Democratic candidate Joe Biden has secured 284 Electoral College votes to win the presidential race in a highly contentious and bitterly divisive election season.
The election was marked by rancor, misinformation, and brewing court challenges by incumbent President Donald Trump, who won 214 votes.
Jake Tapper of CNN says Philadelphia delivered the margin of victory for Biden, thereby allowing the network to call the battleground state of Pennsylvania for Biden, giving him 284 electoral votes and the presidency.
AP has also called Pennsylvania in Biden’s favor. As of 11:30 a.m. EST Nov. 7, Biden was leading Trump by 4 million in popular vote.
Trump prematurely claimed victory over Pennsylvania following the elections after surging to a 675,000 vote lead on Nov. 4. But wire agencies, such as the AP, determined that the close margin and the large number of outstanding votes made the state count too close to call.
The Keystone State, which is Biden’s birth place, prohibits in its state law counting mail-in ballots until Election Day. But once the mail-in ballots were counted, Biden steadily built up a lead in a state that Democrats claim as part of their “blue wall.” In 2016, however, Trump won the state by a slim margin against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s defeat is the first time in nearly three decades that an incumbent US president lost his re-election bid. The last time was when Republican President George H.W. Bush failed to secure a second term when he was defeated by Democratic candidate Bill Clinton in 1992. Of the 45 US presidents to date, Trump is now the 11th to have lost a re-election campaign.
The 2020 US presidential elections were held under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to record numbers of mail-in ballots as well as pre-election day voting; fever-pitch racial tensions that erupted int riots last summer; and incumbent president Trump's insistence that the elections will be rigged, undermining public confidence in the proceedings.
A few hours after polling closed when Biden started to build a lead but with still millions of votes left to be counted, Trump spoke publicly and falsely claimed a victory amid unfounded allegations of fraud. Trump, without providing any detail or evidence, said that his lawyers will take the case to the Supreme Court.
“We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said. “This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the Supreme Court. We want voting to stop.”
The 77-year old Biden has largely cast the elections as a referendum on the Trump administration’s bungled management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed 235,000 lives and recorded over 9 million cases in the US.
A day before the elections, Biden bared his optimism that he would coast toward a convincing win. “I have a feeling we’re coming together for a big win,” Biden said in Pennsylvania.