Democratic nominee Joe Biden will become the president-elect of the United States by defeating incumbent Republican President Donald Trump, according to a projection by Heavy’s partners at Decision Desk HQ . Biden, who served as President Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2017 and represented Delaware in the Senate from 1973 to 2009, will be the 46th president, according to Decision Desk HQ’s projection. California Senator Kamala Harris will become vice president.
Biden was first projected to win his native Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes the morning of Friday, November 6, after he took the lead over Trump by a margin there of 3,295,373 votes to 3,289,959. With that call by Decision Desk HQ at 8:54 a.m., Biden moved to a projected Electoral College lead of 273 to 214. Biden could still also win Electoral College votes in Nevada, Arizona and Georgia. CNN, NBC News, CBS News, Fox News and other major media outlets caught up to Decision Desk HQ and matched the presidential race call Saturday morning, with CNN calling the race just before 11:30 a.m. and the others following soon after.
“I will govern as an American president,” Biden said on November 4. “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.” He added, “If we had any doubts, we shouldn’t have any longer about a government of, by and for the people. Power can’t be taken or asserted – it flows from the people, it is their will that determines who will be the president of the United States, and their will alone.”
The 77-year-old seemed destined for retirement and a cushy gig at Penn State University while writing books, speaking around the country and spending time with his wife, Jill Biden, children, Hunter and Ashley, and his five grandchildren, after leaving the White House in 2017. But Trump’s election and time in office drew Biden, who had two failed bids for the presidency in 2008 and 1988, back into the fray, as he entered the crowded Democratic primary in April 2019. Biden, who endured the losses of his wife and young daughter in a car crash and the death of his adult son to cancer during a life forged by tragedy, emerged as a candidate whose message of unity, compassion and understanding resonated with many voters amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that has raged in 2020 and four years of intense political division and racial unrest.
Trump, 74, entered the election seeking to hold onto the presidency after four years of turmoil and controversy, including surviving impeachment by the House of Representatives and a Senate trial in late 2019. That impeachment was centered around accusations Trump had tried to use his office to bribe foreign officials in Ukraine to help him take down Biden, who was expected to be a frontrunner against Trump if he became the Democratic nominee for president. Trump has been flanked in the election by his vice president, former Indiana governor Mike Pence, one of the few mainstays in Trump’s four-year administration.
Trump will not be conceding. His campaign issued a statement from its general counsel, Matt Morgan, saying, “This election is not over. The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final.”
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Bloomberg News, “As we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
Biden battled through a crowded Democratic primary field to earn the party’s nomination for president four years after Hillary Clinton was defeated by Trump. Biden, seen by many Democrats as a safe candidate, was able to defeat Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in a come-from-behind effort after winning the South Carolina primary in February. Biden picked Harris as his running mate, putting her in position to be the country’s first Black vice president and first woman to hold the office.
Biden will win the popular vote by a wide margin, picking up the most votes in history, with more than 72 million votes. Trump will finish with more than 68 million votes. Biden will win the key battleground states of Wisconsin and Michigan. He also picked up key electoral college votes in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and could earn additional Electoral College votes in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, where votes are still being counted. Trump won the swing states of Florida and Ohio and also secured Texas, where Democrats had hoped to pull off an upset. He is ahead in North Carolina and Alaska, the only other two un-called states.
If Biden holds on in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, where he is leading, he will win the Electoral College vote by a margin of 306 to 223. Trump won by the same margin in 2016 over Clinton.
While Decision Desk HQ has projected Biden to win both the popular vote and the Electoral College, the fight for the presidency will continue. Trump and his campaign plan to wage legal battles in at least Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona, seeking to invalidate early voting numbers that heavily favor Biden. Trump and his supporters spent much of Wednesday and Thursday casting doubt on the election results.
Trump said on Twitter, “How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?” He also claimed, without evidence, that Democrats were creating votes to make up gaps in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and elsewhere.
