6 important things you might have missed during the US election
After one of the most heated campaigns in US history, the conclusion of the 2020 presidential election has matched the build up in terms of controversy.
Alongside the presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Americans have also voted in congressional and senate races, as well as on policy motions.
While most of the focus has been on the battle for the White House, there has been controversy over delayed vote-counts and accusations against the Democrats of “stealing” the election.
Trump and Biden are still neck and neck in the race for Presidency, although Biden is currently marginally ahead.
However, a number of other important developments have also occurred in US politics amid all of the election drama - both good and bad. Here are six important things that you might have missed.
First transgender senator
Sarah McBride has become the first transgender person to be elected to the United States Senate, and the highest ranking trans official in US history.
The 30-year-old Democrat fought a campaign centred around healthcare as well as paid medical and family leave, issues which were brought to the fore during the pandemic.
McBride won comfortably in her native Delaware and said she was “humbled” when announcing her victory.
She said: “I’m humbled by the support of neighbours and ready to work every day to make a difference in the lives of all the residents of the First Senate District.
“I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too. As Delaware continues to face the Covid crisis, it’s time to get to work to invest in the policies that will make a difference for working families.”
The Qanon supporter
A district in Georgia has elected the first open supporter of the far-right QAnon conspiracy, which is based on antisemitic tropes and posits that Democrats and celebrities are locked in a secret war with president Donald Trump over child trafficking.
Marjorie Taylor Greene won her race for a seat in the House of Representatives after her rival dropped out.
Adherents of the QAnon conspiracy have previously been charged with murder, planned kidnapping and domestic terrorism, and the FBI has highlighted the conspiracy as a potential driver of domestic terrorism.
Footage has previously emerged of Greene describing the election of diverse lawmakers in 2018 as “an Islamic invasion of our government” and comparing Black Lives Matter activists to neo-Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan.
Drug laws liberalisation
As well as voting for candidates for president, the Senate and the House of Representatives, a number of states had specific policy issues on the ballot at this election. These included a number of moves to liberalise America’s drug policies at a state level.
In Oregon, voters opted to decriminalise the possession of all drugs, a move which experts say reduces the risks to addicts and aids in recovery.
Drug users in Oregon can no longer be criminally charged for possessing small amounts of drugs like cocaine, heroin and ketamine, but will be subject to fines.
Elsewhere, in Mississippi, Arizona, New Jersey and South Dakota, voters backed a motion to legalise cannabis, though only for medicinal purposes in the latter state, until the result of another vote is announced at a later date.
First gay black men in the Senate
History was made in two New York congressional races, as Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones became the first openly LGBTQ Black politicians to win election.
Taking seats in New York’s 15th and 17th districts respectively, both men replaced retiring senior Democrats.
On Twitter, Torres thanked voters and said: “it is the honor of a lifetime to represent the essential borough, the Bronx”.
In a video message recorded before the results were announced, Jones described his growing up in the area he will now represent
He said: “My grandmother used to clean homes in Congers. When daycare was too expensive, she took me with her. Now I get to run to represent the same people whose homes I watched my grandmother clean growing up.
“My story, quintessentially, is that of the American Dream.”
Trump was censored on Twitter, then deleted the tweet
Reports that social media firms had been preparing to intervene in instances of misinformation being spread on their platform were confirmed after President Trump took to Twitter to claim that Democrats were trying to “steal the election”.
Seemingly made in response to a speech delivered by Joe Biden, Trump tweeted saying: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. WE will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed”.
Twitter intervened quickly, preventing other users from interacting with the President’s tweet by disabling a number of functions and attaching a disclaimer to the tweet which read: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process”.
Where the President has been censored by Twitter in the past, he has often left the tweets up. However, on this occasion he deleted the original tweet and has doubled-down on the claims made in it.
Unrest in Washington DC
As predicted by many experts, a series of protests and clashes between opposing groups erupted in Washington as election day drew to a close.
Though most reports note that the protests were largely peaceful, there were a small number of violent clashes as the night wore on, with the mood changing after Mr Trump’s speech claiming to have won the election.
The protesters were primarily antifascists who expressed frustration not just at the Republican president, but also Democratic challenger Joe Biden.