With the fallout of the 2020 presidential election, both Cal State Fullerton’s Republicans club and College Democrats of CSUF are looking to the future of their respective parties, as discussions arise for what will come next for its current members and potential student joinees.
The election resulted in record voter turnout all across the country, leading to victories nationwide, as Republicans picked up several seats in the House and are in a close fight for control of the Senate. But despite strong performance nationwide by Republican candidates, President Donald Trump is projected to lose the presidency to former Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden promoted his candidacy as a time of healing for an increasingly divided country, but in the week and a half since Election Day, Trump has refused to accept the election results, questioning the integrity of the ballot count in several key swing states without any presented evidence.
With the divide of the U.S., student leaders are taking this moment to reflect on the outcome of this historic election and what comes next. Carolina Mendez, vice president for College Democrats of CSUF, said that Democrats should not relax after winning the presidency or they won’t see the “bold transformative change that our country and our people need.”
“We have all of this new energy that did arise from the election and so our focus now is going to be sustaining that interest and keeping students involved in the civic process,” Mendez said.
CSUF Republicans club president Kenneth Gonzalez said he was disappointed over the president’s loss, but pointed to major victories in the House and Senate that showed that the Republican Party was still maintaining a steady presence.
“Even with Trump losing, Republicans did extremely well all across the board even in state legislatures,” Gonzalez said. “Right now the future of our club is to pretty much just continue spreading the message and platform of the Republican Party. The Republican Party has definitely changed because of Trump and ironically Trump changed the party for the better.”
Gonzalez said the Republican club also noted how many minorities voted for Trump.
“He got historic amounts of minority votes, which is showing a shift and a realignment of political parties, I think that we’re seeing the beginning of that,” Gonzalez said.
While Trump did improve his standing with minority voters compared to the 2016 election, previous Republican president, George W. Bush did better in 2004.
While Biden is the projected winner of the presidential race, barring any challenges from the Trump administration, control of the Senate will come down to two separate runoff elections in Georgia.
“No candidates in the Georgia senate races received over 50% of the total vote count, so two critical races are now going to go to runoff,” Mendez said. ”There’s always so much focus on who is in control of the White House but because of the balance of powers, it takes the control of the Senate to pass major legislation.”
Mendez also said the club is working alongside fellow College Democrat chapters in Georgia via video messaging and are working with the New Georgia Project, a non-partisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians.
While celebrating this victory, the College Democrats club believes their work is not done and in fact is just beginning, noting that new students will be essential to the political club, Mendez said.
“We need to ensure that all the energy that arose for the election is translated into new efforts so we can’t be complacent with this one single victory. If we are then who is to say we won’t be in the same position in four years,” Mendez said. “Our work now lies in organizing the youth, helping them recognize their political power and moving forward together to advocate for as many victories as we can achieve. We need to sustain this new found energy and drive in our students.”
On the other side of the spectrum the Republican club argues this election will bring Republicans closer together and that the club will remain stronger than ever.
“Republicans are doing amazingly well and Trump helped every Republican. He wasn’t an anchor, he was a buoy and he lifted them all up. He’s made the party the party of the American worker,” Gonzalez said. “Going forward, even if he ends up losing, if these lawsuits and recounts don’t work in his favor, the Republican Party is stronger than ever and our club is going to help in making it even stronger.”