Joe Biden Wins The 2020 US Presidential Election

Biden secured his win over Donald Trump, the first US president to lose reelection in 28 years.

Joe Biden is projected to become the next president of the United States after an election that was historic, messy, chaotic and uncertain.

With him in the White House will be senator Kamala Harris as vice president – the first woman, and the first African American and Asian American person, ever to hold the position.

The decisive call came in Pennsylvania, which gave Biden the necessary electoral votes to clinch the presidency. The Associated Press called the state at 4.25pm GMT.

Biden could further pad his Electoral College victory in Arizona and Nevada, where he leads. Biden also overtook Trump in Georgia on Friday but votes in the state will be recounted due to the small number of ballots separating each candidate. North Carolina does not yet have a projected winner but Trump is expected to win the state.

The president-elect tweeted that he was “honoured” America had “chosen me to lead our great country”, adding: “The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a president for all Americans, whether you voted for me or not.”

He added in a statement moments later: “I am honoured and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in vice president-elect Harris.

“In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America.

“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.

“It’s time for America to unite. And to heal.

“We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”

Biden had already flipped two other states that Trump won in 2016: Michigan and Wisconsin, reclaiming Democrats’ Rust Belt “blue wall.” The former vice president also decisively won the most total votes, besting Trump by about four million.

For months, Trump had been laying the groundwork to reject the election results if they didn’t go his way. He not only tried to undermine mail-in voting but claimed that if the winner wasn’t declared on election night, the results would be suspect – even though some state rules allow mail-in ballots to be received after election day.

And sure enough, Trump did exactly as he said he would.

“Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said – baselessly – in the early hours of Wednesday morning. In reality, millions of ballots had yet to be counted, a number of key swing states were still in limbo and no news organisation had yet projected a winner.

He also tweeted that Democrats were trying to “STEAL the Election” and wrote: “Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” No votes were cast after the polls closed so this was little more than a truism.

On Thursday, he held a news conference in which he – again, baselessly – claimed that there was vote fraud, without providing any evidence.

Federal Election Commission commissioner Ellen Weintraub confirmed on Saturday that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.

Trump once again spread lies about the election during a press conference on Thursday.
Trump once again spread lies about the election during a press conference on Thursday.

Defeating an incumbent president is difficult and rare. It hasn’t happened in nearly 30 years. Biden did it during a pandemic against a president with a devoted following who is willing to lie and cheat. He was unable to carry out traditional campaign activities, which play to his strength of intimate interactions with voters.

Biden also amassed more than 70m votes, the most a presidential candidate has ever received in a US election.

Yet the country’s Electoral College system meant that the nation was obsessing over the latest batches of votes in places like Arizona and Georgia to see who would be declared the winner – even as Biden was leading Trump by more than 3.8m votes nationwide. Here’s an explainer for Brits on how it works.

Democrats expected the election to be a referendum on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. Biden and the party kept their message squarely on the virus and health care, while Trump tried to divert attention to crime, senator Cory Booker, China, and Biden’s son Hunter.

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus hurt the reelection prospects of the president, who wanted to run on the health of the economy under his watch. Without it, arguably, Trump may have won.

Early exit polls show that more voters said the pandemic was the most important issue facing the country than any other issue. Those voters went for Biden, while people who cited the economy and jobs went with Trump.

But it was not the decisive blow that Democrats hoped for. The election revealed larger trends, and problems that have nothing to do with Biden, that the party will be dealing with for years.

“Yes, Trump is horrible, but it’s never been all about about Trump,” said a Democratic Senate strategist. “And now because of events, it’s just that much more obvious. There’s the Supreme Court and not having the Senate and everything they’ve done to rig democracy.”

“We got what we needed, which is to end the Trump presidency,” a House Democratic lawmaker told HuffPost. “We didn’t get what we wanted.”

A Trump supporter joins others in protesting the Nevada vote outside Clark County Election Department.
A Trump supporter joins others in protesting the Nevada vote outside Clark County Election Department.
RONDA CHURCHILL via Getty Images

Trump actually performed better this year than he did in 2016 in counties with high coronavirus rates. He also won the majority of votes in states with the highest death rates from the disease, including Florida and Texas, although many of those areas are more conservative and more likely to shun the mask-wearing and social distancing that Trump, too, has mocked.

