opportunities — even more prestigious offices including vacancies in several governors’ mansions and in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

America has long touted its forays into democracy as the great “experiment.” Now, in the midst of an unprecedented health pandemic and record-breaking voter turnout, we see evidence that the results of the aforementioned experiment may finally have come to pass.

In New York City, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who holds similar political views to those of two-time former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), retained her seat in the city’s 14th Congressional District.

In fact, all four members of “The Squad,” which includes Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ilhan Omar, Minn., Rashida Tlaib, Mich. and Ayanna Pressley, Mass., each won their bids for reelection.

Young and first-time voters showed that they care about the future of their country with historic early voter turnout numbers achieved throughout the U.S., remaining undaunted in spite of complex ID requirements and pandemic fears and anxiety.

As of Oct. 23, more than 5 million young people (18-29) had voted early or absentee in the 2020 elections, including nearly 3 million in key battleground states, eclipsing 2016 early voting totals based on data compiled by the CIRCLE research center at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Two candidates in the Big Apple became the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress with Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres both elected to Congress. Jones was elected in New York’s 15th Congressional District in the Bronx and Torres prevailed in New York’s 17th Congressional District upstate.

Another first: Madison Cawthorn (R), 26, became the youngest member of Congress in modern history, according to U.S. House records, defeating Democrat Moe Davis for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District — a seat once held by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Cawthorn, who posted a photo that led to considerable criticism of his visit to the retreat center that Hitler once used, remains a staunch conservative. He’s also partially paralyzed and uses a wheelchair after a car accident in 2014.

Finally, Sarah McBride won her State Senate race in Delaware — a landmark victory for transgender legislators. When she’s sworn in, McBride, 30, a Democrat, will become the nation’s highest-ranking transgender elected official.

It’s been a wild and wacky 2020 political season, replete with numerous “firsts.”

And there’s still plenty more to come.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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