After days of uncertainty amid concurrent global crises, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was declared the winner of the closely-watched contest that denied President Donald Trump a second term Saturday morning, after votes tallied in the battleground state of Pennsylvania pushed Biden over the 270 electoral vote threshold.
According to NBC News: "The former vice president amassed 273 Electoral College votes after winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electors, according to NBC News, surpassing the 270 needed to win the White House and defeat President Donald Trump."
The Associated Press, which put both Arizona and Pennsylvania in Biden's column, also called the race:
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 7, 2020
The determination in Pennsylvania put Biden at 273 electoral votes to Trump's 214—a deficit the president has no way of overcoming even as five other states—Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina—continue to process their results. Adding Arizona's eleven electortal to Biden's column, put his electoral count to 284.
Shortly after the news broke, Biden said in a tweet addressed to the nation that he was "honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country."
"The work ahead of us will be hard," he added, "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 place in me."
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
Progressives immediately celebrated Biden's victory and expressed elation over Trump's pending departure.
"This nightmare is coming to an end. Despite every attempt to silence our voices and block our vote, the will of the people won," declared George Goehl, director of the grassroots advocacy group People's Action.
"We, the voters, decided this!" said Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, North America director for 350 Action, in a statement when the news broke. "By working together, our unapologetic movement for people and planet has been steadfast and patient as our votes were counted. People power stood up to Donald Trump's fascist vision for America and elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris into the White House. The government we chose must be sworn in because this is the people's democracy."
The fall of tyrants must be celebrated, it's a human right! Profound thanks to all the grassroots groups who did deep organizing to make this happen and who will be pushing hard every day for the new admin to do whatever it takes to get us all to safety.
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) November 7, 2020
The subject line in an email from the Sunrise Movement was expressive: "We fucking did it."
"Excuse my language," said the group's executive director Varshini Prakash, "but we fucking did it. It's official. We WON."
We have not only voted out the most corrupt, dangerous president in modern history but have the opportunity to carry out the most progressive agenda our country has ever seen.
Let’s get to work!
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 7, 2020
"We won. And this is a big win," said María Urbina, acting co-executive director and national political director of Indivisible. "A record number of voters turned out amidst a pandemic to express the will of the people, and to put a historic ticket in the White House by clear margins. Come January, we'll move forward together to swear in a President and Vice President who are serious about governing and will be expected to deliver on an agenda of dignity and justice for all."
"Together," Urbina added, "we can make good on the promise of an America that works for all of us, that prioritizes the most vulnerable, and that ensures we can all live with dignity. For now, we celebrate. This victory belongs to all of us."
Biden's victory comes in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and related economic crisis, a monthslong national reckoning over systemic racism, seemingly endless U.S. war, and the global climate emergency. There have been more than 9.7 million Covid-19 cases and nearly 236,000 deaths in the United States out of over 49 million infections and 1.24 million deaths worldwide.
On top of that is the broader crisis of Trump's presidency, which has featured rollbacks of environmental and public health protections at the behest of deep-pocketed polluters, a "pro-corporate, anti-worker agenda," efforts to degrade the rights of historically marginalized groups, inhumane immigration policies—including forcibly separating migrant children from their parents at the border—and constant lies.
Since Election Day, Trump has escalated his attacks on American democracy by falsely declaring victory early Wednesday, tweeting disinformation about the election, and delivering on Thursday evening what one reporter called "the most dishonest speech he has ever given." His campaign has also filed multiple lawsuits this week related to the race, validating pre-election warnings that he would try to steal the vote to retain power.
The president's actions sparked nationwide demonstrations demanding election officials "count every vote." Amid fears that Trump may refuse to concede, Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement on Friday that "the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House."
Citizens across the country are asked officials to ‘count every vote’ after Trump and his supporters called for counting to stop in several key states pic.twitter.com/pRf2u86g7k
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 6, 2020
Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1942, Biden studied history and political science at the University of Delaware then earned a law degree at Syracuse University. After practicing law as a public defender and at a firm, and entering local politics in Delaware's New Castle County, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972.
Biden represented Delaware in the Senate for nearly four decades—with stints chairing the Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees—before serving as vice president for both terms of President Barack Obama's administration. After declining to run in 2016, Biden beat 27 primary competitors to secure the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Biden's running mate, was among his primary competitors. Born in 1964, Harris hails from Oakland, California. After graduating from Howard University, she earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings. She was district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. She will be the first woman, as well as the first Black and South Asian American, to serve as vice president.
Since Biden selected Harris in August, progressives have pledged to continue engaging with the pair and pushing them to embrace bold, popular policies including Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. As climate campaigners have pressured Biden and Harris to pursue more ambitious proposals, they have also emphasized that "Trump's climate policies are a raging dumpster fire." On Wednesday, the U.S. ditched the 2015 Paris climate agreement at Trump's direction; Biden has vowed to reenter the accord.
While progressives—including former primary rivals Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—have rallied behind Biden's bid to oust Trump, the future president has also faced extensive criticism for his political track record on numerous fronts, such as his support for the Iraq War, his primary role in the 1994 crime bill, and his refusal to back universal public healthcare or a ban on fracking for fossil fuels.
"The evident defeat of Donald Trump would not have been possible without the grassroots activism and hard work of countless progressives," Norman Solomon wrote in a column for Common Dreams early Friday. "Now, on vital issues—climate, healthcare, income inequality, militarism, the prison-industrial complex, corporate power, and so much more—it's time to engage with the battle that must happen inside the Democratic Party."
Some news outlets, such as Vox and Business Insider, declared Biden victorious on Friday morning, based on a determination from their election-calling partner, Decision Desk HQ, at 8:50 am ET that the former vice president had won Pennsylvania—hours before other election-calling operations or major news network announced a winner.
BREAKING: Joe Biden is projected to win the #2020Election, per Decision Desk.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) November 6, 2020
"The race is over, as far as our call is concerned, because of the vote totals coming out of Philadelphia this morning," Drew McCoy, the president of Decision Desk, told Vox senior politics correspondent Andrew Prokop. "It became pretty obvious that as the remaining votes across the state and in Philadelphia are counted, Biden's lead will continue to grow."