Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden appears to be winning the race to the White House with 264 electoral votes in his favour by Friday, just 6 shy from winning the battle as vote count continues in US. The incumbent President Donald Trump has won 214 electoral votes and is already showing signs of desperation by making allegations of an electoral fraud and vowing to take the battle to courts.
Joe Biden has set a record already for any US election by winning over 70 million votes, even surpassing former President Barack Obama’s 2008 electoral feat by 300,000 votes. Joe Biden is US’s most popular candidate now but winning the popular vote did not guarantee victory to Hillary Clinton in 2016. However, things are different now. Joe Biden has also won some of the key battleground states and his lead is growing as counting picked up in key states with his counterpart still far behind. Joe Biden has reportedly won Michigan, Wisconsin and is projected to win Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania – few states in which Trump’s campaign has called for a vote recount.
Elections to the White House this time have been different due to the impact of COVID-19 and the high percentage use of mail-in voting – which was strongly opposed by Trump and his campaign even before the elections claiming it would cause widespread voter fraud – claims which have been debunked by a number of media organisations. During the campaign, Trump had indicated through his tweets that he may not accept defeat suggesting elections will be rigged against him and saying that mail-in voting was rife with fraud. On November 4, with millions of votes yet to be counted Trump prematurely claimed victory and falsely asserted election fraud and pledged to mount a legal challenge to official state results but his presidential rival Joe Biden who was “on track to win” declared “it ain’t over till every vote is counted.” As Trump repeated unproven claims of fraud protesters rallied across US with “Count every Vote” campaign. Meanwhile, election officials in key battleground states pushed back on claims by the Trump campaign that Republican poll watchers were being improperly denied access to observe the counting of ballots, saying rules were being followed and they were committed to transparency.
Several US TV networks also pulled the plug on President Trump after concluding that the President was spreading disinformation with unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
While the battle appears to be projected in Biden’s favour, Trump may not lose without litigating the results – Democrats have already suggested Trump “will be in for one of the most embarrassing defeats a president ever suffered before the highest court in the land.”
Central issues of the election include the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has left more than 230,000 Americans dead; the economy and how to revive it after its pandemic-induced recession; protests in reaction to the police killing of George Floyd and other African Americans; the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett; climate change regulations, particularly the Paris Agreement from which Trump withdrew on November 4; and the future of the Affordable Care Act, with Biden arguing for protecting and expanding the scope of the legislation, and Trump pushing for its repeal.
If elected, Biden would become the oldest person to serve as president at 78.