ELECTION 2020 EXTRA The Independent Student Newspaper
B r a n d e is U n i v e r sit y S i n c e 1 9 4 9
Biden leading Volume LXXIII, Number 9
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
■ The Justice will continue
to update election results throughout the week.
By LEEZA BARSTEIN and JEN CRYSTAL JUSTICE EDITORS
Election statistics in this article were taken from the New York Times Presidential Election Results. Americans have gone to bed without knowing the results of this election that has been coined the election of the century. Although this was expected prior to Election Day, as absentee ballots always take more time to be counted and often lead to results being released after election night, the COVID-19 pandemic has shepherded voters away from the polling stations to the comforting arms of absentee ballots at unprecedented rates. This, according to National Public Radio, has resulted in more of these ballots cast, which is expected to further delay results of the 2020 presidential election. Although the big question of who the next president of the United States will be is left unanswered for now, it was nevertheless an eventful night. This election, regardless of the results, is still set to be a record-breaking one. “A record-shattering 100 million people have already voted ahead of Election Day, meaning the 2020 presidential election pitting Joe Biden against Donald Trump will be the first in
See BIDEN, 2 ☛
Trump 213 electors
Illustration by NOAH ZEITLIN/the Justice
RESULTS TBD: Results for the 2020 presidential election will continue to roll in throughout the week.
Markey wins Senate position ■ Ed Markey won the seat
against Kevin O'Connor with 66.4% of the vote. By MAX FEIGELSON JUSTICE STAFF WRITER
Massachusetts is historically a strong left-leaning state, so many experts projected a Democratic win in response to the Senate election results. As of 12:13 a.m., incumbent Democrat Ed Markey won the Massachusetts Senate seat with 66.4% of the vote, according to the Associated Press. The Senate general election pinned Markey against Republican candidate Kevin O’Connor, who ran with a message of bipartisan cooperation and moderate conservatism. Despite O’Connor’s efforts, this race was not close, and O'Connor secured only 33.6% of the vote. However, the primary race between Markey and challenger Rep. Joseph Kennedy III was a nail-biter. By the time all the votes were counted, Markey had won the primary by just under 150,000 votes.
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Result to second Massachusetts ballot question still in counting ■ Mass. voters had two
Kennedy, 39, used his comparatively young age to create an image of himself as the future of the Democratic party in Massachusetts. Initially, experts expected that Kennedy’s age would resonate more with young voters, but these expectations flipped because of Markey’s consistently progressive policy. A large part of Markey’s success can be attributed to his strong support from young voters, who overwhelmingly support the progressive policies he has pushed for. Markey has been known for his progressive policies — namely, he coauthored the Green New Deal — thus, when he garnered an endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, his popularity with progressive voters soared and his chances for success were all but iminent. Young volunteers for the Markey campaign likely contributed to his victory and were also handily involved in his campaigning efforts. Students for Markey is a “collective of progressive student activists supporting @EdMarkey’s reelection, [because] he leads on the issues,” according to the group’s Twitter bio.
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See SENATE, 2 ☛
questions on their ballots regarding motor vehicles and rank choice voting. By Jocelyn Gould JUSTICE SENIOR EDITOR
In addition to casting votes for candidates for a variety of national, state and local elected offices, Massachusetts voters also had the opportunity on Tuesday to decide the fate of two statewide ballot questions. The first question concerns access to mechanical data in motor vehicles, and the second would establish ranked choice voting. Massachusetts Question 1 passed with 75% voting yes. Votes on Question 2 are still being counted, but supporters of the initiative conceded early Wednesday morning, according to WGBH. Both ballot questions were proposed by initiative petition, a process by which residents can propose statewide laws. In Massachusetts, the process begins when a group gathers the necessary signatures and proposes the initiative, which then goes to the state legis-
OPINIONS BY THE NUMBERS
Illustration by NOAH ZEITLIN/the Justice
MASSACHUSETTS BALLOT: Voters could answer two additional questions the ballot. lature, according to Ballotpedia. If the state legislature does not pass the proposed legislation, the initiative is placed on the ballot for voters to decide. The initiative petition becomes law if a majority of people who vote on it support it, as long as 30% of the voters who cast ballots in the election as a whole
also support its passage, per the Secretary of State’s guide to Ballot Question Petitions.