Biden said Wednesday, “No one’s going to take our democracy away from us — not now, not ever.” His campaign spokesperson, Andrew Bates, added about the legal challenges from the rival campaign, “What makes these charades especially pathetic is that while Trump is demanding recounts in places he has already lost, he’s simultaneously engaged in fruitless attempts to halt the counting of votes in other states in which he’s on the road to defeat.”
On Thursday, Trump spoke at the White House and said, “If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.” There is no evidence illegal votes have been counted, and the votes Trump says came in late were actually early and mail-in votes received legally.
Trump also said, again without evidence, that he has “decisively” won the election, but “big media” and “big tech” are working with Democrats to steal the election. He also falsely claimed he was leading early, when he was only winning because the votes hadn’t been counted, and said early voting is corrupt, when there is no evidence of widespread early voting fraud.
“They’re trying to rig the election and we can’t let that happen,” Trump said with no evidence. “There have been a lot shenanigans and we can’t stand for that in America.” The president added that he believes judges will decide the outcome of the election.
Trump Falsely Claimed He Had Won the Election & It Was Being Stolen From Him During an Early Morning Speech, While Biden Told His Supporters to ‘Keep the Faith’
After Decision Desk HQ’s projection, Trump campaign general counsel Matt Morgan said in a statement, “Georgia is headed for a recount, where we are confident we will find ballots were improperly harvested, and where President Trump will ultimately prevail. There were irregularities in Pennsylvania, including having election officials prevent our volunteer legal observers from having meaningful access to vote counting locations.”
Morgan added, “We prevailed in court on our challenge, but were deprived of valuable time and denied the transparency we are entitled to under state law. In Nevada, there appear to be thousands of individuals who improperly cast mail ballots. Finally, the president is on course to win Arizona outright, despite the irresponsible and erroneous ‘calling’ of the state for Biden by Fox News and the Associated Press. Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected.”
There is no evidence to back up the Trump campaign’s claims and experts say there is nothing they can legally do to invalidate Biden’s win. Biden’s win in Pennsylvania means the Nevada and Arizona claims by the Trump campaign are irrelevant even if true.
Biden addressed supporters in Delaware early Wednesday morning, saying, “We feel good about where we are, we really do. I’m here to tell you tonight we believe we’re on track to win this election.” Biden told his supporters to “keep the faith,” adding, “We knew, because of the unprecedented early vote and the mail-in vote, it was gonna take a while.” Biden said they would need to be patient until, “the hard work of tallying votes is finished, and it ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”
Trump spoke at the White House after Biden, falsely claiming he had already won the election and that Democrats would be trying to steal the election. Speaking from the East Room, Trump called the election situation a “major fraud in our nation” and said, “to me, this is a very sad moment and we will win this. And as far as I’m concerned, we already have.”
Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, responded in a statement, “The counting will not stop. It will not stop until every duly cast vote is counted. Because that is what our laws — the laws that protect every Americans’ constitutional right to vote — require.” Dillon added the campaign has “legal teams standing by ready to deploy” to fight Trump’s efforts in court.
COVID-19 & Early Voting Had a Dramatic Impact on the 2020 Presidential Race
The dynamics of the 2020 presidential election were dramatically altered by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 100 million Americans had already voted through absentee or mail-in ballots before Election Day, with some states reaching the total turnout of the 2016 election before November 3. According to NPR, twice as many early votes were cast in 2020 as in 2016.
Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who runs the U.S. Elections Project voting tracker, told NPR, “We continue to pile on votes at a record pace. We’ve already passed any raw number of early votes in any prior election in U.S. history. It’s good news, because we were very much concerned about how it would be possible to conduct an election during a pandemic. Instead, what appears to be happening is people are voting earlier and spreading out the workload for election officials.”
The election was pushed by both Republicans and Democrats as the most important in modern history, with each side saying that the winner will define the political state of America for decades.
