“It shouldn't take an act of heroism to vote in the U.S. in 2020,” said Dr. Cynthia Boaz while discussing her takeaways from the 2020 presidential election.
More than 60 SSU students, faculty, and staff attended this event featuring Political Science Professor Dr. Boaz, her husband, Jason Liles, who is the Senior Advisor to Senator Mike McGuire and her nephew, Jackson Boaz, who, at just 16 years old, has worked on several political campaigns. The Center for Community Engagement collaborated with Associated Students and Student Affairs to host “The Day After,” a post-election debrief. CAPS was also available to those needing support. The purpose of this event was to explain the results of the election thus far, what we can expect going forward, and what lessons we can learn.
The presentation was broken up into three main areas; the presidential race, Sonoma County and California ballot measure results, and the Congress and Senate races. Dr. Boaz presented the first section in which she stated that she doesn't expect an official result of the presidential election until Friday, but “as of this moment Joe Biden is on track to win the presidency.” She then discussed several lessons that we can all learn as a result of the election. Liles took his time to quickly go through the results of the Sonoma County ballot measures and the California ballot measures. Liles noted that all of the Sonoma County ballot measures related to taxes passed but that was not the case for the statewide measures. Dr. Boaz’s nephew took the floor for the last section. He emphasized that it was “a devastating night for the Democrats on the congressional side.”
I found Dr. Boaz’s discussion on the lessons that we can learn to be the most interesting and impactful. Dr. Boaz identified five takeaways that she labeled; polls, racial divide, cult of personality, education, and the electoral college. “It is very clear we need to rethink our polling,” said Dr. Boaz. She explained that the polls predicted Biden would win by a much larger margin than we are seeing right now and that this shows our polling has been leading to flawed results. She then discussed how this election raises concerns about race in America. “White voters have almost re-elected Trump...Even with a Biden win, the election results are too close for comfort when it comes to the concern for how white supremacy has reared its head,” said Dr .Boaz. This led to her next point about how Trump’s following is strange in that, “It’s a cult of personality.” She discussed how Trump’s followers support him regardless of problematic policies and truly are attached to aspects of his personality, which is not common in politics. Dr. Boaz then went on to explain the role education plays in politics. She said that those with a college education are more likely to vote democratic. Her last key takeaway was about the problem of voter suppression. “We need to find a way to make performing this most basic civic duty easier for our citizens,” said Dr. Boaz.
I found Dr. Boaz’s discussion points to be particularly important because, although election day is over, there is so much we can learn from it. We need to pay attention to what the election tells us about society and focus on how we can address the issues our country faces going forward.