2020 Election Analysis
*** Updated December 11, 2020 at 2:00PM (EST) ***
NOVEMBER 2020 ELECTION – IMPACT ON THE DANCE COMMUNITY – QUICK LINKS
The November 3 election – like all elections at all levels of government – is consequential for the dance community as well as for the arts and nonprofit sectors as whole. It is important for all American citizens to do their civil responsibility every election cycle to register to vote and to vote. Moreover, it is important for artists and arts supporters to support candidates at all levels of government who support the arts and culture in their communities and vote for issues they are interested in that will impact their businesses, nonprofit organizations, states, local communities, and families.
This year’s election produced a record-level turnout nationally. Because of the current pandemic, most states increased their capacity for mail-in or absentee voting by their residents or implemented new procedures for mail-in or absentee voting to take place by their residents. Additionally, most states established early in-person voting to limit the amount of their residents voting on election day.
NOVEMBER 2020 ELECTION OUTCOME
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been declared President-Elect and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris has been declared Vice President-Elect by winning the popular vote and the Electoral College (306 to 232 electoral votes) against incumbent President Donald Trump. The winner needed 270 out of 538 total electoral votes to win the Presidency. The projected outcome was based on five battleground states – Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. All states and the District of Columbia have certified their election results. Each state’s electors (nominated by local and state party conventions) for the Electoral College will meet on December 14 at their repective state capitals across the country to formally cast votes for President and Vice President. The U.S. Congress is scheduled to convene on January 6, 2021 to count the electoral votes received from the states and certify the winner of the election.
The U.S. Senate consists of 100 members. U.S. Senators serve six-year terms and every two years, one-third of the chamber is up for election. During this year’s election, 35 seats are contested. Prior to this year’s election, the Republican party held a 53-47 majority of the chamber (51 seats needed for majority).
The Republican party has 48 seats and the Democratic party has 50 seats. Two U.S. Senate races in Georgia remained uncalled. The Democratic party gained a Senate seat in Colorado and the Republican party gained a Senate seat in Alabama.
The 2 U.S. Senate races for Georgia will be decided in a runoff election on January 5, 2021, which will determine which political party controls the chamber for the two-year session of the 117th Congress (convening January 3, 2021 and adjourning January 3, 2023). Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (NY) will maintain their leadership roles regardless of which political party controls the chamber.
The U.S. House of Representatives consists of 435 members. U.S. Representatives serve two-year terms and every two years, the entire chamber is up for election. Prior to this year’s election, the Democratic party held a 232-197 majority of the chamber (218 seats needed for majority) with the Libertarian party holding a seat. There were also 5 seat vacancies prior to this year’s election.
Based on several various news organizations, as of 2:00PM (EST) December 11, several races remain uncalled; however, it is expected that the Democratic party will retain a slimmer majority of the chamber compared to pre-election. Current U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) is expected to retain her leadership role for the next session of Congress. U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) is expected to retain his role as leader of the House Republicans.
State and local elections are as important as federal elections to ensure continued support for arts and culture across the country. It is important for artists and arts supporters to be as engaged at the state and local levels as at the federal level in terms of voting and advocacy on important issues impacting the arts community.
According to the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL), there were 5,786 state legislative seats up across the country in 44 states, representing 80 percent of the nation’s 7,383 seats and including 86 of the nation’s 99 legislative chambers. Heading into this year’s election, the Republican party controlled 3,820 state legislative seats (52 percent) compared to 3,436 seats (47 percent) by the Democratic party with 82 seats controlled by other political parties or independents. Forty-five seats were vacant pre-election. The Republican party controlled 59 of the nation’s 99 legislative chambers (60 percent) compared to 39 chambers (40 percent) by the Democratic party. The Republican party has held a majority of the state legislative chambers across the country since the 2010 election cycle. Moreover, the Republican party controlled the governorship and state legislature (both chambers) in 21 states compared to 15 by the Democratic party. In 13 states, control of the governorship and state legislature was split between the two major political parties. There were no state legislative races in four states – LA, MS, NJ, and VA – which holds elections in odd-numbered years.
As of November 11, according to the NCSL, not much has changed concerning party control of the state legislatures. So far, the Democratic party has lost control of the New Hampshire House and Senate to the Republican party.
Eleven governorships – DE, IN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH, UT, VT, WA, WV – were up during this year’s election. As a result of this year’s election, all incumbents are expected to win another term except for Montana, which was an open seat with the Republican party candidate expected to win.