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As I filled out my electronic ballot at around 9:57 a.m. at the local polling booth at Marilyn Avenue Elementary School in Livermore, I had no idea who was going to win the election and no idea if I would know by the night of Nov. 3. 

I was given a stylus and led to an electronic voting booth where I would fill out my ballot. The first thing to pop up was my voting options for President of the United States. I looked at my options, and I chuckled when I saw  “Kanye Omari West” for vice president. Ultimately, I chose Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris for president and vice president. 

For the rest of the week, I watched closely for any updates on the vote count in each state. I witnessed CNN analyst John King zoom in and out of his big touch screen as more votes came in. I watched pundits on ABC talk about how the election might not be decided until the weekend. For the first time in my life, I actually watched an entire segment on Fox News to see if their electoral map was any different from any of the other networks.

On Tuesday night, President Trump declared himself the winner of the election and demanded that the counting of mail-in ballots be stopped. He also stated that he and his lawyers would take cases of voter fraud to the Supreme Court to stop the counting of votes.

As the week went on the election took a turn in favor of now President-elect Joe Biden. Day by day, more mail-in votes were being counted in key swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. As President Trump’s lead began to shrink, He, along with his supporters, accused the election of being rigged. 

When I woke up Saturday morning, it was announced that Biden was projected as the  next president of the United States. I was ecstatic to see that the person I voted for won the election, but I was mostly just relieved that the longest week I have ever had to endure was finally over. 

My gut reaction to this election is obviously relief  that Trump is now out of office, but there is a part of me that is not very hopeful about the future. To be quite honest, I was expecting that there would be some sort of big political shift from the Trump era. I was expecting the Democrats to be able to win back the Senate and expand their lead in the House, but that didn’t happen. Republicans were able to win back some seats in the House, and there will be a runoff senate race in Georgia in January to determine who will have the advantage in the Senate going forward.

It was also disappointing to see that more minority groups  voted for Trump this time around compared to 2016. According to the New York Times exit polls, Trump gained a 3% increase in Latino voters, a 4% increase among African American voters and a 2% increase among Asian voters.

We saw these increases affect states like Florida where the Cuban vote helped secure Trump’s victory.. In Texas, Mexican American voters in counties along the border helped swing the state in Trump’s favor.

What this told me is that Trump’s attempt to label Biden a “socialist” indeed worked. He was able to convince racial minorities and immigrants that Biden was going to make the country a socialist state even though Biden couldn’t be any farther from a socialist. 

Trump also was able to convince prominent celebrities to join his side as a last ditch attempt to win votes in minority communities. He invited rappers like Lil Pump, Lil Wayne and Ice Cube to the White House in an attempt to appeal to African American voters. He was able to score an endorsement from UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal to try to appeal to Cuban voters in Florida. 

On the flip side, however, the increase of voter turnout among African Americans and young voters helped flip battleground states like Michigan and Georgia. The African American vote was over 80% for Biden in cities like Detroit, Atlanta and Philadelphia, which helped Biden win this election. 

As for me, voting for Joe Biden wasn’t on my agenda back in January. He honestly did not even crack my top five for Democratic nominees that I hoped would run against Trump, but I realized that it meant more to me and to countless others that Trump would be voted out of office this November. 

Even with the Trump campaign suing for election fraud in multiple states, it is most likely that Biden will be the next president. Biden and Harris will have to unite the country going forward as they govern a nation that turned out 70 million votes for Trump to be reelected. They will need to do that as well as push for their own agenda on hot button issues like the economy, climate change, abortion, handling of the pandemic and healthcare. 

The country will not yet know if Biden can accomplish the goals he set for the country or if he can undo some of the mistakes of the Trump administration, but getting Trump out of the White House was the first step. The people have spoken, and even if it did take six long and grueling days to project a winner, President elect Biden will have a lot on his plate going forward.

Nathan Canilao is the editor-in-chief of The Express. Follow him @nathancanilao.

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