2020 Election- More than a Presidential Election: Historic Wins for LGBTQ, People of Color, Voter Turnout, and more

With Joe Biden’s projected win after surpassing 270 electoral votes, the 2020 U.S. Election reached historic wins as it elects the oldest president in US history, along with the first female vice president of color. Despite these monumental victories, the 2020 Election was a huge win in regards to the LGBTQ community, voter turnout, People of Color, animals in the White House, and more. Read on to learn more about how the results of this election are monumental for the history of this country.

2020+Election-+More+than+a+Presidential+Election%3A+Historic+Wins+for+LGBTQ%2C+People+of+Color%2C+Voter+Turnout%2C+and+more

Pinterest

Nick Sanchez-Zarkos, Writer

Votes*

In regards to voter turnout, the 2020 election surpassed the previous record set by the 2018 Midterm Elections with the highest turnout since 1908. Not only did President-Elect Joe Biden receive the most votes of any U.S. President, but President Trump received the most votes of any losing candidate. Trump also made history when he became the only U.S. President to lose the popular vote, serve only one term, and be impeached.

*Vote data is as of 11/11 and was taken from the US Elections Project

LGBTQ+ Community

Out of all minority groups to benefit from the 2020 Election, the LGBTQ community saw the most success in nationwide races in what many are calling a “Rainbow Wave”. This year saw the highest number in American history of LGBTQ people winning races both locally and nationally. In Congressional races alone, over 25 openly LGBTQ+ individuals won seats, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. Among the countless wins for the LGBTQ community this election, many were firsts of their kind. 

  • Sarah McBride became the first transgender state senator of the United States. She was elected into the Delaware Senate and had political endorsements from many Democrats and Organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in which she is currently the National Press Secretary.
  • Mauree Turner became the first publicly non-binary state legislator in U.S. history and the first Muslim lawmaker in Oklahoma.
  • Stephanie Byers became the first Native transgender person to be elected into the United States legislature, and the first transgender official to be elected in the state of Kansas. 
  • Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones became the first openly gay black men elected into the United States Congress. Torres will also be the first Afro Latino individual to be elected into Congress. 
  • Other historic LGBTQ wins include Adrian Tam in Hawaii (who soundly defeated a GOP candidate with ties to white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups), Kim Jackson of Georgia, Jabari Brisport of New York, Shevrin Jones of Florida, and Torrey Harris and Eddie Mannis of Tennessee.

Muslim Americans

Muslim Americans also saw impressive representation in the 2020 Election. Many became historic firsts in their states, and countless others won reelection or added to the Muslim American representation across Congress and state legislatures.

  • Mauree Turner was elected into the Oklahoma House of Representatives, becoming the first openly non-binary and Muslim state lawmaker of the United States.
  • Madinah Wilson was elected as Delaware’s first Muslim legislator. She won over 70% of the vote.
  • Christopher Benjamin became the first Muslim American elected to a statewide office in the state of Florida.
  • Nida Allam will be the first Muslim woman to be elected to her county commission in North Carolina
  • Samba Baldeh will be the first Muslim elected into the state of Wisconsin’s legislature.

States

Ohio, for the first time since 1972, did not pick the president of the United States based on who won the state.

New Mexico became the first state to elect three women of color into the House, making all of the state’s total representatives women of color. Deb Haaland from the Pueblo of Laguna is serving as a Democrat. Yvette Herrell of the Cherokee Nation will be representing a Republican district of the state. Teresa Leger Fernandez will be serving as a Democrat.

Oregon became the first state to decriminalize drug possession. This includes heroin and cocaine, meaning that people found in possession of these drugs in ‘small amounts’ will not receive jail or probation time. However, those found with these substances will have the ability to choose between a fine or a “health assessment” according to the state of Oregon. Money previously spent on the imprisonment of these individuals will be spent towards ending drug addictions.

Colorado rejected an abortion ban and approved one of the first paid family leave programs. 

Florida approved a 15 dollar minimum wage. While it is not the first state to do so, this is a big step towards a higher federal minimum wage.

California approved a ballot allowing people currently on parole to vote, a large victory for citizens with small criminal charges who have lost the ability to vote due to previous incarceration or parole.

 

Native Americans/Hawaiians

This year’s election saw a record number of Native American lawmakers running for Congress. Four Native American representatives won reelections in their home states, but two newcomers will be joining them in the 117th Congress.

  • Tom Cole, a Chickasaw representative of Oklahoma won his reelection.
  • Deb Haaland a Laguna woman in New Mexico won reelection for her district.
  • Sharice Davids representing Ho-Chunk was reelected in Kansas.
  • Markwayne Mullin, who is Cherokee, won his reelection in Oklahoma.
  • Yvette Herrell will be representing the Cherokee Nation in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.
  • Kaiaki’i Kahele (succeeding Representative Tulsi Gabbard) will become the second native Hawaiian elected to Congress.

 

Other Historic Firsts in the 2020 Election

  • Madison Cawthorn (R) will become the youngest member of Congress in modern history. Cawthorn is currently 25.
  • Biden’s dog Major will be the first service/shelter dog to ever live in the White House.

 

All in all, this election will without a doubt go down as one of the most important elections in modern-day history, but the election can not be defined by the presidential race alone. With monumental firsts in numerous minority communities and likely the most diverse Congress in American history, this election will have a longstanding impact on our country’s history and progress.