(US election) Biden inches closer to possible election victory with Trump still leading in major battleground states

November 5, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, were locked in a surprisingly close race a day after the presidential election as Biden came from behind Wednesday to hold razor-thin leads in several battleground states.

The former vice president was projected to have secured at least 253 electoral votes, just 17 short of the 270 needed to win the White House as of 8 p.m.

The reading marks an increase of 16 from earlier in the day as Biden has since been projected to win Michigan, one of six battleground states that were all won by Trump in 2016 that also include Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump was projected to have won 213 electoral votes, unchanged from earlier Wednesday.

Biden is also projected to take Wisconsin, while he maintains a lead in Arizona, which if won, would leave him only six votes shy of the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

Biden expressed confidence that he will emerge victorious but stopped short of declaring victory, saying, “Every vote must be counted” and that he will not do so until the count is finished.

“It’s clear that we’re winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency,” he told the press conference.

Trump currently leads in the three other battleground states — Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Biden came from behind in both Michigan and Wisconsin to take the narrow but meaningful leads in the states that voted red four years ago.

He was also closely trailing Trump in Georgia while leading in Nevada. His victory in either state would carry him over the finish line.

The last-minute flip by Biden came after Trump prematurely declared victory in a White House press conference only hours after all polling closed in what had widely been suspected to become one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent history.

“We were ready to win. Frankly, we did win this election,” he said in a White House press conference.

His claim of victory, however, was quickly met by criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

“Stop. Full stop. The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose. And America will accept that. Patience is a virtue,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) tweeted.

Biden, speaking at a press conference in Delaware earlier, said it was not up to him or Trump to declare who has won the election.

“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election. It’s the voters’ place,” the former vice president said.

The Trump campaign filed lawsuits to have vote counting halted in Michigan and Pennsylvania, alleging irregularities of what he and his campaign called “ballot dumping” and limited access to ballot counting venues for Republican pollsters.

“How come every time they count mail-in ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?” Trump tweeted.

“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key states, in almost all instances Democrat run and controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. Very strange, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely and historically wrong,” he added.

The Trump campaign later said it has also filed a lawsuit to have vote counting halted in Georgia, while it said it will demand a recount of votes in Wisconsin soon after the state certifies its initial count, possibly at the start of next month.

About 150 million, or 62 percent, of the roughly 240 million eligible American voters were estimated to have cast their ballots in the election, marking the highest voter turnout since 1908, when the turnout rate stood at 65.7 percent.

A record number of more than 101 million Americans voted early — over 65 million by mail and more than 35 million in early, in-person voting.

Unlike in past elections, however, the winner of Tuesday’s presidential election may not be declared for days, if not weeks, partly because of the record number of mail-in votes.

Many states do not allow the counting of mail-in ballots until after the end of the election, while some accept late-arriving mail-in votes that are postmarked by the day of the election.

The race between Trump and Biden is also being closely watched by many countries, including South Korea, as the stark difference between their views on nearly every issue points to drastic changes in how the U.S. will interact with the rest of the world over the next four years.

Trump has vowed to continue putting “America first” as the world’s most powerful nation continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.

The worst pandemic in decades, and possibly in U.S. history, has consumed nearly all campaign efforts, and whoever wins the election will face a daunting task of keeping Americans safe from the novel virus and preventing the economy from falling into a deep recession.

As of Sunday, more than 9.1 million Americans have been infected by the new coronavirus, while more than 234,000 have died from the infectious disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both numbers account for around 20 percent of global tallies, while Americans account for only about 3 percent of the world population.

Biden says he will begin to tackle the pandemic from the very first day of his presidency, if elected, but also notes one of the first things he will do as president is to restore his country’s leadership in the international community.

The former vice president accuses Trump of undermining the country’s relationship with other countries, especially its traditional allies, with his America First policy.

Also at stake in Tuesday’s election were 35 Senate seats, as well as all 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

Trump’s Republican Party currently has a majority of Senate seats but is defending 23 of the 35 seats up for grabs.

The Democratic Party needs to take four or more seats, in addition to the 12 seats it is defending, for a Senate majority.

The liberal party currently holds a House majority of 232 seats over 197 held by the conservative party.

The winner of the presidential election will be sworn in on Jan. 20 but may face difficulties for years to come without a majority in either house of Congress.