WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joe Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States on Saturday when Pennsylvania and Nevada delivered the electoral votes he needed to claim the White House, ending a caustic campaign that sorely tested the nation amid a pandemic and deep partisan divisions.

In a brief statement, Biden said he and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris of California were “honored and humbled” by their victory and renewed a call for unity.

“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden said.

The Democratic victory ushers the nation to a historic milestone as Harris becomes the first woman and person of color to become vice president-elect.

The result also amounted to a crushing verdict on the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who became the first incumbent to lose his re-election bid in nearly 30 years.

Trump pledged to continue his fight to overturn the results.

“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” Trump said in statement emailed by his campaign after The Associated Press and television networks called the race for Biden.

So far, however, Trump’s efforts in court have made little progress, with judges in several states dismissing challenges for lack of evidence.

The president was undeterred. Heading to his Virginia golf course Saturday morning he tweeted, “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”

As news of Biden’s victory spread, an outpouring of celebration began in the country’s big cities and other Democratic harbors.

Cheers echoed through the caverns of New York City. People danced in the streets of Washington, D.C., and banged pots and pans in Puerto Rico. Residents rushed from their homes to cheer in the San Francisco Bay Area and firecrackers rang out in Long Beach, California.

Not everyone shared in the jubilation.

In Lansing, Michigan, several dozen supporters of the president stood on the steps of the state Capitol — maskless, shoulder-to-shoulder — chanting “Four more years!” and “Count legal votes!”

It is rare for sitting presidents to lose at the polls. Incumbents seeking a second term have won 17 of 24 times since 1860, a better than 70% success rate. The last president to lose his re-election bid was George H.W. Bush in 1992.

But Trump faced powerful countervailing forces: a once-in-a-century pandemic, the resulting economic collapse and a wrenching debate over the country’s painful history of racial discrimination.

Alone among modern presidents, Trump’s approval rating never surpassed 50% in a reliable opinion survey — his provocative behavior, racist comments and trampling of presidential norms ensured that. But he also never tried to broaden his support, focusing on his base among conservative, mostly white, rural and exurban voters — many of them thrilled by his outrageous antics — while largely ignoring, or antagonizing, others.

His cavalier handling of the coronavirus — which has killed more than 235,000 Americans and sent millions more to the hospital — proved his undoing in the way the Vietnam War ended the career of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Iranian hostage crisis damaged President Jimmy Carter, and a limp economy hurt Bush. All either lost or gave up their re-election hopes in great part because they appeared to be overmatched by events.

Even so, Biden’s victory was hard-won and came only after a dayslong and divisive counting of the votes, brought on by the exigencies of the pandemic, which led many voters to cast ballots by mail. Also contributing were the machinations of Trump and his supporters, who blocked measures in several key states that would have allowed those mail ballots to be processed more quickly.

The final drama centered on four states — Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona — where vote counting continued three days after the election as the Trump campaign filed multiple legal claims in a largely unsuccessful effort to slow or block the tabulations.

The turning point came Friday morning, when Biden’s tally first surpassed Trump’s in Pennsylvania, where a trove of 20 Electoral College votes was at stake.

Trump had led there since Election Day, when he was up by more than 700,000 votes. But the gap steadily narrowed as mail ballots from the state’s heavily Democratic metropolitan areas were slowly counted. The AP and television networks issued their projections Saturday morning that Biden had won after his lead expanded beyond half a percentage point, the state’s threshold for a mandatory recount.

Nevada and its six electoral votes also tipped into Biden’s column soon after.

In Georgia, where Biden pulled ahead to a lead of 7,248 votes, state election officials said the race would likely go to a recount. Under Georgia law, a losing candidate can request a recount if the margin between two candidates is 0.5% or less of the total vote.

Trump’s campaign also has indicated it will ask for a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden leads by around 20,500 votes. The result in North Carolina also remains uncertain, but Trump holds the lead there.

Recounts could prolong the partisan jockeying but are unlikely to affect Biden’s status as victor. Such proceedings rarely turn enough votes to change an outcome, and Pennsylvania gives Biden enough Electoral College votes to win even without the other states.

From the outset of his campaign, Biden cast the election as a “battle for the soul” of a country that was being transformed by an erratic, divisive Trump presidency. He prevailed over a sprawling primary field of mostly younger and more progressive candidates largely because Democrats viewed him as the best-equipped to defeat Trump, unify the party and win back white working-class voters who had defected to Trump.

Winning Pennsylvania, along with previously declared states of Wisconsin and Michigan, fulfilled Biden’s core strategic goal: rebuilding the “blue wall” of traditionally Democratic states in the industrial Midwest that Trump claimed in 2016.

More broadly, Biden prevailed by assembling a Democratic coalition of women, college-educated men, and Black and Latino voters.

He also won independents — the free-floating bloc that often decides elections — 54% to 40%, according to preliminary exit polling. Four years ago, the exit polls showed Trump winning independent voters 48% to 42%.

