Former Vice President Joe Biden has officially been declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to secure victory over incumbent President Donald Trump.
The night prior, Biden had stopped short of declaring an official victory, but said he expected to win. He called for bridging political divides in the U.S. in his remarks.
“We have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t total unrelenting, unending warfare,” Biden said on Friday evening. “No, the purpose of our politics, the work of our nation, isn’t to fan the flames of conflict, but to solve problems, to guarantee justice, to give everybody a fair shot.”
Biden’s victory followed several days of ballot counting in a number of swing states.
Biden currently leads Trump in vote totals in the states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. If he can maintain his current numbers there, he will likely receive over 300 Electoral College votes in total.
The news of Biden’s win was generally met positively by progressive organizations and leaders, with the caveat that he should be held accountable once in office.
“Don’t let this moment placate you,” Black Socialists in America tweeted. “The social and economic systems that have led to our present conditions and the fascists who have exploited them aren’t going away anytime soon.”
“Black People. It’s time to celebrate us,” wrote the Movement for Black Lives. “Our vote. Our movement. Our power. We organized. We mobilized. We defeated Trump!”
— Movement 4 Black Lives (@Mvmnt4BlkLives) November 7, 2020
“There is still work to do. There will always be more work to do,” writer Rebecca Nagle said. “But one way you make that long-haul sustainable is by celebrating the wins when they come.”
“It’s ok to celebrate the fall of a tyrant. Goodbye Trump,” added the Democratic Socialists of America.
“Now it’s time to survive the next part. These next few months will be very hard,” said Kelly Hayes, host of Truthout’s “Movement Memos” podcast. “But today, I’m gonna try to be kind to myself and let my tense muscles relax a bit. No one who tells you there’s no time for that cares whether you endure in this work or about you as an individual.“
Revelers reportedly packed the streets of New York City to celebrate the electoral outcome, honking car horns, clapping and cheering loudly.
I’ve lived in NYC my whole life and I’ve never seen anything like this pic.twitter.com/KVZakF7F5n
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) November 7, 2020
Similar celebrations were seen on the streets of Washington, D.C., and crowds reportedly started gathering outside of the White House to commemorate Trump’s loss.
Trump’s defeat is indeed a historic one. In the history of presidential elections, only 10 presidents who ran for reelection have ever failed to win a second term. (Trump will become the 11th.) Since the middle of the 20th century, only two presidents who had previously won office to the presidency (excluding Gerald Ford, who became president after Richard Nixon resigned) have lost reelection bids — Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush.
The election is historic for another reason: This is the first time in U.S. history that a woman will be part of a winning presidential ticket. On January 20, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) will become the first woman ever to serve as vice president.
Harris called Biden on the phone Saturday to celebrate their win.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 7, 2020
Biden himself celebrated by issuing a statement on Twitter.
“America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country,” Biden wrote. “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.”
The president-elect will reportedly address the nation regarding his election win later on Saturday evening.
Although news organizations were largely in agreement about the outcome, Biden’s win may be contested. Trump has said in the past few days that he plans to contest the race in a number of states, and that he may ask for recounts in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia (in spite of his aversion to recounts four years ago). He may also seek a legal challenge into the validity of vote counting itself, as he’s said many times,falsely, that the votes counted made before November 3 but counted after Election Day were illegitimate.
Indeed, immediately after the announcement was made, Trump, who was reportedly golfing at the time, issued a statement expressing the strong likelihood he would bring about a challenge to the validity of the election.
“We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: They don’t want the truth to be exposed,” Trump’s statement read. “Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media. Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”
But experts disputed the errant arguments Trump and his surrogates have made in recent days alleging fraud. Attempting to stop vote counting, or to disqualify votes that were counted after November 3, will be a difficult case for the president to argue, as there is no evidence that such votes violated the laws of those states in any way.
“Unless something new happens, I don’t see a viable path for Trump to litigate his way out of an Electoral College loss,” Richard Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, said to NPR.