Trump told supporters at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on the eve of Election Day, “I have been under siege illegally for three-and-a-half years. I wonder what it would be like if we didn’t have all of this horrible stuff. We’d have a very, very calm situation. People see that we fight and I’m fighting for you. I’m fighting to survive. You have to survive.” Trump stopped himself mid-sentence during his closing argument to voters, saying, “This isn’t about — yeah, it is about me, I guess, when you think about it.”
According to The Associated Press, Biden said in Pittsburgh earlier in the day, “We’re done with the chaos, we’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility.” In Pittsburgh, Biden told voters, “Now it’s my last stop before Election Day — because you represent the backbone of this country. Hard-working families who are asking for nothing but a fair shot and an even chance. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”
Trump Rallied His Supporters in Virginia on Election Day, Saying ‘Winning Is Easy … Losing Is Never Easy,’ While Biden Visited His Childhood Home in Scranton & Left a Message on the Wall
On Election Day, both Trump and Biden made final pitches to voters and pushed their supporters to get out and vote. Trump made an appearance at the Republican party headquarters in Virginia before settling in at the White House with his advisers and family. Trump said in Virginia, “I think we’re going to have a great night, but it’s politics and it’s elections and you never know,” according to The Associated Press. Trump added, “Winning is easy. Losing is never easy,” he said. “Not for me it’s not.”
During an early morning call to Fox & Friends, Trump predicted a wider margin of victory in the Electoral College than in 2016, when he beat Clinton 306 votes to 232. Trump warned, “Our country could never be the same country if they win,” saying Biden would be controlled by the left wing of the party. “Joe’s going to have a hard time, he’s not going to be able to handle them. Joe Biden will never call the shots and if he does he’s not going to be there very long.”
Biden spent the day in familiar territory, in key swing state Pennsylvania, where he was born. He toured his childhood home in his native Scranton and scrawled a note on the wall, “from this house to the White House with the grace of God,” echoing a similar moment in 2008 when he also visited the house before he and Barack Obama were elected. Earlier in the day, Biden went to church in his home state of Delaware, where he served as senator for several decades. The church he visited is where his son, Beau Biden, first wife, Neilia Biden, and daughter, Naomi Biden, are buried.
Biden told voters in Philadelphia on Election Day, “I’m confident that people who didn’t vote last time are showing up to vote, and I feel good about Pennsylvania,” the local NBC affiliate reported. Biden added, “As goes Philly, so goes the state of Pennsylvania!”
Biden Led in the Polls Against Trump From 2017 Through Election Day
Biden entered Election Day leading in the national polls, as he has been since November 2017, when the first poll of the 2020 election cycle was taken. According to FiveThirtyEight, Biden was the favorite to win the election. The site wrote on November 3, “At the end of a loooooong campaign, here’s where we stand: Joe Biden is favored to beat President Trump (though Trump still has a 1-in-10 chance).” According to FiveThirty Eight:
The overall electoral environment favors Democrats, which is one reason they have decent odds of controlling the presidency, Senate and House (a 72 percent chance, according to our forecast). Of course, there’s always the chance of a polling error, which tends to be correlated from state to state when it happens. Trump needs a bigger-than-normal error in his favor, but the real possibility that polls are underestimating Trump’s support is why he still has a path to win reelection. A 10 percent chance of winning is not a zero percent chance. In fact, that is roughly the same odds that it’s raining in downtown Los Angeles. And it does rain there. (Downtown L.A. has about 36 rainy days per year, or about a 1-in-10 shot of a rainy day.)
The influx of early voting has impacted when the results of the election will be known, with some states expecting to be counting votes days after the election.
“From our perspective at Decision Desk HQ, we are ready to collect the data as long as officials across the country are providing it and we won’t be rushing to make any calls because of artificial deadlines,” DDHQ’s Drew McCoy told Heavy. “Our calls are based on our ability to collect the necessary data as accurately and quickly as possible. Once we have sufficient data, our call team will make the call. Until then, we’ll keep collecting the data we need.”