Pres­ident Trump addresses the nation | Twitter

When I went to bed at 1:43 a.m. on election night, I was con­fident that Pres­ident Donald J. Trump would be reelected, albeit by a slim margin. But when I woke up on Nov. 4, I found a voicemail from my mom, saying, “It looks like Trump isn’t going to win.”

Overnight, states like Michigan, Wis­consin, and even Nevada shifted in favor of former Vice Pres­ident Joe Biden by a slight majority.

But this flip-flop between red and blue might con­tinue for another few days. Maybe weeks.

As I watched the results come state-by-state after the polls had closed on Tuesday night, it looked like the “blue wave” that Democrats promised them­selves would not come to pass. The pres­ident led in most swing states, the senate was tied, and the house had Democrats winning. 

A lot of the national con­ver­sation in the past 48 hours has focused on the fact that poll­sters who told Amer­icans this was no close race were overly confident.

As of a week ago, an ABC News-Wash­ington Post poll placed Biden 17+ points ahead of Trump in the state of Wis­consin. Other polls showed Biden leading in Florida and Texas, both of which remained deep red, with Biden actually turning less dis­tricts blue than Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

Just like in 2016, voters are tired of having the media dis­en­fran­chise their enthu­siasm and rep­re­sen­tation for a can­didate, even if it’s the con­tro­versial Donald Trump. The 2016 election results were such a shock to the nation because a silent majority spoke with their vote that they were fed up with coastal elites telling them what they wanted and what they believed.

The media seems to have not learned that polls do not rep­resent the breadth of the American people. They have under­es­ti­mated Amer­icans all over again, as the next pres­ident stands in the bal­ances between Georgia, Nevada, Penn­syl­vania, and a few others.

It was the unseen enthu­siasm at rallies and anec­dotal reporting from jour­nalists like Salena Zito that caught what was hap­pening in these swing states. Not the poll­sters making calls and taking names.

As the next few days show the spread between Trump and Biden by only a few thousand or hundred-thousand votes, the poll­sters that said this was a safe win for Biden ought to rec­ognize how many Amer­icans they overlooked.

For instance, the record turnout in Latino voters in Florida, with Trump winning nearly half of the Latino vote, made the state a solid victory for him on Tuesday evening. 

Even U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D‑New York, admitted this as she took her frus­tration to Twitter, saying, “I won’t comment much on tonight’s results as they are evolving and ongoing, but I will say we’ve been sounding the alarm about Dem vul­ner­a­bil­ities w/ Latinos for a long, long time. There is a strategy and a path, but the nec­essary effort simply hasn’t been put in.”

While Amer­icans stand by for election results, poll­sters need to look at their work and remember not to under­es­timate those who remain quiet the next time around.


Isabella Redjai is a senior George Wash­ington Fellow studying political economy.