Biden, who was criticized by some fellow Democrats as too old, too centrist and too politically cautious, outperformed Hillary Clinton by several measures in addition to his larger share of the popular vote.

He cut Trump’s margin among male voters, nearly breaking even, and outperformed Clinton among female voters even as she ran to become the first woman to win the White House.

With the COVID-19 pandemic as a worrisome backdrop, Biden carried voters older than 65, according to exit polls. That group went for Trump four years ago. Biden also expanded Democratic support among voters ages 18 to 29, who during the party’s primaries strongly preferred his left-leaning rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Notably, however, Trump made some gains among two groups that have been key to Democratic successes: Black and Latino voters.

He won 12% of Black voters, compared with 8% four years ago, and upped his share of the Latino vote from 29% to 32%, exit polls indicated.

Biden’s four decades in public life spanned the period from Richard Nixon’s presidency, when he first was elected to the Senate, and includes eight years as vice president to America’s first Black president, Barack Obama.

His triumph over Trump, whose presidency was devoted in large measure to undoing Obama’s legacy, was a tribute both to his raw political ambition and to the personal determination that helped him overcome a stutter in his childhood and remain undeterred by humiliating defeats in the early rounds of the 2020 Democratic primary.

No one was scared off when Biden entered the contest in April 2019. To the contrary, the Democratic field grew to a floorboard-busting 26 candidates. Other candidates vastly outraised him, and the crowds he drew, back when social distancing wasn’t a thing, were embarrassingly small.

Biden finished a dismal fourth in the Iowa caucuses, and eight days later performed even worse in the New Hampshire primary, finishing fifth. By then, many had written him off.

He insisted, however, that those first two contests in small, heavily rural states were not representative of the country, or more particularly of the base of the Democratic Party, and that he would fare better in the next set of contests.

He was right.

Biden finished second in the caucuses in Nevada, which has a far more diverse electorate. That vaulted him into the South Carolina primary three days later. His endorsement there by Rep. James E. Clyburn, the most powerful Black lawmaker in Congress, proved vital to Biden in a state where about 6 in 10 Democratic primary voters were Black.

He won the state in a landslide and then rapidly reeled off a series of victories as Democrats rallied around him. By mid-March, the matchup with Trump was set.

His general election victory extended what has been an unusually volatile period in the nation’s political history.

Between 1960 and 1978, there were three elections in which control of the House, Senate or White House switched parties. Between 1980 and 1998 there were four. Since 2000, with Biden’s election, there have been nine.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(29) comments

KRobbins

The Republican governor of Utah is issuing a mask mandate. Red state governors now have a leader-elect who will back taking the right steps to get the pandemic under control. Trumpism, God willing, is in its death throes.

KRobbins

For the record, Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump the day after the election, Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.

Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don't just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things; the rule of law, the principle that we are all equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values too and we must defend them.

That’s how someone who loves the country does it.

KRobbins

Trump seems to think if he never concedes, he never loses. An interesting strategy, but pretty certainly doomed to failure.

hermit thrush

the response from the trump supporters here is really something. it's over. trump lost fair and square. there isn't a whiff of any kind of systematic fraud. (happy for others to chime in, but all i've personally heard of are two people who tried to vote twice for trump, one in pa and one in nv). the margin of victory is way outside of anything that's going to be reversed and is decidedly bigger than trump's margin four years ago. were trump supporters the day after the election back then saying wait a minute, let's not get ahead of ourselves before declaring victory? it's laughable to even suggest it.

Holmes

Now it's pretty obvious why Biden didn't come out from the basement, didn't do any news conferences, did a few 'car rallies' never explained how he's going to defeat CoViD, the fix was in...

hermit thrush

ha ha ha ha!

KRobbins

[thumbup]

hermit thrush

when you put it that way, it does make losing to a guy like that sound pretty embarrassing.

KRobbins

😢

Charlie McGrath

We need to begin impeachment proceedings. Impeach 46.

hermit thrush

if biden does the kind of stuff trump did then democrats will actually support you. we are much greater adherents to abstract principles and standards.

(in some sense republicans are very principled too, except their only principle is "it's ok if you're a republican.")

KRobbins

We need to begin impeachment proceedings. Impeach 46.

I suppose you can if you like although it would make more sense to wait until he actually takes the oath of office. An impeachable offense might help keep Republicans from looking petty and vindictive, something Trump is already doing a good job of.

For the record, Trump was impeached for extorting a country whose sovereignty was and is under attack from Russia to get them to announce an investigation into his political opponent. If every Republican Senator save Romney wasn’t a spineless toady he would’ve been removed for it. IMHO, obviously. Honorable patriots like Alex Vindman and Maria Yovanovich are no longer serving in government because of a self-serving, narcissistic conman.

So, yeah, if Biden ever does anything like that then definitely impeach him.

