US Democrat Joe Biden took a giant step on Wednesday to capture the White House. The Michigan and Wisconsin victories put him close to the majority, but President Donald Trump responded with a shame claiming mass fraud and stopping the census of votes.
In a brief address on national television, flanked by American flags and Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden said he had not yet declared the victory but said, “When the count is over, we believe we will be the winners.”
By flipping the northern Michigan and Wisconsin battlefields, Biden got 264 votes against 214 for Trump. By adding in the Nevada Six, where he is just ahead, he would hit the magic number of 270 that is required to win the White House.
In stark contrast to Trump’s increasingly heated rhetoric about being betrayed, Biden sought to project calm and reach a nation torn apart by four years of polarizing leadership and traumatized by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I know how deep and harsh the opposing views are in our country on so many things,” said 77-year-old Biden.
“But I also know that: in order to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies. What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything that can tear us apart.”
American presidential elections are not decided by popular vote, but by securing a majority in the state electoral college with 538 members.
U.S. media organizations called Michigan to Biden after taking a lead of nearly 70,000 with 97 percent of the ballots counted. Previously, Biden claimed Wisconsin by a narrower but insurmountable lead.
This, along with Arizona – another Trump state that Biden turned over – put the Democrats within reach of making Trump a president for a term.
The results were still tabulated in Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania – all of them tight competitions, as well as reliably Republican Alaska. Counting was made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic and the number of voting slips sent in, which may take longer to process, was recorded.
Trump claims to have been betrayed
However, 74-year-old Trump unilaterally claimed victory, making it clear that he would not accept the reported results. He made unprecedented fraud complaints that were not supported by any evidence.
“Last night I led often solidly in many key states, in almost all cases where Democrats were led and controlled,” Trump tweeted. “Then, one by one, they magically disappeared as surprise ballot boxes were counted.”
Trump’s campaign announced a lawsuit to try to suspend Michigan vote counting. There, the team was denied proper access to monitor the vote count.
The campaign also sued to stop counting votes in Pennsylvania – after the president overnight called for Supreme Court intervention to prevent postal ballot processing after the election.
And it called for a recount in Wisconsin, citing “irregularities”.
The President’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, spoke to the media in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, accusing the Democrats of filing fraudulent ballots. Nor did he provide any evidence.
“This is the way they want to win,” said Giuliani. “We won’t let them get away with it.”
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said they won in Pennsylvania even though the outcome was still being calculated and declined the call that gave Biden a win in Arizona.
Campaign advisor Jason Miller told journalists that Trump’s re-election “will be clear to the entire nation” by the end of the week.
“We have to be patient”
If a candidate doesn’t reach enough states sooner for an overall victory, the battle could end in Pennsylvania, where the most chaotic scoring process is likely to take place.
Here Trump had a lead of around 500,000 votes, with an estimated 78 percent of the votes counted but votes expected from heavily democratic parts of the state who promised to improve the situation.
“We have to be patient,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “We may not know the results today.
“There are millions of postal ballots,” he said. “They are counted exactly and they are counted in full.”
The Democratic governor, shaking off criticism from the White House for the slow vote, said, “Our democracy will be tested in these elections.”
“Pennsylvania will have fair elections,” he said. “And this choice will be free from outside influences.”
The close race in the White House and the accusations brought back memories of the 2000 election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.
That race, which depended on a handful of votes in Florida, eventually ended in the Supreme Court, which stopped a recount while Bush was ahead.
The US election project estimated the turnout at a record 160 million voters, including more than 101.1 million early voters, of whom 65.2 million voted by mail.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)