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US Election 2020

Joe Biden wins election to become 46th President of USA

In his too-close-for-comfort race against the incumbent Donald Trump, Joseph Biden has put a stop to both Trump and his fans’ dreams of four more GOP years.

Joe Biden wins election to become 46th President of USA
REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque ACN

The 2020 US presidential election was truly unlike any other that came before it, marred in its final moments by unbelievable, yet somehow unsurprising and tangibly dangerous claims of election fraud from Trump; as well as “Stop the Steal” protests and “Count the Votes” counter-protests across the country.

We saw serious eleventh-hour interventions across social media networks Twitter, Facebook and YouTube including multiple warnings on blatantly false statements made by Donald Trump and his team as well as the cancelling of Steve Bannon for inciting violence. CNN even called Trump an obese tortoise.

And remember not too long ago when Donald Trump was a super-spreader?

Now it’s all over.

Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to reality TV star turned world leader, Donald “grab ‘em by the pussy” Trump, has - entirely legitimately - won the keys to the White House. He has promised to build on Barack Obama’s legacy and unite America during a time of extraordinary crisis. But many spectators warn that no single leader can save the dangerously divided American people from themselves. At the very least, one can hope that Biden has evaded his worst-case scenario, that Trump could “forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are.” Listen to the President-elect speak on Saturday night.

How did Biden win the presidency? His path to 270 Electoral College votes

Needless to say, he didn’t do it by stealing the election from his rival. Here’s how the final hours played out. What it is important to note at this stage in the process is that the results now being widely reported, including by AS Diario are highly unlikely to change, but are unofficial results. This means that the numbers are subject to certification by each state in several weeks' time. The final vote tallies can slightly shift between this first "unoficial" count and the certified result, but not dramatically.

Following poll closures on Tuesday evening, days of counting went by and the world was still waiting a definitive result from a few key states, where mail-in votes had been submitted this year - owing to the coronavirus pandemic - in their millions. Counting of mail-in ballots in some states was only permitted to begin on Election Day.

Key states in Biden’s victory

In the early hours of Friday morning, according to Reuters and The New York Times, Biden was ahead with 253 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 214, as it had been for much of Thursday too.

Most agencies, apart from AP and Fox News (who share data sources) had not made Biden’s win on Arizona official yet. AP called Arizona for Biden with 80% of the vote counted on Wednesday morning, as did we, so our tally for Biden has long stood at 264 electoral college votes. The states remaining to be counted stood for hours on end until Friday at; Alaska (3 electoral votes), Arizona (11), Georgia (16), Nevada (6), North Carolina (15) and Pennsylvania (20).

Then on Friday morning things started to really turn sour for Trump. His lead narrowed and then disappeared completely in Georgia with Biden suddenly up by under 1,000 votes on Friday. In the poker-hot Pennsylvania, with its golden ticket of 20 electoral college votes, Trump’s lead began to narrow and then in a moment, Pennsylvania suddenly flipped to Biden's favour.

The knockout blow came at 11:30am ET Saturday morning, when Biden won the golden goose of Pennsylvania by over 34,000 votes, and its 20 electoral college votes. Just under two hours later the news came that Biden had also clinched the 6 electoral seats offered by Nevada, by exactly 2%. At the time of writing this leaves Biden with either 279 electoral college votes, discounting his potential victory in Arizona, and with 290 including Arizona, which is still debated between news outlets as it stands.

Democratic campaign strategy: four years in the making

As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outlines in this tweet, the “miraculoussuccesses that the Democrats have seen this election - though not the “blue wave” that was initially predicted - are down to a myriad of factors, including “traditional political investment or electoral strategy”. Democrats, since the moment Trump swept to victory in 2016, have been planning for this moment, reinvigorating the frustrated Democratic base they so sorely lost four years ago.

Among these factors include Biden’s popularity with a large swathe of Hispanic voters (notably barring Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade County, Florida who helped hand Trump the state early Tuesday night), the college-educated "suburban" women and working-class whites that evaded Hillary Clinton before him, as well as tireless campaigns in Georgia (under activists like Stacey Abrams) and Arizona to flip them blue for the first time in years, and win back the "blue wall" which was lost to Trump so recently.

What will happen now that Biden has won the presidency?

It appears unlikely at this point that Donald Trump will go down without a long, ugly fight. If we've learned anything from the last few days' circus, it's that the businessman and alleged predator even more of a sore loser than we could have ever imagined. Given that the president has long refused to agree to a peaceful transfer of power, this next chapter could be very interesting.

