Former Vice President Joe Biden is poised to become the 46th president of the U.S. after winning the state of Pennsylvania, according to projections from the Associated Press and other news outlets on Saturday. The announcement comes four days after Election Day, a delay largely attributed to high volumes of mail-in ballots as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden’s projected win marks a historic moment for underrepresented communities in U.S. politics, as his running mate Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will be the first female, Black and South Asian vice president-elect.
Trump and his Republican allies have filed lawsuits in six states, including Georgia, falsely alleging widespread voter fraud. At 9:12 a.m. on Nov. 5, Trump tweeted, “STOP THE COUNT!” and has repeated this sentiment numerous times, creating a divide in the GOP between those who echo falsehoods and those who view his words as dangerous.
News outlets projected Friday that the Senate race between incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Democrat Jon Ossoff will advance to a runoff on Jan. 5, 2021. While Perdue led with 49.8% of the vote, he did not garner over 50% of cast ballots required to win the election outright.
This runoff marks the second in Georgia, as the special election between Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Democrat Raphael Warnock advanced to a runoff following Rep. Doug Collins’ concession on Tuesday. At press time, the projected composition of the U.S. Senate was 48 Republicans to 48 Democrats. With two of the four outstanding Senate races in Georgia, the two runoffs are set to determine whether Republicans will maintain a majority during Biden’s presidency.
Biden also maintains an under 7,000 vote lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia, though the state was not called by press time. Should Biden win Georgia, he would be the first to flip the once-Republican stronghold since 1992. State election officials indicated a high likelihood for a recount on Friday morning.
The former senator and vice president made his first bid for the presidency in 1984 when he was 42 years old. Unsuccessful, he ran for president again in 1988, where he garnered a mere two votes at the Democratic national convention. When he ran for a third time in 2008, he won just 1.4% of the New Hampshire primary vote and dropped out soon after.
Former President Barack Obama later selected Biden as his running mate, and Biden subsequently served as Vice President for the next eight years.
In his fourth time running for president, Biden presented himself as a candidate who could bring a “return to normalcy” and quell an out-of-control pandemic. He separated himself in a field of over 20 Democratic candidates by appealing to nostalgia for the Obama administration. Biden frequently pushed back on progressive policies like Medicare for All and universal free college, instead focusing on a message of unity prior to being named the Democratic presidential nominee.
After poor performances in early primary states Iowa and New Hampshire, Biden’s campaign took a sharp turn following strong support from Black voters in South Carolina, causing other “moderate” competitors to drop out and paving a path to the Democratic nomination.
This election, Biden reconstructed the “blue wall” of states in the northeast, winning Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to do in 2016. The 2020 election is projected to have a 66.4% turnout, which will surpass Obama’s 2008 record-high since the 1960s at 61.6% in 2008. Biden has received the most votes of any president in American history at 74 million, with ballots still outstanding.
Trump faced immense scrutiny over the past several months for his administration’s often-dismissive coronavirus response: at the time of publication, the U.S. had over nine million total COVID-19 cases and 230,000 deaths.
Biden has heavily criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic, telling voters in the Oct. 22 debate that the administration had “people are learning to die with it” due to the Trump administration’s negligence.
An October Gallup study showed that nine in ten Americans believed candidates’ positions on the economy was crucial to their vote. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has seen a major recession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science Alan Abramowitz accredited Biden’s win to demographic shifts and increased support among white women compared to Clinton in 2016. People of color have gradually become a larger share of the American electorate over the past four years, which has political ramifications given that voters of color heavily lean Democratic.
“Republicans are really gonna have a battle at some point, because I don’t think the path they’re on right now, going in this Trump direction and following Trump, is sustainable in an increasingly diverse country,” Abramowitz said.
Young Democrats of Emory celebrated Biden’s win shortly after news broke of Biden’s projected win, sharing on Instagram, “Congrats @joebiden & @kamalaharris! Let’s get to work!”