Democrat Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States, several news outlets projected on Saturday. Kamala Harris will be his vice president. She is the first woman as well as the first person of colour in the post.
A candidate needed 270 electoral votes to win. Biden led the race since Tuesday, with the gap between him and Trump slowly widening over the last five days. On Saturday, the crucial state of Pennsylvania was called for him, putting him on track to win the elections with a total of 273 electoral votes.
Biden is leading in Nevada and Arizona. He also has a razor-thin lead over Donald Trump in Georgia, where a recount will be held as the margin between Trump and Biden was under 0.5% of the vote. Georgia has been a Republican state since 1992, when it elected Democrat President Bill Clinton.
Trump is not expected to concede easily. He has said he will contest the results, but it is unclear whether it will impact the outcome. His campaign pursued a series of lawsuits that Nevada, Georgia and Michigan have quashed.
Trump’s claims of voter fraud
The Trump campaign has consistently claimed election fraud, with Trump even appearing to announce victory early Wednesday. This was before millions of mailed ballots were counted. Trump also filed lawsuits in three states to stop counting of mail-in ballots, but the cases were quashed.
A record number of Americans mailed in their votes this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the US harder than any other country in the world. Mail-in ballots are counted last in many states, including Georgia and Pennsylvania. Analysts had predicted Trump might appear to be ahead in the election before mail-in ballots were counted, since typically most postal ballots are for Democrats. This is what happened, and once Trump’s lead began to lessen as the mail-in ballots were counted, him and his campaign cried foul.
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Obama’s former deputy
Joe Biden was Barack Obama’s vice president from 2008 to 2016, and has sought the Democratic nomination twice before – in 1988 and 2008. The 77-year-old is a six-time senator from Delaware.
Biden has projected himself as a calm and empathetic potential commander-in-chief, in stark contrast against the inexperienced Trump who let the coronavirus pandemic spiral out of control in the country. His campaign has stressed on his experience of over 50 years in public life in the midst of a volatile situation in North America.
While Trump was on course to scrap Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, Biden maintained healthcare was an important issue to him. Tackling racism and the coronavirus were also poll planks for him. The Biden campaign has severely criticised Trump’s inconsistent handling of the pandemic.
On other issues, Biden supports same-sex marriage, protecting women from violence, wants to expand on the Affordable Care Act, and focus on climate change, among other things. Trump’s administration has officially exited the Paris Climate Change Pact, but Biden has promised the US will re-enter it.
He is the oldest US president in history at 77, but if Trump had won, he would have been the oldest too, at 74 years.