BALLOT QUESTION 1: MOTOR VEHICLE MECHANICAL DATA
The first ballot question adjusts the requirements of the state’s 2012 “Right to Repair” law, See BALLOT, 2 ☛
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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2020
ANOTHER WIN: Incumbent Democratic Senator Ed Markey was reelected.
SENATE: Ed Markey wins seat CONTINUED FROM 1 The group was very active on social media, especially during the primaries, and was responsible for a lot of youth knowledge, engagement and advocacy in this election cycle. Brett Kahmann ’23 came to work with the Markey campaign through exposure to social media campaigns such as the ones Students for Markey put out. She expressed great joy following the primary win, but said she expected, although still appreciated, Markey’s win in the general election. Markey has held the Massachusetts Senate seat since 2013; this will be his second term. One of the main issues on O’Connor’s agenda was the issue of “dysfunction in Congress [which has] fueled professional politicians who feel entitled to power and will do just about anything to keep it,” according to his website. The candidate made clear his intention to serve no more than two terms in the Senate. “Markey served 18 full terms in a row in the U.S. House of Representatives, plus part of a term immediately before that, plus part of an additional term before he was elected to the U.S. Senate in a special elec-
tion. He served in the House from November 1976 through July 2013,” according to a New Boston Post. In a June 6 debate, Markey said he supports term limits. Even before any votes were reported, the New York Times projected that Markey would win. Around 10:15 p.m. on election night, Markey had already received strong support across the state, especially in Middlesex County, where Brandeis is located. While there are areas in Massachusetts that do not lean as strongly to the left as Middlesex and Suffolk counties, the state overall is still fairly liberal. The presidential election may have been too close to call by Nov. 3, but Markey was almost guaranteed a victory since the beginning of the election. To progressives, an experienced senator like Markey who has been pushing forward progressive legislation for over 40 years is further evidence of sizable support for progressive ideas among the state’s population. By 11:30 p.m., Markey had won about two thirds of the vote, and all major news channels were projecting that he would win handily over O’Connor.
BALLOT: Question 1 passes, Question 2 still being counted CONTINUED FROM 1 which enables “independent mechanics to access data from a car’s computer system so they can find and fix problems,” a Sept. 30 NBC Boston article explained. The data in question comes from telematics systems, or “any system in a motor vehicle that collects information generated by the operation of the vehicle and transmits such information … utilizing wireless communications to a remote receiving point where it is stored,” per the official ballot question voter guide. Under the proposed law, vehicles in model year 2022 and on would have to be equipped with “a standardized open access data platform.” This platform would make the data accessible through a “mobile-based application,” while the 2012 law only made it accessible through a computer, Ballotpedia’s webpage for the measure explained. Having access to telematics data enables mechanics who aren’t connected to the car’s official dealership or manufacturer to have the information necessary to make repairs. Proponents of Ballot Question 1, as the NBC Boston article explained, argue that the 2020 measure is necessary because of the technological advancements that have taken place since the original law passed to ensure that customers can continue to have their cars serviced at less expensive repair shops. Opponents argue that passing this law is a data security risk, putting drivers’ privacy and cybersecurity at risk. However, Ari Trachtenberg, a Boston University professor quoted in the NBC Boston article, framed the debate in a more capitalistic way as a competition between “the
auto manufacturers, who want to maintain access to potentially lucrative and private telematics data, and a collection of auto service companies, who want to level the playing field by making this data more broadly accessible.” The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, which supported the original 2012 law, is also leading the fight in support of this year’s Ballot Question 1. The Coalition includes major repair companies like AutoZone and O’Reilly Auto Parts. On the rival side, the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data opposes the measure, with major donors including General Motors, Toyota, Ford and Honda, per the measure’s Ballotpedia page. Supporters have raised $24.4 million to opponents’ $26.5 million, per a Nov. 2 Boston Globe article, making Ballot Question 1 “the most expensive ballot initiative in Massachusetts history.” Virtually none of the money on either side has come from Massachusetts-based sources. In July, federal officials warned Massachusetts legislators that the measure’s passage may violate “federal cybersecurity guidelines,” per the same NBC Boston article. Ballot Question 1 passed with 75% of voters in favor as of 11 p.m. on Nov. 3, according to the New York Times. BALLOT QUESTION 2: RANKED CHOICE VOTING Ballot Question 2 would adopt a ranked choice voting electoral system for many elected offices in the state. In a ranked choice voting system, voters have the option to rank the candidates by order of preference, rather than just voting for one favorite candidate. The winner is
