By: Madalyn Amato and Julia Terbeche
After a long, embroiled presidential race, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden has been named president-elect of the United States five days post-Election Day.
“Let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again,” Biden said. “And to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies, they’re Americans.”
On the 48th anniversary of his first election to the Senate, Biden cinched his home state of Pennsylvania early Saturday morning, securing his lead in the Electoral College over incumbent President Donald J. Trump with 290 votes, according to the Associated Press.
Called by the Associated Press around 8:30 a.m. PST, Biden surpassed the minimum of 270 Electoral College votes to be named the 46th president of the United States.
With this nomination, Sen. Kamala Harris has made history as the first female and person of color to be named vice president of the United States.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
The battle for the White House began earlier this year when Trump announced he’d be seeking reelection. Biden was one of 28 Democratic candidates and at one point debated against Harris, his own VP choice.
Along the campaign trail, Trump assured his voters that defeat was not a possibility and even into the final stages of the election remained self-assured that victory would be his. Just an hour before the Associated Press declared Biden the winner, Trump had tweeted in all caps, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”
In contrast, Biden showed confidence in his ability to win, but continued throughout the presidential race to encourage his supporters to “keep faith” in democracy and in the voting process.
“Democracy works, your vote will be counted. I don’t care how hard people try to stop it, I won’t let it happen,” Biden said.
Early results Tuesday night put Trump in the lead of both the Electoral College and the popular vote. For months leading up to the election, Trump encouraged his voters to not vote by mail, citing false claims that mail-in ballots have a tendency to be fraudulent. The lack of mail-in ballots for Trump ultimately led to what has become known as the “blue-surge,” as Democrats were more likely to participate in mail-in voting as encouraged by Biden.
Trump even threatened to take to the Supreme Court with lawsuits against several swing states as soon as his lead in the presidential race began to become less and less prominent.
He accused the Democratic Party of tampering with ballot counting, saying “our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away” as more mail-in ballots began to be counted, the majority in favor of Biden.
“We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list,” Trump said in his address Thursday evening in the White House press briefing room. “We want law to be used in a proper manner, so we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop.”
Biden began to take the lead just hours into Election Day after polls began to close on the East Coast. Trump was leading in the popular vote for a few hours on Tuesday, until Biden surpassed him and ultimately gained the most votes in presidential history with over 70 million votes.
As of Saturday morning, Biden has secured a total of over 75 million votes.
One of the closest presidential races in the last decade, the 2020 election ended up being much tighter than what most major news outlets had predicted to be a landslide win for Biden.
Biden’s victory came down to a few-thousand-vote difference in states that have not voted blue in decades.
Named the “final battleground,” Pennsylvania had gone red in the 2016 election and remained in favor of the incumbent up until Friday morning. Biden was able to push through and secured a 0.5% lead, pushing him out of automatic recount territory in the state.
Biden also successfully flipped other swing states including Michigan, Wisconsin and most notably Georgia, which had been known as a “ruby red” state since former president Bill Clinton’s victory in 1992.
After Biden had already secured his win of over 270 Electoral College votes, the Associated Press designated him the projected winner of Nevada, adding another six votes to his total.
Biden, in contrast to Trump, has maintained a calm-and-collected tone throughout the presidential race.
Harris and Biden have attended five coronavirus briefings throughout the week while incumbent Trump has not attended one in months. The president-elect announced Saturday morning that he and Harris are already planning on assembling a COVID-19 task-force starting Monday.
“While we’re waiting for our results, we’re not waiting to start the work,” Biden said. “We have serious problems to deal with, COVID, the economy, racial justice, climate change.”
Trump, meanwhile, continued to spout disinformation regarding voter fraud, resulting in several of his tweets to be flagged for inaccuracy as well as journalists and political correspondents to clarify to the American public that the current president was making false claims.
As of Saturday morning, according to CNN, Trump said he has no plans to concede from office, congratulate Biden on his victory or invite the president-elect to the White House, a traditional ceremony between entering and exiting presidents.
Biden and Harris made their official acceptance speeches Saturday evening, where they both continued with their messages of moving forward and not allowing hatred to continue to grow.
“The American story is about slowly and steadily widening the opportunities in America. And make no mistake, too many dreams have been deferred for too long,” Biden said. “We must make the promise of the country real for everybody, no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity or their disability. America has always been defined by inflection points, by moments in time where we made hard decisions about who we are and where we want to be.”
Trump’s loss in the 2020 election makes him the 10th incumbent president to not be reelected for a second term.