Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is projected to be the next president of the United States based on election analysis by the Associated Press, defeating incumbent President Donald Trump in what proved to be one of the most brutal campaigns in modern history, throughout which Biden vowed to heal the nation’s deep divisions and respond forcefully and responsibly to Covid-19 pandemic.
• The Associated Press called the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania for Biden on Saturday after late-counted absentee ballots gave him a come-from-behind victory, also calling Nevada for him shortly after.
• Biden’s path to 270 electoral votes was paved through Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, which Trump won after decades of Democratic dominance, leaving some Democrats to question whether their path to the presidency in future elections would still run through the Midwest.
• But if Biden proved Democrats could win traditional Democratic states, he also blazed the beginnings of a new trail for Democrats by putting Arizona in the blue column for the first time since 1996, and he’s on track to be the first Democrat to win Georgia since 1992.
• The result caps off an election defined by its ugliness, with Trump launching attacks on Biden’s physical and mental health, intelligence, record and even his family while calling for him to be investigated, prosecuted and imprisoned by the federal government.
• Biden for his part rode a wave of anti-Trump sentiment by excoriating Trump’s record as president, most notably by seizing on the 232,000 U.S. deaths from coronavirus and alleging Trump had failed to adequately respond to the pandemic.
• But even as he clashed with Trump, Biden pledges to voters that in the aftermath of the campaign he would seek to heal partisan wounds and govern not as a Democrat, but as “a president for all Americans,” even those who disagreed with him.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1942 and raised in Delaware, Biden attended the University of Delaware and Syracuse University Law School, briefly practicing law before entering local Delaware politics as a New Castle County Councilman. Biden was elected to the U.S. senate from Delaware in 1972, defeating a three-term Republican incumbent at age 29 to become the youngest senator in the country – so obscure on the national stage that NBC News anchor Garrick Utley mistakenly called him “James Biden.” Biden served for 36 years in the Senate, including stints as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees, and ran for president in 1988 and 2008 before serving as President Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2017. In addition to his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, Biden has two children, Hunter and Ashley, and seven grandchildren.
Biden won endorsements from hundreds of prominent Republicans and former GOP officials, such as former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the family of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, GOP mega-donor Meg Whitman and former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. Even a handful of Trump officials endorsed Biden, including former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci and former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor.
“It’s been a long and difficult campaign, but it’s been a more difficult time for our country, Biden said in a speech on Wednesday, before the race was called for him, calling to “put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us” and “respect and care for one another, to unite, to heal, to come together,” a common theme of his campaign. “I know this won’t be easy. I’m not naive. Neither of us are. I know how deep and hard the opposing views are in our country on so many things. But I also know this as well. 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.”
“I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” Trump tweeted an hour before the election was called for Biden. Shortly afterwards, his campaign put out a statement claiming “the simple fact is this election is far from over” and vowing legal action.
Trump is the first president to lose reelection since 1992, when Republican President George H.W. Bush lost to Democrat Bill Clinton. At 77 years old, Biden will be the oldest president in American history. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), will be the first woman, the first Black American and the first Asian American to serve as vice president.
306. That’s the number of electoral votes Biden is on track to win if he maintains his lead in Nevada and Georgia. Trump won the same exact number of electoral votes in 2016, which he described as a “massive landslide victory.”
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
An uncalled Senate race in North Carolina and two runoffs in Georgia set for Jan. 5 will determine whether Biden comes into office with a Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress. Given the sheer scale of his proposals – including a $2 trillion climate plan, a public health care option and a second coronavirus stimulus package – Democratic control of Congress would be critical for Biden to enact some of his key priorities and to get his desired cabinet secretaries and appointees confirmed, as well as to fill judicial vacancies.
-By Andrew Solender,Forbes Staff