Eagle24

Sure CM... and Biden will just refuse to allow key witnesses to testify... wonder where he learned that from..

KRobbins

Sure CM

I’m thinking it’ll go about as well as Guiliani’s presser in front of Four Seasons, not the hotel but a Garden Center next to an adult bookstore called Fantasy Island across the road from a crematorium a road that leads to a prison btw.

The Trump presidency is ending as total farce and any Republicans who would be overseeing a Biden impeachment have become part and parcel of that farce.

Charlie McGrath

Resist!

hermit thrush

exactly what you already did under obama.

there's nothing wrong (in and of itself) with the opposition party opposing, by the way.

KRobbins

Resist!

As if McConnell wasn’t going to do everything possible to sabotage Biden’s presidency no matter the damage it does to the country. Although taking a cue from Republicans I suppose we should wait until all the votes are counted because I don’t believe he has a majority, in reality, yet.

KRobbins

exactly what you already did under obama.

OMG, is the Tea Party forgotten already? Who could forget the sight of them running around in their tricorn hats, too-tight breeches and Gadsden flags? “I want my country back!”

KRobbins

The Keystone is the keystone and the Blue Wall is back, baby! Let’s take NC and GA and surround them Johnny Rebs in SC. They could’ve voted down Trump and Graham and been one of the cool 😎 kids!

Pitbull

Yeah, I see what you value: being cool. Why don't you at least wait until the count and any legal challenges are over and then declare Biden the savior? I do have this to say. The bogus revelry today is a disgrace. There are people on TV saying, "Now we need to work together." Really, after four years of RESIST!? And "Trump tried to Trump us and got trumped! Goodbye Don!" This in your face stuff is reprehensible. If the loser babies in NYC and elsewhere didn't get their way they would be rioting right now. You have some strange bedfellows, Kr. Remember, nearly 50% of Americans are on my side. This is not some kind of mandate and those 50% should be respected. Almost forgot. I saw a street celebration with crowds shoulder to shoulder and some weren't wearing masks! What did the press person say? "This is a wonderful celebration and time to join together!" If this was a Trump gathering the press would be pressing murder charges for the irresponsible gathering! Hypocrisy at its highest!

Holmes

Exactly right... THE "Fake News" does not DECIDE who and who is not POTUS. The Electoral College does, and that is done in January...Stay tuned folks.

KRobbins

The Electoral College does, and that is done in January...Stay tuned folks.

Doesn’t it get done on December 14 when the Electoral College meets?

Pitbull

Right on, Holmes. Count all legal votes!

KRobbins

Thank you so much for your comment.

Why don't you at least wait until the count and any legal challenges are over

Legal challenge over what: the sharpies in AZ or the glitches in MI? There’s nothing to challenge. If there is then tell me what. That’s a bedtime story to keep Trump docile. Who’s his lawyer? Rudy? I don’t think Michael Cohen is available.

As for waiting to declare victory Trump’s been doing it since Tuesday night.

This in your face stuff is reprehensible. If the loser babies in NYC and elsewhere didn't get their way they would be rioting right now. You have some strange bedfellows, Kr. Remember, nearly 50% of Americans are on my side.

There’s a 25yr old Rep who got elected Tuesday and immediately tweeted “Cry more, libs!” One of your bedfellows. Over the past 4 years I’ve seen Trumpers frequently wearing or using the phrase “word I can’t say here your feelings.” So, spare me.

Sometimes nearly 50% wins an election and sometimes it doesn’t. George W. Bush felt he had a mandate in 2000.

I saw a street celebration with crowds shoulder to shoulder and some weren't wearing masks!

Sounds like you’ll be behind Biden’s national mask mandate. Glad we can count on you.

KRobbins

Yeah, I see what you value: being cool.

You’re just jealous because Dems always have the cool presidents. JFK with Camelot, Clinton playing sax on Arsenio, Obama just being Obama, even FDR with that jaunty cigarette holder. Now we got Joe and his vette. The last cool Republican president was Ike.

KRobbins

PB, if you don’t assume who my bedfellows are I won’t assume you’re in bed with QAnon. Though I could be wrong.

KRobbins

Democrats had nearly 50% in the Senate when Obama nominated Merritt Garland so I can really empathize over how it feels to have “nearly 50%.”

Eagle24

PB another case of GOP amnesia... Mitch McConnel on Obama's election results "our goal is to make him a one term president"...... Sooo, you have no issue with Trump rallies shouting "lock her up"...."fire Fauci"..... unfortunately it wasn't Trump's policies .many of us supported same...and they gave us a positive economy that everyone benefited from... it was his character....tweets...lies... that's why the GOP did OK down the ticket, suggesting both parties supported house and senate candidates..... it was his crazy uncle type antics.. Sad...

KRobbins

Right on, Holmes. Count all legal votes!

Wow! What a radical idea! Just like we do in every election.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.