Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP
We asked Guardian readers to share their reactions to the election results and tell us about the issues that decided their vote and their hopes and concerns for the future.
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Here are the views from eight US voters – four who support Donald Trump and four who voted for Joe Biden.
‘I’m almost afraid to hope too much’
Honestly, I didn’t support Biden during the primaries. But since I believe that gay people have a right to be married and protection against discrimination; that black people have a right to not get shot by police or discriminated against; that the US should do everything in its power to stop worsening crises from climate change; and that a global pandemic should be dealt with intelligently and swiftly to avoid hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths, I think he’s the better candidate.
It doesn’t hurt that I believe he will fill his cabinet based on qualifications and not favours owed. With Biden as president, we have a chance of keeping global changes in temperature down. With Trump as president, we had none. I’m worried that at the end of the day, nothing that happens during Biden’s presidency will make a difference, and we’ll continue to bounce back and forth with an increasingly divided country, and an increasingly broken system. I hope that won’t be the case. But I’m almost afraid to hope too much. Sabrina, PhD student, Wisconsin, voted for Biden
‘Biden will work very hard to unite us as a nation’
The issue most important to me was keeping our imperfect experiment: our democracy. Trump was appearing to be more autocrat than any president in my lifetime. He messed with the post office, the census, the DoJ, used the attorney general like his personal attorney, and spewed hateful rhetoric about minorities and women. I expect our president to be an example of the goodness of the US. I expect him to work with both Republicans and Democrats to improve our nation. I expect our government to work on problems like Covid-19 and not lie and deny as 230,000 people have died.
I am tired of seeing large corporations benefit from our tax dollars while one in five children are food insecure. Trump tried to kick 700,000 families off food stamps during a pandemic. Now a case goes before the supreme court to end the ACA, which will end healthcare for millions of people. I want our country to help ourselves first, other nations second, and large corporations rarely. I think Trump has hurt our country more than any other president in our history. Joe Biden will work very hard to unite us as a nation, which we sorely need right now. He has plans to work on the Covid-19 crisis first.
Open our economy back up with good paying jobs. Force corporations to keep their production in the US and fine them if they refuse. Susan, Florida, voted for Biden
‘I worry the Democrats will dive further rightwards’
Though I was aggrieved that Biden emerged above more progressive candidates, I nonetheless have always admired his empathy and forthright approach to politics. As the months passed between March and November, I realized that he was precisely the sort of person who is needed at this point in the nation’s history, who can speak plainly and warmly, without self-aggrandizement or deliberate obfuscation. I hope we may see America return to being a proactive leader (or at least participant) in global affairs, beginning with climate change but extending also to unrest across the world. I expect the Biden-Harris administration will rejoin the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear agreement, as well as put in place national standards and practices to immediately tackle the spread of the coronavirus.
I hope we may see America return to being a proactive leader in global affairs
I am extremely concerned with the lingering resentment and sense of isolation felt by supporters of the current president, a sentiment which has erupted into violence before and may do again, as people appear to believe that anything other than laissez-faire policies and total dedication to the police is sufficient cause for revolution. I worry also that the Democratic party, as currently led by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, will dive further rightwards in an attempt to appeal to the rightwing elements of this country, a move that will assuredly lead to fewer Democratic senators and members of Congress as well as a weakening of the current drive for broader progressive policies such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for all. Matthew, teacher, Minnesota, voted for Biden
‘I expect that coronavirus will be taken seriously’
My father fought at Normandy. He didn’t risk his life for a nation where the president disrespects the rule of law. I remembered those who were drowned, lynched, burned alive, beaten to death or shot to death during the civil rights movement. We could not allow their memories to be further disrespected. I think about my children and grandchildren. They deserved to inherit a better America than that of the last four years. When the president and vice-president-elect appeared, it was almost a sacred moment. The hopes of a nation rest in good hands. Now I expect the restoration of civil discourse. I expect that coronavirus will be taken seriously. I expect a president who understands systemic racism is real. I won’t like everything Biden does. But I feel like this. When President Roosevelt died, a man was crying uncontrollably. Someone asked: “Did you know him personally?” The man said: “No, I did not know him. But he knew me.” Joe Biden knows me. Anthony, retired, Delaware, voted for Biden
‘Trump kept our country moving forward’
It’s a shame how biased our media is. Trump has done so many amazing things for Americans that have never been reported by media. Trump kept our country moving forward. I had more money in my paycheck and my medical benefits were better than under Obama. He’s trying to make the US not dependent on China. I am appalled that Americans are so uneducated they let the celebrities and media tell them who to vote for. If you ask someone that voted for Biden and what his policies are … uniting Americans? Stopping corona? OK. How? Trump made good on campaign promises. He truly cares about Americans and is not a lifelong politician. I‘m scared for my college kids. I’m afraid they won’t be able to find jobs and prosper after all their hard work. However, we have a strong faith so I just keep praying. Stephanie, teacher, Pennsylvania, voted for Trump
‘Trump brought our troops home’
Despite his bullish personality, Trump brought our troops home. He didn’t engage in more foreign wars, he signed record peace treaties. He did all this and more while under the constant spotlight of an aggressive media that wouldn’t let even a sneeze go unchallenged. I’m very sad, not because I lost, but because the media reaction to the president has already changed. I worry that if Biden decides to escalate US presence in foreign countries, or do anything bad, they [the Democrats] will get a free pass, because “at least they’re not Trump”.
This is wrong. Potus should always be under as much scrutiny as Trump has been, for public accountability. I want a president who wants peace, not one who has already engaged in what many believe are illegal and unjust wars. My hopes are that Biden will surpass expectations, which are low. Let’s be real here: 75 million Americans didn’t vote for Biden. They voted against Trump. Aaron, unemployed, Mississippi, voted for Trump
‘I don’t support a socialist agenda in America’
I don’t support a socialist agenda in America. I’m shocked that there were (supposedly) so many votes to go back to a highly regulated sluggish economy promised by Biden. I don’t want my children to lose the tax breaks they received under Trump. The peace process is gaining even more participation in the Middle East under Trump, and that may not move forward with Democrats in charge.
Leaving the Paris accord and the the Iran deal were brilliant decisions that Biden might stupidly get us back into to appease the people who allowed him to be the nominee. I hope the Republican party can regain the House, increase the majority in the Senate and therefore keep this country safe from the destruction the Democrats hope to accomplish. FS, retired college lecturer, Mississippi, voted for Trump
‘My concerns are we become more leftist and radical’
I think Trump is the lesser of two evils. For the last several elections, it’s been a choice between two unsuitable candidates, and which is the least unsuitable is the issue.
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There’s no doubt Trump is an egotistical jerk. He also has a penchant for saying some of the most stupid things imaginable. He’s his own worst enemy. However, many of his positions are appropriate and make sense. I’m disappointed and worried. Biden is marginally mentally incompetent. He really is a tired old man. My most sincere hope is that Biden will have good, centrist advisers, that he will maintain or improve his mental abilities, and that he will be up to the stress and rigors of the job. My concerns are that as the country seems to tilt towards the left, the agenda becomes more leftist and radical, and that emotions substitute for thoughtful and then constructive dialogue and tolerance of differing opinions is evaporating.
The issues that need tackling first are: the media (the fairness doctrine needs to be reinstated immediately); the undue influence of China on virtually every aspect of culture, business and policy; the economy; Covid; and corruption at all levels of the government. Carl, small business owner, Michigan, voted for Trump
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