With no new declared state wins for either candidate, Americans woke up on the third morning after Election Day without a clear winner of the presidential race.
However, Joe Biden took narrow leads in Georgia and Pennsylvania, two key battleground states that President Donald Trump had carried in 2016, and either of which could deliver the magic number of 270 Electoral College votes to the Democratic nominee.
Since Wednesday, the Electoral count for the candidates has stood at 264 for Biden and 214 for Trump, according to the Associated Press. Some news organisations such as The New York Times and the major television networks have, however, refrained from calling Arizona for Biden, leaving him with 253 in their counts.
Other than Arizona, four other states remained undeclared on Friday: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina. A little before midnight in India on Friday, Trump was ahead in only North Carolina, leading Biden by about 77,000 votes, or 1.4 percentage points.
Trump needs Pennsylvania and at least three from the other four states to retain the presidency. Biden has the edge because the remaining ballots are mostly from urban strongholds and predominantly Democratic mail-in. But the contest remains tight, and officials in Georgia — where both candidates were locked at 49.4 per cent and Biden led by fewer than 2,000 votes – announced a recount later this month.
With the writing seemingly on the wall, the President on Thursday evening delivered an extraordinary speech at a press conference at the White House that was so full of falsehoods and disinformation that three major television networks – CBS, NBC, and ABC – cut away, and issued detailed repudiations of his statements. CNN and Fox News continued to show Trump’s remarks live, but bluntly rejected his claims as false.
Trump falsely stated that he had won the election through “legal votes”, while “illegal” late votes were allowing the Democrats to “steal the election.” In continuation of claims that he has made throughout this election season, Trump decried mail-in votes and denounced pre-election polls.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” he said.
“There are now only a few states yet to be decided in the presidential race. The voting apparatus of those states are run in all cases by Democrats. We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually, and then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret and they wouldn’t allow legally permissible observers,” the President said.
“Our goal is to defend the integrity of the election. We’ll not allow the corruption to steal such an important election, or any election for that matter. And we can’t allow silence, anybody to silence our voters and manufacture results.”
He provided no evidence for his claims, and did not take any questions from reporters.
Reading from notes, Trump said: “We think there’s going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence, so much proof, and it’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land, we’ll see.”
On Friday, he posted on Twitter: “I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST. The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES. U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”
While some of the President’s loyalists defended him, most Republicans remained silent, and some, especially former government officials, openly rebuked his speech.
In contrast, Biden spoke for only a few minutes, asking voters to remain calm. “Democracy is sometimes messy. It sometimes requires a little patience as well, but that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance, and that’s been the envy of the world,” he said on Thursday.
His campaign lawyer said that Trump’s lawsuits don’t have “merit”, while security ramped up protection for him in anticipation of his assuming President-elect position later on Friday.
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