then selected through a series of rounds of counting, first tabulating how many “number one” votes each candidate received. The simplest result occurs if a candidate receives more than 50% of the first ranked votes — that candidate wins. If no candidate wins the majority, however, the voting moves on to round two, where the lowest vote earning candidate is eliminated and any votes they received are redistributed to those voters’ second ranked candidate. This process continues until one candidate crosses the 50% threshold and wins. The ballot question voter guide explains this process, and Ballotpedia put together a helpful explanatory video in 2016 when Maine voters faced a similar ballot measure. The idea of ranked choice voting is to ensure that whoever wins the election is supported by a majority of voters, eliminating the frustrating result of a candidate winning an election with less than majority support. This reform also empowers independent candidates and could lessen the influence of “big money and corrupt special interests” in elections, according to arguments in favor of the measure listed in the ballot question voter guide. Some argue that ranked choice voting is also complicated and potentially confusing. The NBC Boston article explains that voters only benefit from the reform if they have a lot of information about each candidate so that they are able to make an informed decision when ranking them. Ranked choice voting may also push voters to try to make strategic guesses about how various candidates will perform in the different rounds, which opponents say can have negative impacts, per the ballot question voter guide.
BIDEN: With not all votes counted, Biden leads CONTINUED FROM 1 history in which more people vote in advance of Election Day than on it,” according to an article from the Guardian. Additionally, the early voting numbers alone already show that “the US is on track to see some of the highest voter engagement since the early 1900s,” according to another article from the Guardian.
By 3 a.m. of Nov. 4, Biden was in the lead with 227 electoral votes. Trump had 213 electoral votes.
Trump won the vote in Florida with 51.2% of the vote. Biden and Trump competed for the vote, specifically the Hispanic vote. Trump won in Texas with 52.3% of the vote. According to the Texas Tribune, the majority of counted votes were from early voting. Trump won the vote in Ohio with 53.3% of the vote. Trump increased his margins among white voters without college degrees from 2016, according to a CBS article.
Pennsylvania holds 20 electoral votes. As of 3 a.m., 74% of votes were reported. Biden held 55.7% of the vote and Trump held 43.0% of the vote. Results are expected to be in, at the latest, by Nov. 6. Wisconsin holds 10 electoral
votes. As of 3 a.m., 81% of votes were reported. Biden held 51.1% of the vote and Trump held 47.1% of the vote. Election results are expected to be in, at the earliest, by the day after the election. Results are expected to be in, at the latest, by Nov. 6. Michigan holds 16 electoral votes. As of 3 a.m., 16% of votes were reported. Biden held 45.4% of the vote and Trump held 52.8% of the vote. Results are expected Wednesday night. North Carolina holds 15 electoral votes. As of 3 a.m., 95% of votes were reported. Biden held 48.7% of the vote and Trump held 50.1% of the vote. Mail-in ballots will be accepted until Nov. 12. Arizona holds 11 electoral votes. As of 3 a.m., 82% of votes were reported. Biden held 51.8% of the vote and Trump held 46.8% of the vote. Nevada holds six electoral votes. As of 3 a.m., 79% of votes were reported. Biden held 50.3% of the vote and Trump held 47.8% of the vote. Mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day will continue to be counted until Nov. 10. Georgia holds 16 electoral votes. As of 3 a.m., 91% of votes were reported. Biden held 48.1% of the vote and Trump held 50.6% of the vote. Results are expected to be announced by Wednesday. For daily updates on election results, visit our website and our social media accounts.
218 Illustration by NOAH ZEITLIN/the Justice
With 45 Democratic senators and 47 Republican senators after the election last night, eight seats are yet to be decided as the ballot counting continues.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2020
On the issues During the election cycle, both race in the United States and the COVID-19 pandemic have been controversial topics. The Justice asked students of the Brandeis community about these issues and more. The participants include columnists for the Justice Reena Zuckerman ’23 and Vandita Malviya Wilson M.A. ’22, as well as Clay Napurano ’24 and a member of the Brandeis Democrats, Noah Risley ’24.
