Democratic candidate Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., was elected the 46th President of the United States on November 7, beating incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump, by securing more than the required 270 of 538 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.
Mr. Biden’s running mate, Kamala Devi Harris , a U.S. Senator from California, will become the first woman and first Indian- and African-American Vice-President of the country. Mr. Biden will inherit, from President Trump, a deeply divided country, battered by the coronavirus pandemic , facing high levels of unemployment and fraying race relations.
As news outlets — such as CNN, the Associated Press, and the New York Times — started projecting Mr. Biden as the winner, celebratory shouts, car horns and festive music was heard on the streets of Washington D.C. as Americans had waited more than three full days to hear who their next President would be. Similar celebrations were reported in other cities across the country including New York.
The win came as Mr. Biden, who was at 253 electoral college votes going into November 7, as per most news agencies, was projected to win Pennsylvania — a gain of 20 electoral votes. The Democratic candidate was ahead by over 34,000 votes in Pennsylvania on November 7 morning — too large a gap for Mr. Trump to bridge, based on the fact that the majority of mail-in ballots tend to be Democratic and based on the number of ballots Republican and Democratic counties had left to count.
Mr. Biden was also leading Mr. Trump, who had 214 electoral votes going into November 7, in other key swing States. Mr. Biden led Arizona (11 electoral votes) by more than 20,000 votes; Nevada (6) by over 25,000 votes; Georgia — which is likely heading for a recount — by over 7,000 votes. Mr. Trump led in North Carolina by over 76,000 votes.
“America, I’m honoured 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,” Mr. Biden said on Twitter, in his first public reaction to the news.
On Friday night, Mr. Biden had stopped short of giving a victory speech, but delivered remarks about the need to bring the country together.
“This election is about so much more than @JoeBiden or me. It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started,” Ms. Harris Tweeted.
The Vice-President-elect posted a video of herself calling [apparently] Mr. Biden. “We did it…we did it, Joe. You’re going to be the next President of the United States,” she says in the video.
Ms. Harris was born to Shyamala Gopalan , a biologist who immigrated to California from Chennai. Ms. Harris has spoken of her visits to Chennai [ then Madras] and taking long walks with her grandfather P.V. Gopalan on Eliot’s Beach.
"Imagining a young Shyamala Gopalan leaving Chennai to come to the U.S., and only one generation later, her daughter becoming the vice president, is a story for the ages,” M R Rangaswami who runs Indian diaspora organisation, Indiaspora told The Hindu.
‘For all Americans’
“They’ve [Americans] given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism. They made it clear they want the country to come together, not continue to pull apart,” Mr. Biden said on November 6 night before he was projected to be the winner. The former Vice-President said he would work as hard for those who voted for him as he would for those who did not.
He talked about how Democrats had rebuilt “the blue wall” [winning Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania] and how 74 million Americans had voted for him. Mr. Biden won Michigan and Wisconsin, where Mr. Trump may seek a recount.
The turnout in the 2020 elections — expected to be over 70% — is the highest in decades, with Mr. Biden receiving about 74 million votes, the highest in history, and Mr. Trump receiving 70 million, the second highest in history.
The Trump campaign mounted close to a dozen legal challenges across the country in various courts to either stop ballot counting or provide Republican observers greater access to ballot counting centres (such as in Pennsylvania). However, their attempts have met with little success. Allegations and suggestions of voter fraud, including by the President and his sons, as well as top Trump campaign officials and a few Republican lawmakers, have not been backed by evidence.
Mr. Trump’s timeline on Twitter had a series of tweets covered by Twitter labels saying the tweets might be misleading with regard to the electoral process.
“I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” Mr. Trump tweeted on November 7 before the news agencies had publicly called the results.
The Trump campaign had filed a case in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to exclude ballots that arrived after November 3 from the count in Pennsylvania [the highest court in Pennsylvania had permitted ballots to be counted provided they were postmarked by November 3 and arrived by November 6]. On Friday evening, Justice Samuel Alito ordered the state to separate late ballots from others — but this was already being done by Pennsylvania and not likely to impact the overall outcome for the state.
“I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote,” former U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement about Mr. Biden.
“So I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support,” he said.
Mr. Biden is scheduled to speak at 8 pm Eastern Time on Saturday night.