For Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, their win to the White House is marked with meaningful record-breaking milestones.
Forty-eight years ago, Joe Biden was sworn into the U.S. Senate. Then, he was the sixth youngest U.S. senator in history as he now becomes the oldest President-elect. One hundred years ago, American women were given the right to vote, as Vice-President elect Kamala Harris becomes the first female to hold the second highest seat in the office. As a team, their road ahead will be met with tough challenges that even recent presidents have yet to conquer: a global pandemic, a distressed economy, social unrest and climate change. But it would be inequitable to permit their victory surpass without an acknowledgement of their history-making achievements.
Most votes received by a presidential candidate.
Despite that votes were still being counted, former Vice President Joe Biden already broke the record by garnering more than 70+ million votes at 1:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, November 4. The record was previously held by President Barack Obama who received 69,498,516 votes in 2008 when he defeated Republican Senator from Arizona, John McCain.
Age isn’t just a number.
By winning the 2020 Presidential Election, Biden becomes the oldest president in American history. Born during World War II, the former Vice President will celebrate his 78th birthday on November 20. Previously, the oldest president in American history was Ronald Reagan, who was 73 years old when he was inaugurated into office.
Defeating an incumbent candidate.
Throughout U.S. history, only ten incumbent presidents have won their party’s nomination but did not win reelection. Biden joins a shortlist of American Presidents who have defeated incumbent presidential candidates. The United States’ first vice president and second president, John Adams, a Federalist, was the first to fail a reelection in 1800. He was defeated by Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican.
Harris: many firsts.
The Senator from California, Kamala Harris, officially becomes the first woman, the first Black person and the first South Asian American person to be the vice president of the United States. “It really does help to have examples of what can be done and role models, things you can point to, to make it clear that it’s not impossible — and that, in fact, it’s quite probable that you can do these things and will do those things,” Harris recently told Padma Lakshmi in an interview.
The Blue Wall.
One crucial breakthrough on the road to their victory was rebuilding the “Blue Wall,” referring to Midwestern industrial states, including: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The self-described “scrappy kid from Scranton” not only tackled the blue wall as his most vigorous road to presidency but Biden also wanted to reconstruct his party’s relationship with the working and middle-class voters. During the 2016 election, Trump narrowly won all three states against Hillary Clinton.
Another significant breakthrough for a Biden-Harris victory is the adamant support from Black voters, much of it is due to Stacey Abrams’ tireless efforts to help register approximately 800,000 new voters and pushed forward “exact match” regulations to disqualify ballots with errors. By carrying the torch of fellow Georgian Black movement leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Representative John Lewis, Abrams – former minority leader of the Georgia House – was heavily involved in important voting rights groups, including: ProGeorgia, the New Georgia Project and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.
Maybe the lesson here is that when democracy is tarnished or abhorred, it takes earnest effort to earn it back. The Biden-Harris election today is a sweet taste of a reverberated democracy, one for the history books.