Election 2020 continues an American legacy of strongly contested presidential races

Tensions are high as voters wait to hear if President Trump or Joe Biden has won
Posted at 6:43 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 18:53:16-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — Voters across the U.S. are now on-edge waiting for the vote counting to end in the 2020 Presidential Election.

President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden campaigned strongly against each other in a year that has also seen a pandemic and racial tensions.

Will this be the closest presidential race in American history with the most divided nation politically?

Some think it is.

"What can our country do with all of this anger?" asked 85-year-old Bishop William Henderson.

Henderson has been voting for presidents since the 1940s and is the longtime paster of the historic Michigan Street Baptist Church in Buffalo.

Bishop Henderson told reporter Ed Reilly that he believes the country is more divided now than it was during the turbulent 1960's. "Our people need healing. Our nation needs healing."

While the Trump-Biden race is very contentious, it actually continues a long tradition of hard-fought, presidential contests in the United States.

"There are at least five cases where the presidents who won did not have the popular vote," explained Bren Price, a trustee for the Buffalo Presidential Center which is preparing to open inside the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library's central branch soon.

Price said those close races also divided the country in ways similar to what is happening today.

In 1824, the contest between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson was so close that the House of Representatives had to pick a winner because neither man had a clear majority.

In 2000, the Supreme Court was called upon to decide between Al Gore and George W. Bush after the infamous 'hanging chad' recount in Florida.

Through the decades, there were many other very tight, politically-charged presidential races featuring names such as Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump.

"We got through it once. We will get through it again," commented Anthony Greco, director of exhibits at the Buffalo History Museum "The sooner we can address major issues, like healthcare, the sooner the nation can come together. It is just a matter of who is going to do that and how willing are the people going to be in letting go of individual party divides and look forward to the better future for the entire nation," added Greco.

The Buffalo History Museum is currently displaying old newspaper front pages related to presidents connected to Buffalo and various presidential elections. It is called "White House - Western New York."