By Edan Held
2020 was a year to remember for many different reasons, American politics included. Throughout the year, major political headlines filled the news. So many, in fact, that a recap of the major political events of 2020 is in order.
Just three days into 2020, the US military assassinated Qasem Soleimani in a targeted drone strike outside of the Baghdad airport. Soleimani was an Iranian major general and leader of the Quds branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which specialized in unconventional warfare and military intelligence operations. He was designated as a terrorist by the United States and was considered the mastermind of the murders of Americans and their allies. He, along with four other Islamic IRGC generals, were killed. In the aftermath of this killing, Iran promised a “harsh” response, further increasing the tensions between Iran and US troops in the Middle East.
The end of January 2020 was marked by the first impeachment of Donald Trump. This impeachment came after a leaked phone call caught Trump trying to solicit information from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on opponent Joe Biden to help in the Presidential election. In doing so, Donald Trump was accused of withholding military aid to Ukraine hoping it would pressure them into giving him this information. Due to this, Donald Trump became only the third president to be impeached. During the Senate hearings, Republicans blocked subpoenas and withheld the addition of information. In the end, Donald Trump was acquitted and boasted of it proudly, while holding a newspaper at a White House meeting.
In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the American people and the world. In the US, schools were forced to shut down, some moving online, but some not having the capabilities to do so. Small businesses were hit hard, forcing many to shut down. A large portion of American workers were forced to work at home for a while. But the most devastating part of the COVID-19 pandemic is the lives lost -- in just one year, over 400,000 American passed away due to the virus: 400,000 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins. Suddenly, COVID-19 became a political nightmare with both sides of the political spectrum attacking each other over their handling of the pandemic; enough so, that it became one of the main focuses of the 2020 Presidential election.
On May 25, Memorial Day, of 2020, George Floyd’s life was taken as he begged, “I can’t breathe,” fueling the Black Lives Matter movement that took to the streets and sparked dialogue and peaceful protests, as well as looting, arson and violence, for months. Demonstrations in all 50 United States highlighted the need for change in the fight against what many consider systemic racism. More than 15 million people took part in the country's countless demonstrations, both peaceful and violent, showing widespread support for the movement.
All of these political headlines led up to the 2020 Presidential election, where Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made history. On the night of Tuesday, November 3rd, Election Day, key states such as Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia were too close to call, and the country waited in suspense to hear the results of the election. Donald Trump had been saying for months that if he lost, it would be due to wide-spread voter fraud, something analysts found no proof of after the election. Finally, on Saturday, November 7th, most news outlets called Joe Biden the predicted winner with 306 electoral votes to 232 electoral votes for Donald Trump, the same margins Trump won by in 2016. Trump then continued his fraudulent election claims, even after 61 of his 62 lawsuits were thrown out, most for a lack of standing, and after every state certified their electors. The 2020 election was historic in many ways. Joe Biden is now the oldest President to hold office, and Kamala Harris is now the first Black and South Asian woman to be Vice President. Kamala Harris is looked up to by so many people, who feel that if she can do it, then so can so many others!
2020 was one hectic year when it came to politics, with every day bringing a major new headline. Let’s hope for more positive news for 2021!