Vanquishing President Donald Trump, Democratic nominee Joe Biden was announced winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday and is now slated to become the 46th President of the United States. Major news outlets, including NBC News and the Associated Press, made their official projections late Saturday morning.
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 7, 2020
Shortly before the race was called,President Donald Trump continued his brazen effort to spew misinformation as a way to steal the presidential election away from the American people, even as the results up to that point—based on a steady counting of ballots nationwide and in key states—all showed that Joe Biden was almost certainly on the verge of being the next president of the United States.
In a series of unhinged tweets Saturday morning—most of which were marked by the social media company as containing information that is "disputed" or "might be misleading about an election or other civic process"—Trump lied to the world, without providing a shred of evidence, that massive fraud has taken place since Election Day as state election offices counted an unprecedented amount of mail-in, absentee, and provisional ballots cast this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At 10:36 am ET, Trump falsely asserted: "I won this election, by a lot!" There was, however, only one possible fact-based response to such a clear lie and that would be: No, you didn't.
According to the New York Times, at the time Trump issued those bizarre tweets, Biden was leading the president in the electoral college race by a margin of 253 to 214, and the national popular vote by 4,150,184 (74,449,091 for Biden compared to Trump's 70,298,907).
As was predicted almost word-for-word by people like Sen. Bernie Sanders—who warned exactly of this kind of "nightmare scenario"—instead of getting ready to concede as he inched towards inevitable defeat to his Democratic rival, Trump instead wrapped himself in a thick blanket of falsehoods to claim that a huge number of ballots cast against him were fraudulent as a way to delegitimize the election and sow massive distrust and unrest among his supporters.
In 2016, when Trump won PA, MI, and WI by a handful of votes, the election system worked just great. Now that he's losing, it's a "fraud" and they're "stealing the election." This is how demagogues destroy faith in democracy and move us toward authoritarianism. Count every vote!
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 5, 2020
According to the Associated Press on earlier Saturday morning, Biden was edging "closer to win" with a final call in Pennsylvania all he needed to secure overall victory in the electoral college race to 270. As AP reported early in the day, prior to a final batch of reported votes which put him over the top:
The delay in producing a verdict could be attributed to high turnout, a massive number of mail-in ballots and slim margins between the candidates. Biden held leads in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, putting him in a stronger position to capture the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the White House.
There was intense focus on Pennsylvania, where Biden led Trump by more than 28,000 votes, and Nevada, where Biden was up by about 22,000. The prolonged wait added to the anxiety of a nation facing historic challenges, including the surging coronavirus pandemic and deep political polarization.
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Meanwhile, Trump renewed his offense by making baseless claims of fraud.
"Bad things took place during those hours where LEGAL TRANSPARENCY was viciously & crudely not allowed," falsely stated at 8:20 am ET via his Twitter account. "Tractors blocked doors & windows were covered with thick cardboard so that observers could not see into the count rooms. BAD THINGS HAPPENED INSIDE. BIG CHANGES TOOK PLACE!" Not a word of this is substantiated, but that didn't stop the president from saying it to his millions of supporters.
So let me get this straight: Georgia's Secretary of State, who is a Republican and also a Trump supporter, is helping the Democrats pull off one of the largest election frauds in American history?
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) November 7, 2020
Since Election Night, when Trump outrageously claimed he already "did win" the election, Trump has refused to acknowledge the legitimate vote-counting process and instead used the ensuing days—while Biden called for patience and assured Americans that "every vote must be counted"—to deepen his conspiratorial proclamations. Trump's efforts, say progressive critics, are about much more than just lying and deceit, but should be seen as an outright effort to "steal the election."
As Esquire's Jack Holmes wrote Friday, the whole situation is incredibly easy to understand and clear to see:
what is now happening has been coming—and it's been incredibly obvious—for months. Well, years. In 2016, Trump said he would only consider the election legitimate if he won. Even when he won, he greeted the news he'd gotten shellacked in the popular vote by saying 3 million of those votes were fraudulent. 3 million(!), and yet, when he created an entire presidential commission to investigate, they found nothing and disbanded. Then he ransacked the institutions of democracy for four years, undermining the separation of powers and the independent system of justice and the free press, until this election was approaching and he once again said he'd only lose if it was rigged.
"The president said he would scream fraud if he lost, and now that he's losing, he's screaming fraud while providing zero court-admissible evidence," continued Holmes. "This isn't complicated!"
Trump announced on Twitter that he would hold a "big press conference" at 11:30 am ET, but that event never materialized.
Updated: This article was updated from its original to clarify the timeline of events, including the addition of news that Biden was, in fact, declared the projected winner by the decision desks at major U.S. news outlets.