The Greatest Sign of Political Polarization – High Voter Turnout

The 2020 Presidential Election has revealed many things about our country. One of the greatest messages it has sent is how strongly the American people feel about politics. In 2020, around 150 million votes were cast in the presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Just four years ago, in 2016, that number was only 136 million. That is an increase of a little more than 9%. Voting has always been a measure of the stability of our country and of the political divide. In times when the country was stable and the parties getting along for the most part, the voting numbers decreased. Based on this, it can be said that 2020 has been one of the most politically divided years on record. The percentage of eligible voters who voted this year was around 66% based on the current figures. This is a number not reached since the 1910s and a brief period during the Vietnam War.


We may not currently be in a conventional war. But we are in the midst of an unconventional war – not against a nation, but against a virus. While the Coronavirus certainly did not create political divide in America, it has gone far to highlight it. Take a moment to consider how separated the two major political parties in this country are. Massive stereotypes have been levied by members of one party towards the other and vice versa, only elevating the already unstable divide between Democrats and Republicans. Regardless of political views, most Americans are willing to demonize the other party. This election has shown that, unfortunately, that is not changing.


Yet, many positives can still be derived from this election. Disregarding political parties, almost all would agree that high voter turnout is a good sign for the health of American politics. For, when a country has a low voter turnout, it indicates a lack of interest and/or faith in the system. And because of that, I am hopeful. However, it is also important to understand, as I highlighted earlier, that high voter turnout does not always indicate unity. In this case, it indicates deep political divisions. While the country is certainly not in a unified state today, I believe that with time we will come together. The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg once referenced a great theory of American politics. It describes our system as a pendulum, and that once the pendulum swings in one direction, that it will swing to the other, doing this for all of eternity. I consider it to be one of the most accurate ways to describe our politics. In the 2020 presidential election, it has once again proven itself to be accurate. Our country has swung the pendulum from the right to the left. It remains to be seen whether these swings will become smaller in the future, but I believe that there is hope yet for our country.


Overall, the message that should be taken from this election, regardless of the party you support, should be that there is hope for our country’s political and ideological divisions. For it is only through trying to work together can we achieve a more perfect union.