Joe Biden wins US presidential election

Democrat promises to be a president for all Americans; Trump refuses to concede defeat

Democratic candidate Joe Biden has been elected the next President of the United States, making Mr Donald Trump the first one-term president in nearly 30 years.

Major news networks, including Fox, called victory for Mr Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris after his lead in the battleground state of Pennsylvania stretched to 34,200. That win netted him 20 electoral votes and brought his total to 273 - exceeding the 270 needed to win the White House.

As the next vice-president, Senator Harris will make history as the first black woman and first person of South Asian descent to hold the second-highest office in the US.

"I am honoured and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in vice-president-elect Harris," Mr Biden, who served as senator for Delaware from 1973 to 2009 and as vice-president from 2009 to 2016 under President Barack Obama, said yesterday.

"In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America."

CNN was the first to make the call that Mr Biden had won Pennsylvania and therefore the presidency, followed within minutes by ABC, NBC, CBS and the Associated Press.

Networks later also called Nevada and Arizona for Mr Biden, bringing his vote tally to 284, but it was his victory in Pennsylvania that closed off Mr Trump's path to re-election. Mr Trump, who was reportedly playing golf when he got the news, said he would not concede defeat.

His initial lead in Pennsylvania, Georgia and other states where counting was still ongoing was gradually whittled down as mail-in ballots and votes from urban centres were counted.

Mr Biden, who will be America's 46th president, will also be its oldest when he is sworn into office in January. He turns 78 in two weeks.

He also won the popular vote, netting a record 74.8 million votes so far - over 4.3 million votes more than Mr Trump, whose tally stands at 70.6 million.

Vowing defiance, the Trump campaign has mounted legal challenges on various fronts that election officials, political analysts, and the Biden campaign have called baseless.

The election came amid a pandemic that has killed nearly 240,000 Americans so far and after a summer of racial justice protests, and revealed a deeply divided America.

Campaigning on a platform of unity and healing, Mr Biden charted a course to victory by rebuilding the "blue wall" - the traditionally Democratic states in the upper Midwest of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that Mr Trump won in 2016.

Mr Biden flipped them all.

He is also ahead in Georgia, where he would be the first Democrat to win the state since 1992, and in Arizona, which no Democrat has won since 1996. The only battleground state where counting is still going on that Mr Trump could win is North Carolina.

Promising to be a president for "all Americans", Mr Biden called for Americans to come together and begin the process of healing.

"With the campaign over, it's time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation," he said.

Ms Harris tweeted: "This election is about so much more than Joe Biden or me. It's about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let's get started."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2020, with the headline 'Biden wins'. Subscribe