Lehigh Valley residents celebrate President-elect Joe Biden's win in Allentown. Now, attention has turned to the Georgia runoff election, which will determine which party gains control of the Senate. (Jessica Mellon/B&W Staff)

Lehigh reacts to the 2020 presidential election


Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes gave former Vice President Joe Biden the 270 he needed to win to secure the presidency on Nov. 7. 

The election between President Donald Trump and President-Elect Biden took place Nov. 3. No winner was declared on election night, with several swing states needing to count votes. Due to COVID-19, there were a large number of mail-in ballots that delayed the electoral process. Pennsylvania received more than 2.5 million mail-in votes out of the state’s approximate nine million registered voters.

Brian Fife, professor and chair of Lehigh’s political science department, said all the results on election night were surprising. 

“The polls were clearly wrong,” Fife said. “They had Biden winning easily in the Electoral College somewhere in the 320 to 350 range.” 

He also said pre-election polls that had the Democrats picking up around half a dozen to a dozen seats to add to their majority in the House of Representatives and reclaiming the Senate with 52 to 54 seats were also wrong. 

As of Nov. 8, 411 of 435 House seats have been determined. Of these, 215 representatives are Democratic and 196 are Republican. Democrats currently have 235 seats in the U.S. House.

Ethan Moscot, ‘22, president of the Lehigh University College Republicans, said Republicans did well in the Senate and House races. 

He believes the increasing number of women being elected is noteworthy, despite it being overlooked during the presidential race coverage. 

Moscot does not believe polling will go away, but said at the very least it will be heavily scrutinized. 

“Everyone is caught in the moment,” Moscot said. “People are going to start questioning everything.” 

Sam Denison, ‘24, a member of the Lehigh University College Democrats, was shocked by the strong Republican performance in the House and Senate races. 

Denison was also surprised that Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) was down initially because many pre-election polls had her winning easily. He did not expect the race to be as competitive as it was. 

Wild won her House re-election bid on Friday against Republican challenger Lisa Scheller. 

“Sometimes we turn out in traditional ways, and sometimes we do not,” Fife said. “Polls are informative but clearly not definitive in all cases.” 

Denison said the polls seemed correct regarding states like Florida and Ohio for the presidential race but were incorrect for multiple congressional races across the country. 

Denison believes polling should be trusted and that inaccuracy could be a result of under-representation. 

While Biden has won the election based on media projections, no state has certified their results yet. Trump has promised a series of legal challenges and has at this point offered no indication of conceding. 

Fife said during election disputes, it helps to be the candidate who is leading. He believes judges may feel uncomfortable overturning the results of a popular election. 

“We know in 2000, it took 34 days to determine the winner,” Fife said. “I would expect litigation in one or more of the states (in this election).” 

The Trump campaign has already started such litigation, filing multiple lawsuits across various battleground states. 

“We’re just going to have to wait until the litigation dies down and all the ballots come in,” Moscot said. “It will be a bitter fight to the end.” 

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