Race in the United States Vandita Malviya Wilson (left): The latest fashionable department in Corporate America is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chief Officer. The first time I heard this was a few years ago, and my response was a big yawn. Similar to the commitment to diversify their Board of Directors, or to “launch an investigation,” a new C-suite position and gleaming job description do not rectify centuries of abuse. What would this person do other than look good in glossy marketing brochures? I see this title responding to emails, arranging some lectures and being genuinely concerned about the constituency, but then being able to do very little about it. I think what I would want them to do — I don’t have an answer, other than that I myself would want to be invited to the board meetings, to be taken seriously and to be considered for opportunities, and not just for my skin color or gender. I would also want some kind of outrage-o-meter, where there’s a list of the latest items in the news where yet another person of color has been killed in cold blood by those who are supposed to protect and serve. Eventually, this could be culled into a newsletter, where I would also want to see the lackluster reaction by my elected officials, or by my non-POC friends who look at me like I’m an alien when I mention this and then promptly change the subject every time I tell them to use their white privilege. Reena Zuckerman (right): As a student still in college, I have never really had an experience with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (I am aware that Brandeis has one, I just have not had any interactions with that person). One thing that bothers me about these positions is that it has taken so long for companies and white America at large to realize something is really wrong. I wonder, even if a DEI officer is mostly a small band-aid on a hemorrhaging wound, does it at least do something? Even if this is the case, it is important for us to do more! VMW: I don’t have experience with this role at Brandeis, and this might not apply in academia, but in corporate America, it has been, in my experience, a band-aid response to a gushing wound. Google has had people last in that position for only a few years. If one considers diversity at Uber, and what has been happening there in the past few years, and then goes to their website, the best thing I can say for them is that the management is experiencing severe cognitive dissonance. Companies talk a good game, but that’s marketing and MBA hype. The truth is far from them actually being woke. Another example is Starbucks wanting to have their board be more diverse. That’s
great, but these companies are part of the problem of underrepresented groups, and hiring in name only might increase their value to the shareholders owning a majority of their stock but do nothing for a person of color like me. RZ: When the idea started to defund the police, I first started thinking about Brandeis and other college campuses. In a lot of ways, the police on campus are not doing the same things as a city police force. Maybe it is better and easier to start with reforming college campus police forces because of that difference. Reading through the Black Action Plan for “Reimagining the Brandeis Police,” the policies seem important and reasonable to accomplish. They include adding more mental health professionals and calling them instead of University Police, keeping a record of when a gun is pulled and more. These are similar to those being raised in the national conversation as well. I could see a way for the reworking of collegiate police departments to serve as a model for some cities and towns, though of course there are differences. I find the armed police force intimidating as a white person and I can’t imagine what it is like to be a POC on campus. VMW: The first thing any campus police department needs to understand is that as a student, I can and should be able to wear whatever I want and do my hair however I want, and they need to be re-trained about their biases. Considering that most calls to the police are in response to non life-threatening situations, I certainly don’t think police anywhere need elaborate weapons or SWAT teams and SWAT gear. If the Brandeis Counseling Center could train, or work with the University police so that they could learn to de-escalate tensions, rather than contributing to them, that’s a good start. For me, I just keep my eyes and ears open, and I don’t make eye contact with anyone in law enforcement, because while I see myself as a citizen of the world, they see me as “other” and as a person of color, long before anything else. In my hometown, the police used to be “community based” and they worked alongside the people. As the narrative of crime and the “broken window” theory gained traction, and increased police presence was credited with reduced crime incidents, police department funding spiraled into the stratosphere. Getting this down to a reasonable level will take time. RZ: Thanks for sharing this, it had a real impact on me, and it is important for stories like yours to be elevated in the conversation! I hope that yours and others’ will help make a real difference and impact on Brandeis such that we can make this a safer space for all POC on campus.
