Protests Arise Amidst the 2020 Election


Allison Korn

People showed their support for Joe Biden in Harvard Square.

Gaby Traynor, Contributing Writer

Amidst the uncertainty surrounding the election day results, distressed people from various American cities have banded together with a cause. November 3rd’s presidential election results were not decided for several days due to the unprecedented turnout and a massive number of mail-in ballots that were cast this year. The delayed results made no difference to Teddy Holleran ’23, as he said, “Everyone’s vote, no matter what form it is in, is a fair vote.”

Donald Trump declared on Wednesday morning that he had won the election “by a lot,” saying that fraud took part in the vote-counting and demanding that ballots are no longer counted. It is not a shock to most that Trump’s statements come out after Joe Biden appeared as a threat to Trump’s plans for reelection. While some Americans have responded to Trump’s voter fraud claims positively, others have come together, protesting to “count every vote.” In response to Trump’s demands, CRLS teacher Benji Cohen stated, “His call—and his most ardent supporters’ willingness—to demand two diametrically opposed actions highlights that this was never actually about votes. This was a cynical political tactic aimed to delegitimize the democratic process, cast doubt on the election, and kneecap President-Elect Joe Biden even before he assumes office.”

This whole meritless theory of ‘voter fraud’ was just Trump’s last attempt to try and win the election, and it completely goes against the ‘democracy’ America is supposed to live by.

— Stella Jarvis '21

In Phoenix, around 150 Trump supporters, some even carrying weapons, crowded around the county’s recorder office where votes were being counted on November 5th. Some participants in these protests chanted “Down With Fox,” as Fox was one of the first news outlets to announce Biden’s winning states, and others chanted “Stop the Steal,” clearly showing where their loyalty stands in this election. Many appeared to blindly agree with Trump, such as an attendee of the protest, who stated, “The only way Biden can win Arizona is through fraud.”  In reaction to these statements, Stella Jarvis ’21 reflected how, “This whole meritless theory of ‘voter fraud’ was just Trump’s last attempt to try and win the election, and it completely goes against the ‘democracy’ America is supposed to live by.”

Arizona in particular was one of the states that people were watching anxiously since it is a battleground state and a state that would play a major role in deciding the outcome of the election. Adrian Fontes, the official in charge of the election operations in the Arizona county of Maricopa, has been accused of failing to correctly count ballots and jeopardizing Trump’s chances of winning. While there has been no source of evidence to base this on, it has encouraged pro-Trump Arizonians to show their alliance to Trump by threatening the vote-counting center. A similar show of support for Trump’s baseless claims happened in Detroit, Michigan, where another group of Trump supporters held signs saying “stop the count” outside a ballot-counting center. This came after Trump’s campaign filed lawsuits against the vote-counting process in Michigan.

On the other side, those in disagreement with Trump have started to block off roads and show their message with signs and physical displays across the country. A movement known as “Refuse Fascism,” in place to show how “the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet,” was the organization behind many of these protests. Cities including Minneapolis, New York City, and Portland have shown their outrage with Trump’s destruction of democracy. Lucy Brubaker ’21 commented on how “stopping the count would completely contradict the ideals of our democracy. There is already so much voter suppression on top of the limitations of voting during the pandemic.”

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, anti-Trump protesters gathered and blocked off Interstate 94 which caused the road to be closed by local police. The police who arrived then stopped protesters from leaving which resulted in some arrests to be made due to the freeway being “not a place to do that.” In New York City, people have crowded the streets showing off their signs of outrage to Trump. While these protests in Manhattan were peaceful, it provoked others with opposing views to start a disturbance which resulted in streets being closed. In Portland, protesters shared their voices and opinion by congregating by the waterfront. Here, they gathered around speakers who expressed their discontent with President Trump’s actions. This protest later veered towards downtown Portland where things took a more chaotic turn, with people smashing windows, causing police to use force. Other cities not only held protests in response to Trump, but also continued ongoing racial justice protests in cities including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago.