American Durham Uni students react to the US Presidential election result

‘It’s Joe Time’

Last week, Joe Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States, following a record voter turnout of 66.9 per cent.

The Democrat will take over the White House in January of next year with Kamala Harris as the first female and woman of colour to take the title of Vice-President, after receiving almost 75 million votes.

We asked American students at Durham University what they thought about this result, following four years of Trump…


Did you vote in the US election?

Yes, I did my absentee ballot. I voted Democrat the whole way.

Are you happy about the results?

I am so so super happy about it! All my friends in my hometown and especially NYC are celebrating over the weekend. It has totally changed the sentiment in the country and it is felt in such a positive way.

What was Trump’s presidency like?

The last presidency was a rollercoaster – mainly in the sense that it was ridden with childish behaviour, irrational language and politically incorrect tweets. The sense of divide that was felt in America has never been so stark, not only between parties, but between neighbours, races, genders and cultures. America is meant to be this beautiful melting-pot, but instead it felt dominated by scary white supremacists.

What do you look forward to in Biden’s presidency?

What I am most excited about is the fact that Kamala is America’s first female, first black, first Asian-American Vice President. It’s about time!

Do you feel that American politics is misrepresented on an international scale?

I generally feel that American politics is mostly tackled in international news as a reality show, which is solely due to Trump’s informality. So I wouldn’t really say it is “misrepresented”, but rather that’s how the White House has presented itself to the rest of the world.


Did you vote in the US election?

I was an international postal voter and I voted for Joe Biden (Democrats).

How do you feel about the results?

I am unsure about how the results make me feel. On one hand, I have helped prevent Trump’s presidential re-election, but on the other hand, I have replaced Trump with a man who I genuinely have very little confidence in. Should I be voting for one candidate purely to oust another? The answer is probably not.

The results have also given me an element of personal relief. A lot of my extended family back in America are avid Trump supporters and it’s well known that my immediate family in the UK are not. The topic of Trump has been the source of many family arguments. I’m hoping now that Trump is gone, my entire family can finally leave politics behind and get on with being a family.

What do you think this election had such a big turnout?

I would pin the high voting turnout down to the large amount of social debate during Trump’s presidency. Social movements like Black Lives Matter and social struggles under the current pandemic have undoubtedly made the average American more politically engaged, so I think it is completely understandable why so many Americans decided to vote in this election.

What do you look forward to in Biden’s presidency?

I think the main thing I’m looking forward to is his vow to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. It is such a relief to see America finally rejoining the global efforts to halt climate change.

As a US citizen in the UK, how connected did you feel to the election process?

I felt extremely connected with the election process. It was an important topic of conversation in my family and there was a genuine interest in the election amongst my British friends. I remember a couple of them even asked if we could watch the presidential debates together. Unfortunately, I don’t think there would be the same interest in UK elections amongst my American friends.

Do you feel that American politics is misrepresented on an international scale?

I have always felt that there is an international agenda to expose American politicians and voters as unintelligent. The videos you see of American politics on your TV or social media such as Sacha Baron Cohen’s TV series are so outrageous and therefore make great entertainment. I would urge people internationally to take these videos with a pinch of salt.


Did you vote in the US elections?

I actually voted by email! I was emailed the ballot which I filled in, scanned it and sent back. In my state you’re able to track your ballot, so I got to see that it had been counted which was reassuring.

Why do you think there was such a big voter turnout?

Everyone was waiting for this election for the last four years and so I think that everyone was really excited to have the chance to vote and make a change.

Were you surprised at Trump’s claims of election fraud?

It was hard to watch, honestly, but not surprising since he’d been saying that there was going to be election fraud for months. I’m really glad that social media has been censoring all the false information and that news channels haven’t been covering much of what he’s been saying. There are still 70 million Trump supporters that are going to believe anything he says though, so the next couple months will be very tense.

What about his Twitter account?

It’s just funny to go on his account and see everything he censored at this point.  You can’t take it too seriously or it would be too upsetting. 


Did you vote in the US elections?

I indeed voted! Even if my state, Connecticut, was almost 100 per cent going to fall for Biden, I felt it was at least some part my civic duty to to fill in an absentee ballot, add an international stamp and send it right back.

Are you happy with the results?

I personally am very happy with the results, although I was checking my phone every 15 minutes to see if the vote tallies had been updated, which is not ideal when trying to study for a Durham degree!

Why do you think so many people voted even before election day?

Frankly, I believe that the massive turnout this year is due to how divisive Trump as a president has become, so people were very eager to vote as quickly as possible –  Trump has very much deepened the divide between his supporters and those against him.

As shown by his turnout being the second highest in American history, only behind Biden, Trump has continued to enjoy the admiration and support of just under half the country.  Meanwhile Biden’s vote turned into a vote against Trump more than a vote for Biden- so much so that it’s no mistake that the Biden campaign remained quiet on many of its policy points.

What do you expect to see in Biden’s presidency?

I think that the biggest question going into the Biden presidency is over his ability to follow through with his campaign promise of uniting the country. Whether the Republican party will stay as that of the Trump’s or whether it will begin shifting more centrist is also in question.

Do you feel that the UK has a distorted view of American politics?

I think that the English view on American politics is very simplified, and in some ways sanitized- there are many ins and outs of the parliament laws, etiquettes and loopholes involved in US politics that don’t make it across the pond.


As a non-American citizen living in the US, how do you feel about the elections results?

I am not an US citizen, but I’ve lived in California for over a year. It was election anxiety initially, but as the mail ballots started getting counted, it was a huge sigh of relief. It’s historic, moving, and emotional to be experiencing the presidential win in the US right now as a person of colour. Seeing the VP elect on TV who looks like you, is truly moving for people of colour and girls everywhere right now.

How were you affected by the actions of the last President?

To see a President lie on television, pass racist comments and not enforce any legal lockdown rules for the pandemic was so frustrating.

It also affected us deeply as people of colour watching police brutality during the Black Lives Matter movement. That was a hard time to be in the US amongst everything that was going on.

What change do you hope to see now that Biden is elected President?

I hope to see the US move towards a more progressive climate change action plan, anti-racist society, and take more steps to ensure the pandemic is under control.

Did you feel disconnected from the election process because you could not vote?

I actually felt so connected to the process because as immigrants and people of colour in this country, to see more young people, Asians, Latinos and black people vote was historic. Their votes were the deciding factor in the election, and it’s incredible to see their power being celebrated today.


Did you vote in the US election?

I voted by post for Biden. I’m so relieved by the result!

What do Americans really think of Trump?

I haven’t met many Americans with a neutral opinion about Trump, they either love him or hate him! I know people back home who have fallen out over supporting or not supporting Trump. Leading up to the election, I didn’t even feel like I was deciding Democrat or Republican, it felt more like deciding Trump or anti-Trump.

What do you look forward to in the next four years?

I guess I just look forward to not being the joke of the world as Biden vows to undo a lot of Trump’s policies. I feel like Trump has given us a bad and chaotic reputation that doesn’t hold true in all parts of the country.

As a US citizen in the UK, how connected did you feel to the election process?

Being in the UK leading up to the election made me feel a bit disconnected from the campaigning going on at home. People would make such a joke of American politics all the time! Everything hit me election night though, I was really stressy and stayed up all night watching. I’m just glad it’s over now!