The COVID-19 pandemic Noah Risley (left): The recent spikes in COVID-19 cases are most attributable to the lack of real measures taken by the United States. The pandemic reached the United States in March, luckily enough for the current administration, which preceded the warmest months of the year. The flu and the common cold are given more opportunities to spread in the colder months as events and people are forced inside more often, as the epidemiologists have been pointing to all along. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, and will therefore follow the same trajectory. The personal responsibility argument that Trump and the Republican Party have been making works slightly more in the warmer weather. This will soon crumble. The country has not invested in nationwide testing, contact tracing, lockdowns akin to Europe and East Asian countries or any other real measures. The spread has not been contained as it should have been and we may have even entered into a sort of herd immunity, but not in a way that benefits the population as many say that it does. Clay Napurano (right): Obviously statistics and science are things to be followed. Dr. Anthony Fauci is making statements that have evolved. It accounts for these random instances of spikes, ebbs and troughs, and indirectly affects many different things, like the economy. If you’ve tracked the economy over the course of this pandemic, the Dow Jones Industrial Average goes up and down by the day like a rollercoaster. These recent spikes in coronavirus cases are attributable to statistics, science and a lackluster response. What Trump and the Republicans thought was that they would be politically “OK” because the disease wouldn’t affect the Sun Belt or Bread Basket states. Especially in the middle of the country, states have sort of a socially-distant population and were initially considered unlikely to see outbreaks. When the virus spread inwards into places like Arizona, it became apparent that the virus, when left unchecked, will rapidly spread. These resurgent spikes are interesting because when the spikes go away, the President and his administration speaks in the present perfect, saying the virus has “gone away,” ignoring the cyclical nature of the spikes in the virus, creating a vicious cycle of the coronavirus resurging and fading and directly shifting the stock market and its ebbs and troughs. NR: People consider us in the third wave of coronavirus. I want to argue against this. The way states and countries that have a handle on the issue categorize waves differently. We are in a class of our own in this sense, with the sheer magnitude of the number of daily
cases and hospitalizations that we have. The minimum was in the 20,000s or 30,000s, which is more than individual countries cumulatively have seen. The ebbing and flowing of the disease has a ceiling that is still incredibly high. The people who are dying are not rich white men, people who haven’t had generations of systemic racism affecting their health or people who have money to access newfound treatments. Black and Brown community deaths count less in the eyes of this administration because the racist attitude which prevails in the White House considers them less of a person. The way that the White House talks about waves and spikes connotes a detached point of view concerning the deaths of these communities. It neglects to address the fact that we were having 500-600 deaths a day. Is it only notable when we have 1,000 deaths a day because it includes more white people than a “normal” day? This language is uniquely American and uniquely destructive. CN: The phrasing of spikes and waves speaks to the framing that the news media has created around the pandemic. The American news media is more entertainment than news, and MSNBC and Fox News are closer to “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” than informative sources of current events and politics in terms of trying to comfort rather than inform. Both sides lull you into a sense of partisan comfort or outrage. This is uniquely difficult during a pandemic, and so the phrasing these media outlets have created to soften the blow of government inaction and mass casualties is frightening. Because Trump has taken the bully pulpit in his presidency, the news is mostly about the federal government. It’s all about Trump and the executive branch. This creates a populace that just sees through the lens of the federal government and its view on the pandemic. You saw earlier the focus on governors scrambling for supplies, not from the gubernatorial or state perspective, but from the executive perspective of inaction and taking all the credit. There’s no structure as to what is happening with the pandemic, which makes it hard to cover in a linear and profitable way, but it’s the only thing that people want to hear about. Although people are constantly trying to distract themselves from things going on, the major news outlets that inform most of the nation cannot close their eyes, as well they’re left scrambling to impose categories on things we really don’t have a category for, which is where we get these “spikes” and “waves” from. It’s Americans looking at the Johns Hopkins University website, aghast at the numbers and not knowing how to make sense of them. They’re looking for answers from organizations looking to make money.
EDITOR’S NOTE Reena Zuckerman ’23 and Vandita Malyviya Wilson M.A.’22 are columnists for the Justice. The complete set of dialogues will be featured in Forum on the Justice’s website, thejustice.org.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2016
2020 Election survey results Who Brandeis voted for
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When Brandeis voted
How Brandeis voted
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