Is This Election Really the “Most Important” Election of Modern History?

Sophia Robertson, Editor-in-Chief

In 2016, President Trump stated with regards to the presidential election that the “most important vote you’ve ever cast for anyone at any time” was taking place. In October of this year, Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders both stated that the 2020 presidential election is the most important election, “not only in our lifetime but in the modern history of our country.” Is it true that this election is the most important one that has taken place in the United States, or is this something that people just say every four years?

Let’s take a look at the last few presidential elections. In 1992, Bill Clinton was elected, and eight years later George W. Bush was elected for two terms. Then came Barack Obama and most recently Donald Trump. We judge each of these presidents based on what they did in office, so it’s not possible to know if this was the most important election until the gears begin turning in our next president’s term. We don’t know what Joe Biden, assuming President Trump concedes, will do or what the circumstances will be during his presidency because he hasn’t taken office yet. For example, George W. Bush was president during the 9/11 attacks. Before the attacks, his approval rating was about 50%, but after the attacks his rating increased to approximately 85%. Another president may not have handled the event as well as Former President Bush. With that being said, the importance of an election is very dependent on the state of the country during the president’s term.

Bill Clinton signed NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), George W. Bush led the United States into war with Iraq and, years before him, his father and former president George H.W. Bush dealt with the final years of the Cold War, Barack Obama navigated through eight years fighting Afghanistan, and President Trump began fighting COVID-19 three years into his presidency. These are all major events, and without the right president things could have been much worse, or maybe they could have been handled better. All of these elections were significant, but even without foresight into the next four years, can we assume that this year’s election is more important?

Our country is currently going through many difficulties, so it can be argued that this election is the most important. The country has been in different phases of reopening, and the virus is continuing to spread. In addition, protesters for the Black Lives Matter Movement line the streets of major cities. This hurricane season has been extreme, and fires have spread throughout California. We need a president who can cope with these things and help rebuild the country from a hard year. We must wait for some time to pass before determining how important this election was, but it is safe to say that the president taking office in January will definitely have his own battles while leading the country.