AGENCIES, Washington: Joseph Robinette Biden has defeated Donald Trump to become the 46th US President, unseating the incumbent with a pledge to unify and mend a nation reeling from a worsening pandemic, faltering economy and deep political divisions.
Biden’s victory came after the Associated Press, CNN and NBC showed him winning Pennsylvania and gaining more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the presidency. Trump sought to undermine the outcome, baselessly accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election and claiming victory before the race was called.
Biden’s running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, 56, becomes the first Black and Indian-American woman to serve as Vice-President, a glimpse at a coming generational shift in the party.
America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country.
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
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 7, 2020
Biden, 77, will become the oldest President-elect in US history and the first to oust a sitting commander-in-chief after one term since Bill Clinton defeated George H W Bush in 1992.
Biden won 284 Electoral College votes, according to the AP, which earlier had called Arizona for the Democrat. Several other networks have yet to call Arizona, leaving Biden with 273 Electoral College votes in their counts, still plenty to claim the presidency.
But the incoming President’s goal of uniting the country will be made more difficult by Trump’s unfounded allegations of fraud and with control of the US Senate up in the air, awaiting two runoffs in Georgia in January.
If Republicans hold the Senate, Biden’s agenda of tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations and climate-friendly energy policies could be stymied in Congress. Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives.
Biden won back the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — the so-called Blue Wall that delivered the presidency to Trump in 2016. Buoyed by historic turnout, Biden reaped 4 million more votes than Trump nationwide, as of Saturday morning, winning at least 74 million votes to Trump’s 70 million.
Trump sought to cast doubt on the outcome, claiming widespread voting irregularities without evidence and filing lawsuits to contest the ballot count in some key states where he was behind.
“I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning. He was at Trump National Golf Club Washington, DC, in Sterling, Virginia, when the networks called the race for Biden.
I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2020
So far, none of Trump’s lawsuits have gained traction or demonstrated that the results of the election can be overturned.
Biden pulled together enough support to sweep aside one of the most unconventional and polarizing Presidents in US history, a man who cultivated a fierce loyalty among his supporters — they had taken to chanting, ‘We love you!’ at his campaign rallies — while equating his political rivals and the media to enemies of the state.
Given how close Biden’s margins were, Trump might have won a second term if not for his widely criticized response to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout. The President routinely mused at rallies how he had the election won before the virus reached the US earlier this year.
Trump consistently downplayed the threat of the virus and discouraged even the simplest public health measures to curb its spread, turning mask-wearing into a political issue. For voters, seeing Trump, his wife and his youngest son infected with Covid-19 in early October punctuated his failure to protect the nation as a whole.