Significantly, Biden’s success didn’t translate down the ballot. Democratic hopes of picking up a robust majority in the Senate (the US upper chamber) melted away, and in the House of Representatives (the lower chamber), Democrats lost ground.

A surge of grassroots donations in Senate races like South Carolina, Kentucky and Texas weren’t enough to overcome Republican dominance in those states. And Republicans who were considered sitting ducks for Democratic wins – like Susan Collins in Maine – won reelection.

“It was a bad night,” Democratic senator Sherrod Brown said on MSNBC on Wednesday, adding that Democrats “need to sharpen our message”.

And the larger picture looks tough for Democrats. The election results underscored that the Senate grants disproportionate power to rural Americans – who are far more likely to be old, white and conservative than other voters – and basically ensures that the Democratic Party won’t pursue the demands of its left flank.

Still, defeating Trump was a remarkable achievement for the Democrats and will have significant consequences.

Trump had used his presidential powers to separate migrant children from their parents, enrich his family and encourage far-right conspiracy theorists. He mocked American troops who died in war, made racist comments and tried to use the Justice Department as his own personal enforcement agency to go after his political enemies. He was only the third president in US history to be impeached by the House.

His toxic brand of racism, sexism and fear-based politics may have helped propel him into the White House in 2016. But it wasn’t enough this time. He was no longer an outsider who could come into Washington and shake up a tired old establishment.

Instead, the nation chose Biden, a man who embodies the political establishment. He spent 36 years as a senator from Delaware and eight years as vice president. He will be 78 when he is inaugurated in January, the oldest president in history.

At first, Trump tried to pretend the coronavirus wasn’t a problem. He said it wasn’t much worse than the common flu and predicted it would be gone by April. At the Republican National Convention, Trump and his allies portrayed the crisis as largely over, defeated by the valiant president.

Joe Biden takes his face mask off as he arrives to speak one day after Americans voted in the presidential election.
Joe Biden takes his face mask off as he arrives to speak one day after Americans voted in the presidential election.
Drew Angerer via Getty Images

Even after Trump himself was hit with a positive coronavirus diagnosis, he and his administration continued on course, using the experience to claim that the illness wasn’t all that bad.

“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump tweeted on October 5, after more than 200,000 Americans had died from it.

Biden took a different approach. He kept his focus squarely on the coronavirus pandemic. He wore masks, cautioned the public to listen to scientists and stopped large in-person rallies and events. His campaign even stopped door-knocking for most of the campaign, restarting it only at the very end.

And he showed empathy for people who had struggled with the virus.

Biden is a politician who wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s had little choice. A month after being elected to the Senate for the first time in 1972, he lost his wife and daughter in a car crash. In 2015, his son Beau – the attorney general of Delaware – died from brain cancer.

Those struggles helped people relate to him. And he responded in kind to people who shared their stories of loss with him.

The Democratic Party aggressively encouraged voters to cast ballots by mail to avoid potentially long, dangerous lines during the pandemic. Trump, meanwhile, fear-mongered about voting by mail, insisting that the election results wouldn’t be legitimate and falsely claiming that the method is ripe for fraud and abuse.

That rhetoric was a problem, and the Republican Party worked to clean up his mess by sending out mailers and robocalls insisting to people that voting by mail was safe – even doctoring Trump’s own tweets to make it seem like the president agreed.

The challenges facing Biden are enormous. He has a steadily growing pandemic and an economy suffering from the fallout, an emboldened racial justice movement that wants to see reform, climate change, a hollowed-out civil service and a fractured country. His policies will no doubt be challenged in the courts, where they will ultimately come up against a US Supreme Court that has a new 6-3 conservative majority.

And he will have to get as much as done as he can without the robust Senate majority for which he had no doubt hoped. Control of the chamber is still up in the air. If it stays in Republican hands, Biden will be the first president since George Bush senior who will take office without his party controlling Congress.

“If Democrats don’t win the Senate, governing in the Biden era will make the post-Tea Party years of the Obama Administration seem idyllic in comparison,” a senior Senate Democratic aide predicted.

Trump will not be disappearing. His campaign has filed lawsuits challenging the results in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

And he’s still the dominant force in the Republican Party with no obvious successor, aside from his own son.

For now, however, he’s what he has always feared the most: a loser.


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