By: Ella Coogan
With 290 electoral votes and a popular vote lead of over 5 million, the Associated Press declared Joe Biden and Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris the winners of the 2020 presidential election on Nov. 7.
Although votes for the presidential race are still being counted in Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina as of Wednesday, Nov. 11, the AP stands by its call.
“Only when AP is fully confident a race has been won – defined most simply as the moment a trailing candidate no longer has a path to victory – will we make a call,” wrote the outlet. “AP does not make projections or name apparent or likely winners. If our race callers cannot definitively say a candidate has won, we do not engage in speculation.”
In 2016, the AP declared Donald Trump the winner of the presidential bid at approximately 2:29 a.m. the morning after Election Day. Conversely, in 2000, the agency declined to declare a winner in the close race between Al Gore and George W. Bush, standing by their assessment that a slim margin in Florida made the race too close to call.
In Arizona, two percent of votes have yet to be counted, but Biden holds a 13,000 vote lead. Regardless, because current-President Trump currently only holds 217 electoral votes of 270 needed to win an election, Arizona’s 11 electoral delegates could not sway the current result of the race.
Similarly, less than two percent of votes in Georgia have yet to be counted, and election officials there plan to hand-count votes again before declaring a winner. With about three percent of the state’s votes left to count, Trump has a narrow lead on Biden for North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes; however, this also wouldn’t be enough delegates to change the AP’s projected outcome.
As of the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 10, 16 congressional races and two Senate races have yet to be called.
On Nov. 7, before the AP called the race, President Trump tweeted that he “WON THIS ELECTION, BY ALOT [sic]!” As recently as Nov. 10, Trump tweeted “WE WILL WIN” and “WATCH FOR MASSIVE BALLOT COUNTING ABUSE.”
In the legal battle that Trump and his team have sworn to wage, Pennsylvania will be a central battleground. A swing state that favored Trump with its in-person ballots but swung to the left after mail-in ballots continued to be counted, the team is focusing on the additional time that it took to count those ballots in court, arguing that fraudulent activity could have taken place. In Michigan, the Trump campaign argues that there was a lack of transparency in the vote-counting process, and in Arizona, the usage of Sharpie on ballots is being contested. In Nevada’s largest county, Republicans have argued that irregularities plagued their election process, and legal battles are being waged in Georgia. Thus far, none of these allegations have stuck in court.
While this is Biden’s first successful run at the White House, it is not his first attempt at securing the position. In 1987, after he had represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for 14 years, he made his first bid for the position. It ended badly–over the course of the campaign, he was caught on a national stage plagiarizing passages from a ’67 John F. Kennedy speech and lines from his inaugural address, then taking lines from then-Labor leader Neil Kinnock of Britain. This brought to light what Biden later called an “exaggerated shadow of his past mistakes” that led him to withdraw from the race entirely–when completing his law degree at Syracuse University, he plagiarized material from the Fordham Law Review, and was required to repeat the course. From there, campaign trail exaggerations were proven false: his claims that he had received three degrees in college, graduated at the top half of his class, and marched in the civil rights movement were all disproven.
After considering and deciding against running for president in ’92 and again in ’04, Biden jumped back into the saddle and the fray in 2008. Matched against Hillary Clinton and ultimate-winner Barrack Obama, he never rose above single digits in polls and placed in fifth in the Iowa Caucuses, and withdrew a second time.
Biden’s senate career is rife with decisions that did not withstand the test of time: he approved the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2001 and vocally opposed de-segregated bussing in the 1970s. Before they joined forces on the ticket, then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris brought this to light in the second democratic national debate.
“You worked with [segregationist senators] to oppose busing,” Harris said. “And you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.”
Before working in the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, Harris began her career as a deputy district attorney in Alemeda County, California in 1990. Between 2004 and 2011, Harris served as San Francisco’s District Attorney; between her initial election and 2009, felony conviction rates in her district rose from 50 to 76 percent. In 2007, she ran again for the position unopposed. However, she advocated against the death penalty and introduced numerous programs to prevent truancy and recidivism. Between 2011 and 2017, Harris became California’s, Attorney General. Harris argued in Brown V. Plata against federal court supervision due to prison overcrowding, and attempted to fight against the early release of prisoners, arguing that the state needed inmate firefighting labor. On the other hand, her office filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that Proposition 8, which outlawed non-heterosexual marriage, was unconstitutional, and petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court to lift a stay on same-sex marriages in California later that year. In 2014, Harris supported legislation to ban the “trans gay panic” defense in court, which excused lethal and violent behavior towards members of the LGBTQ community. Since 2017, Harris has represented California in the U.S. Senate.
In July of 2019, Harris attained a 19 percent approval rating among Democratic voters; by the time she dropped out of the running in December, those numbers had fallen into single digits. She will be the first Indian-American and the first woman to serve as Vice President of the United States.