Joe Biden beats Trump in race to the White House after winning tipping-point Pennsylvania
Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, has been elected the 46th president of the United States of America. And Kamala Harris will be the country’s first black and Indian-descent vice-president.
Biden, 78, was projected winner of the 2020 White House race by multiple US media organizations at the same time on Saturday, the fifth day of counting, after he took a lead post winning Pennsylvania, the tipping-point state whose 20 Electoral College votes carried the Democrat well past the 270-vote threshold from 264, where he had been for the past two days, to 284.
President Donald Trump, whose tally stood at 214 but may change, will be the first one-term president in 30 years. He was on his golf course when Biden was declared winner.
“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,” President-elect Biden said in a statement, adding, “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.”
But President Trump indicated it was not over. In a statement issued just before Biden’s statement, he said, “We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor. In Pennsylvania, for example, our legal observers were not permitted meaningful access to watch the counting process. Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media.”
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated. The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters. Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access.”
“So what is Biden hiding? I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”
The President has put together a legal team to shepherd the challenges hoping, perhaps, for a repeat of the 2000 recount which gave George W Bush his first term as president. He beat Democrat Al Gore, then the vice-president, in a recount of votes in Florida.
The Trump campaign has called for donations to fund the legal fight. “This Election Isn’t Over,” it has said in texts and mail to supporters. “The President needs YOUR HELP! We can’t allow the Left-wing MOB to undermine our Election. President Trump needs his fiercest and most loyal defenders, like YOU, to step up and FIGHT BACK!”
But the President’s aides and allies in the Republican party are also reportedly trying to prepare him for conceding, while arguing for his right to seek a recount of votes and sue to correct irregularities.
“Mr. Trump’s legacy will be diminished greatly if his final act is a bitter refusal to accept a legitimate defeat,” The Wall Street Journal, a conservative media giant wrote in an editorial on Saturday. “Republican officials will turn away, and eventually so will the American public that wants to see the election resolved.”
Biden, who was at home in Wilmington when news broke of his victory , is expected to make a victory speech later in the day. It was not known if President Trump planned to call him, as has been the practice, but he has demanded recounts in two states and has filed several lawsuits challenging the counting process and has alleged fraud and irregularities.
Biden has indicated he is ready to move on and said in a speech on Friday that he had gone to work already getting updates and briefings on the Covid-19 epidemic.
Biden had continued to increase his lead over Trump in Pennsylvania, when counting resumed on Saturday morning. He was also building on his lead in Georgia (16 electoral college votes), which is headed for a recount as requested by Trump, and in Nevada (6). He is also ahead in Arizona, whose 11 electoral college votes have already been given to him by some news organization, but the President has been chipping away at his lead. Trump leads in North Carolina (15) and Alaska (3).
“My fellow Americans, we don’t have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers tell a clear and convincing story: We are going to win this race,” the former vice-president had said in a speech from his hometown Wilmington, Delaware, late on Friday, with Kamala Harris, his vice-presidential nominee by his side.
“But while we’re waiting for the final results, I want people to know we are not waiting to get to work,” he added.
Biden, who ran on the promise of tackling the Covid-19 epidemic as his top priority, said he and Harris on Thursday met a group of experts on the public health crisis and its impact on the economy. The deadly virus has killed more than 236,000 and infected nearly 9.8 million in the United States, shut down millions of businesses and left millions more jobless. The Democratic nominee went on to reiterate his promise to begin tackling the public health crisis from Day One in office.
Biden acknowledged, however, “Tensions can be high after a tough election like we just had” referring to the acrimony surrounding the counting of votes, as the Trump campaign has launched an aggressive effort to stop counting in states where the President is trailing and allowing it to continue where he is increasing his numbers, such as in Arizona.
He said: “But we need to remain calm. Patient. And let the process work out as we count all the votes. We are proving again what we have proved for 244 years in this country. Democracy works. Your vote will be counted. I don’t care how hard people try to stop it. I will not let it happen.”
The former vice-president, who ran also on the promise of unifying the country, sought to dial down tensions. “Strong disagreements are inevitable in a democracy, and strong disagreements are healthy. They’re a sign of vigorous debate, of deeply held views. But we have to remember: The purpose of our politics isn’t total, unrelenting, unending warfare.”
He added: “We may be opponents — but we are not enemies.”