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Election 2020: looking forward THE COMMUNICATOR'S NEW COLUMNISTS REFLECT ON THE 2020 ELECTION

Above: People watch fireworks as they celebrate near the White House in Washington, D.C., after President-elect Joe Biden is declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The subject needs no introduction. For the past four years, discussion about the man in the White House and who might replace him has been constant. This won’t stop; President Donald Trump still contends that he has won the 2020 presidential election, despite the mathematical certainty of former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory. Trump offers too much content to ignore, and his ego precludes him from keeping quiet. Nevertheless, the 2020 presidential election is all but finished.

Before we move on and focus on the global pandemic, existential climate threats and a slew of other issues, let’s get some closure. We deserve it.

“The Communicator” is beginning a variety of columns by some fantastic journalists. Scarlett London, our activism columnist, has already posted her first — keep a lookout for Scarlett’s column and a few others coming soon on the website. In the meantime, we’ve asked our columnists to reflect on the exhausting election season from the lens of their future columns. Here are their thoughts.

Scarlett London, activism columnist

Voting for Biden is like riding on a city bus. It may not take you exactly where you want to go, but it points you in the right direction. It gets you closer.

An entire wing of the Democratic Party, including many young people, want the party to be more progressive. They want the Green New Deal, affordable college, healthcare for all, to defund the police, and other actions that, until recently, seemed like a dream. But to save the nation from the worst impulses of Donald Trump, the party came together to elect a centrist Democrat.

Biden will be pulled in different directions. He is trying to repair the ideological divide between political parties, which has widened into a chasm over the last four years. He will be appealing across the aisle to unite the country, even as progressive Democrats demand more substantial reform. As advocates for a progressive agenda, we need to understand his dueling priorities. So let’s take a breath and think about what comes next.

First things first: we must get this pandemic under control. It has wreaked havoc on our nation, particularly in minority communities and underserved populations. Meaningful legislation will likely be difficult to enact while Americans continue to die and our economy continues to wither. Biden will — we hope — take steps to help us get back on our feet. Social distancing, a mask mandate and a stay-at-home order would help get this virus under control and give our country the strength it needs to move forward.

Then, the real work can begin. As we repair the damage the virus has done to our communities, we have the opportunity to push the United States into a more progressive posture. We can encourage the President and Vice President to immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement, take action to reduce carbon emissions, push for expanded healthcare coverage and work towards police reform. It’s an exciting time. Our protests may no longer fall on deaf ears. This week, we patched a hole in our ship. Now, we can start steering it further toward progress.

Eliot Klus, media columnist

WHEW. Last week was a ride. I am relieved to be free of refreshing poll numbers every five minutes and the anxiety of not knowing whether the next president, who is to lead the country through the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis, would be this guy or this guy. I took on the role of media columnist because it interests me and I spend a lot of time consuming media. This does not mean, however, that I enjoy it.

I think that nearly everybody’s relationship with the media has changed over the last four years. Trust in news media has wavered, but more people are engaged in politics than ever before. I know that I have paid more attention.

This has come with drawbacks. “Doomscrolling,” for example. When I woke up the day after the election, I immediately reached for my phone and spent, not kidding, an entire hour looking at poll data and Twitter hot takes (many thanks for asynchronous Wednesdays).

There’s a peculiar feeling doing this. I think of it as curiosity-driven existential dread. In my cynicism — another side effect of this media engagement — I am sure that the worst is coming, but want desperately to know precisely how and why.

And the thing is, that’s rational. My dread is existential because I am acutely aware that these results could be existential for myself and millions of other people. This stuff is important, and we should treat it as such.

Despite this, I think there is a better way to engage. It may now be my job to be addicted to reading articles and scrolling through Twitter, but it doesn’t have to be yours. Don’t disengage: what’s happening is still important. But maybe disable push notifications on your phone, or take a walk and leave it behind altogether. Take care of yourself — it does no good to get politically burnt-out when we have just started paying close attention.

Morgan McClease, fashion columnist

Kamala Harris made history as the first woman elected vice president. When I usually hear about a woman in such a high position, I typically think of a classic work day outfit. Maybe a dress or a suit in heels, but Harris loves her sneakers. Her staple shoe is the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. She has worn them just about everywhere, whether it's to speak with President-elect Joe Biden or on a normal day hanging out with her family.

At a rally on Oct. 31, 2020, in Miami, Harris showed up in a pair of white, high-top Chuck Taylors — which were custom-made. On one side of the shoe, it said “2020” in bold, blue lettering with a heart next to it. There were pins on each of the shoes that symbolized Harris’ beliefs:“Love 2020,” “Stop Hate” and “Black Joy.”

In an interview with “British Vogue," Harris shed some light on her Converse collection.

“I have a whole collection of Chuck Taylors: a black leather pair, a white pair,” Harris said. “I have the kind that don’t lace, the kind that do lace, the kind I wear in the hot weather, the kind I wear in the cold weather and the platform kind, for when I’m wearing a pantsuit.”

Women are held to high expectations, especially in a work environment, with the clothes and shoes that they choose to wear, but Harris’ fashion choices represent that women don’t always need to be in heels to be professional or respected in a work environment. Harris loves to wear her Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, and yet she will still be the first woman vice president of the United States — a huge accomplishment for women all over the world.

Harris’ Converses make a statement, and her wearing Chuck Taylor’s inspires me to wear whatever I want, because clothing shouldn’t define you.

Ria Lowenschuss, gender & sexuality columnist

In a time of growing hate and uncertainty, the 2020 election cycle has brought a sigh of relief, as well as hope for much-needed change. For many people, especially women and members of the LGBTQ community, the presidential election held their rights in the balance.

Under the Trump administration, transgender people lost healthcare protections, could legally be turned away from homeless shelters and were banned from serving in the military. With Biden as our President, these blatantly transphobic policies, along with others targeting sexual and gender minorities, will likely be repealed.

Another, more satisfying victory is the “rainbow wave” of LGBTQ people elected to Congress and state legislatures. There were more LGBTQ candidates in this election than ever in history, including the first-ever transgender state senator, Sarah McBride, and Hawaii’s first openly gay elected official.

McBride was elected to the Delaware State Senate, making her the highest-ranking transgender elected official in the United States. Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres, both from New York City, became the first openly gay Black men elected to the United States House of Representatives. Kamala Harris is also stepping into new territory: she will be the first woman, the first Black person and the first person of Asian descent to be vice president. These groundbreaking wins are monumental for the LGBTQ community and illuminate necessary progress. This is not identity politics; this is the beginning of a government that truly reflects its people.