Voter Turnout The Highest It’s Been Since 1900

( If there’s one thing we know about the 2020 U.S. presidential election, it’s that a record number of people cast their vote.

According to the University of Florida’s U.S. Elections Project, which tracks total voter turnout, more than 160 million people voted in this year’s presidential election. That accounts for 66.9% of the total eligible voting population in the country.

According to Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, that number is the largest voter participation race since 1900. It also far eclipses voter turnout for any presidential election since.

As Marquette University’s Julia Azari said:

“We broke a 120-year record on turnout – the kind of turnout people only dreamed of” in prior elections.

The record turnout didn’t actually favor one party over the other. Azari said one party didn’t establish itself as the dominant one in American politics. In fact, “it didn’t change much” at all, she said.

Republicans continue to get hit hard among women and suburban voters, who typically support Democratic candidates and who have supported Joe Biden for president this year. It’s something that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out when speaking to reporters in Kentucky, his home state, this week:

“I think we’re very much aware of the challenges that we have in suburbs across America. The other thing that’s been a Republican challenge, really for a number of years but particularly in recent years, is the gender gap.”

Democrats have their weak points, too. Democratic National Committee member Elaine Kamarck said Biden wasn’t able to reach out and broaden the Democrats’ appeal in more rural areas that are typically “red.” Republicans did a good job of labeling Biden a figurehead for a socialist movement.

Ruy Teixeira, an analyst for the Democrats, also said Biden didn’t make up any additional ground among white college-educated voters, something many Democrats thought he’d do. He also only had very small gains among white voters who aren’t college educated.

A lot of Democrats are divided over whether Biden’s problem in this election was that his campaign was too moderate, or not moderate enough. As Kamarck said:

“Biden tried to reach beyond his base, but his attempt was undercut by Democratic primaries where everybody but Biden and a handful of others were out on the left wing. Biden did a good job trying to say, ‘I beat those guys in the primary.’ He knew he had to overcome that, but it was hard to overcome.”

Teixeira said Biden suffered a lot among voters who are Latino because his “working-class economic agenda” got drowned out by the attention racial justice got over the summer. As Teixiera said:

“Maybe that’s not what the media Black or Latino voter wanted to hear. Maybe the culture wars are a loser for Democrats.”

Still other Democrats say that Biden wasn’t “left enough” to be able to attract younger voters, as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been able to do in the last two Democratic primaries. Still, that viewpoint may not have played well with more moderate voters across the country.