His campaign team have been filing court cases left right and centre - with no evidence - ever since polls closed on Tuesday night. The re-election campaign were hinting at a recount in Wisconsin before Biden even won the state, but there’s little hope that the margin of victory there (just over 20,000, and 0.8% of total votes) could be overturned by a recount.

At the time of writing, Trump has lost lawsuits in Georgia and Michigan due to their lack of any legal standing whatsoever. His henchmen of campaign lawyers have been practically laughed out of some courts for their bizarre approaches to try to prove there is anything untoward going on in vote counting processes and mail voting legitimacy. It'sunclear if any of these efforts will make the slightest difference in discarding any significant number of votes in important starts.

At the time of writing Trump has active lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and Georgia.

The path to president: Biden’s political career profile

One of Trump’s main criticisms of Biden throughout his re-election campaign was his experience and his age. It’s demonstrably true that Biden has served in public life for around half a century.

In case you’ve been living in a hole in the ground all year, you’ll know by now that Biden is from Scranton, Pennsylvania; a fact that he utilised to appeal to the white working-class families across the Midwest and in his crucial home, the Rust Belt state. Biden even based his campaign headquarters are in Philadelphia. Biden now lives with his wife in Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden was a six-term senator for Delaware, a reign which began in 1972. He went on to become Barack Obama’s 47th vice president of the United States for two terms. Notably he sought but didn’t win the Democratic nomination for president in both 1988 and 2008.

Biden will turn 78 years old on 20 November, which will make him the oldest president in history on inauguration day in January 2021, a title formerly held by Ronald Reagan, who was 77 when he left office in 1989.

Biden’s personal history is peppered with tragedy, a fact which is has willingly been the spotlight a lot; Biden links his adversities to his passion for accessible healthcare in the US. He lost his first wife and infant daughter in a car accident in 1972. Then in 2015, his son Beau Biden died of brain cancer.

Biden’s living son Hunter Biden was unsuccessfully used by Republicans as a pawn to damage Biden’s chances as the presidential race heated up this fall, over rumours that Hunter was integral in linking Joe Biden to a Ukranian energy company. Biden called it a “smear campaign.”  

Biden’s presidential campaign promises

What Biden will be able to do with the next four years depends on remaining Senate election results. If Democrats manage to flip the Senate blue, it will be a mandate, and make it fair easier to pass major legislation. The race for control of the upper chamber  is far from over, with many saying some seats could be contested until January. Republicans currently have a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate and seem to be on course to retain control, with a loss so far of one seat, but if Democrats end up gaining both seats in Georgia, this would lead to a 50-50 tie.

There are hints that he may expand the Supreme Court, and has suggested appointing a bipartisan commission to examine whether an overhaul is needed to the judiciary.

Several definite promises have been made by Biden's campaign regarding the economy, tackling coronavirus and on Medicare.

Concerns during the presidential campaign focused in part of whether Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris want to ban fracking. It’s not clear whether any significant changes will be made in reality, but we do know that in his policy the aim is to ban "new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters," not to end all new fracking or to end all existing fracking on public lands and waters. The government does not have jurisdiction over fracking on private land. 

Biden has also promised to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, after the Trump administration effectively withdrew from the agreement on 4 November 2020.

Electoral College current state wins for Biden and Trump

States won so far by Democrat Joe Biden:

California - 55
New York - 29
Illinois - 20
Pennsylvania - 20
Michigan - 16
New Jersey - 14
Virginia - 13
Washington - 12
Arizona- 11*
Massachusetts - 11
Minnesota - 10
Maryland - 10
Wisconsin - 10
Colorado - 9
Connecticut - 7
Oregon - 7
New Mexico - 5
Nevada - 6
Hawaii - 4
New Hampshire - 4
Rhode Island - 4
Delaware - 3
District of Columbia - 3
Vermont - 3
Maine - 3
Nebraska - 1

Overall so far: 290 electoral votes obtained by Biden
*Arizona has been called as a win for Biden at the time of writing by AP and a few other agencies, but other news outlets are saying it's still too close to call.

States won so far by Republican incumbent Donald Trump

Texas - 38
Florida - 29
Ohio - 18
Indiana - 11
Tennessee - 11
Missouri - 10
Alabama - 9
South Carolina - 9
Kentucky - 8
Louisiana - 8
Mississippi - 6
Oklahoma - 7
Iowa - 6
Arkansas - 6
Kansas - 6
Utah - 6
Nebraska - 4
West Virginia - 5
Idaho - 4
Montana - 3
North Dakota - 3
South Dakota - 3
Wyoming - 3
Maine - 1

Overall so far: 214 electoral votes obtained by Trump.

There is no way of Trump reaching 270 electoral votes at this point and therefore forfeits the presidency. He has not conceded the win yet.