Joseph R Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States on Friday, bringing an end to one of the most closely-watched presidential elections in recent history. The race proved to be a nail-biter as vote counting continued four days after polls closed and the world anxiously awaited the results of the election. Biden’s victory also caps the tumultuous one-term presidency of Donald Trump, who came to power in a shocking 2016 election on a wave of nationalist momentum.
NBC, CNN and the Associated Press called the race as of Saturday morning. This after Biden raced to a lead of over 30,000 votes or a margin of 0.5% in Pennsylvania, which pushed the former Vice President past the 270 electoral college votes he needed to win the presidency. After the race was called by major networks, Joe Biden promised to be a President for all Americans including those who did not vote for him.
America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 7, 2020
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.
I will keep the faith that you have placed in me. pic.twitter.com/moA9qhmjn8
While early Election Day returns appeared to favour Trump, the numbers shifted in Biden’s favour once counting of mail-in and absentee ballots commenced, as multiple experts had predicted. According to reports, mail-in ballots heavily favoured Biden due to the Democratic Party’s repeated calls for Americans to vote early, while the Trump campaign had urged voters to get out on Election Day.
JOE BIDEN DEFEATS PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP— The Associated Press (@AP) November 7, 2020
The Associated Press declares Joe Biden the winner of a grueling campaign for the American presidency. He will lead a polarized nation through a historic collision of health, economic and social crises. #APracecall pic.twitter.com/lInwqjX3PB
Trump saw early successes on Election Day as he secured Florida and saw gains in multiple key battleground states, such as Pennsylvania and Georgia. However, Wisconsin and Michigan went to Biden, two states that had supported Trump in 2016. The race ultimately came down to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina.
However, as of Saturday morning in the US, Biden took a lead in Pennsylvania by over 30,000 votes, and was leading in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Trump was leading in North Carolina and Alaska, where votes are still being counted.
Biden secured 273 electoral college votes needed to carry him and his running-mate California Senator Kamala Harris to the White House.
Though the race has been called in Biden’s favor, President Trump has not yet conceded defeat and has already taken legal action in several states to challenge the election results. At one point on Thursday, Trump tweeted “STOP THE COUNT,” continuing to allege that the election was being “stolen” from him, despite there being no evidence to support the claim.
As results leaned in Biden’s favour, pro-Trump supporters took to the streets in several cities, some carrying guns, to protest the count.
Biden had served as the 47th vice president of the United States under former President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. Previously, he had served as the US Senator for Delaware.
The Biden-Harris victory comes as the United States is coming to the end of a tumultuous year that has included countrywide Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice and police brutality, an economic downtown with record job losses and the devastation wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic in the United States that recorded the highest number of cases in the world and over 231,000 deaths. Trump has been heavily criticised for his management of the pandemic and insistence that the country was heading towards recovery, even as the US saw single-day spikes in several states.
The country has seen record voter turnout in this year’s election, with nearly 100 million ballots being registered before election day through mail-in ballots and early voting polls that saw Americans spending several hours in long lines snaking around street corners. According to Bloomberg, 157.1 million to 165 million votes were polled this election. According to the US Election Project, the record voter turnout was 66.9%, which is reportedly the highest since 1900.