Joe Biden beats Donald Trump to win US presidential election, Kamala Harris becomes first woman VP

3 weeks ago 6

Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States, according to race calls by news agency Associated Press as well as other major newscasters.

77-year-old Democratic nominee Joe Biden beat out Republican Donald Trump to become the US president in a hotly contested election.

According to the Associated Press, Biden has won the 20 electoral votes from Pennsylvania pushing his tally to the magic number of 270.

Joe Biden also carried Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan on his path to the presidency, flipping states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Biden’s projected victory came after four days of nail-biting suspense over the outcome of Tuesday's election, with the counting of votes in a handful of battleground states ongoing thanks to a flood of mail-in ballots.

Reacting to his historic win, Joe Biden tweeted, "America, I’m honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country."

America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country.

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.

I will keep the faith that you have placed in me. pic.twitter.com/moA9qhmjn8

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 7, 2020

Acknowledging that he will soon be presiding over a deeply divided nation, Joe 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. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me."

A centrist who promises to bring calm to Washington after four turbulent years under Trump, Joe Biden is the oldest man to win the presidency -- a position he twice sought unsuccessfully during his long political career, before being elected vice president to Barack Obama in 2008.

As the vote count played out, US President-elect Joe Biden tried to ease tensions and project an image of presidential leadership, hitting notes of unity that were seemingly aimed at cooling the temperature of a heated, divided nation.

“We have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t total unrelenting, unending warfare,” Biden said Friday night in Delaware. “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.”

In fact, Joe Biden is on track to win the national popular vote by more than 4 million, a margin that could grow as ballots continue to be counted. His victory was driven by strong support from groups including women, African Americans, white voters with college degrees and city-dwellers.

He has said his first priority will be developing a plan to contain and recover from the pandemic, promising to improve access to testing and, unlike Trump, to heed the advice of leading public health officials and scientists.

DONALD TRUMP CITES UNFOUNDED VOTER FRAUD CLAIMS

The third president to be impeached, though acquitted in the Senate, Donald Trump will leave office having left an indelible imprint in a tenure defined by the shattering of White House norms and a day-to-day whirlwind of turnover, partisan divide and the ever-present threat via his Twitter account.

For Trump, the defeat and his exit from the White House at the transition on January 20 will above all be a story of personal humiliation.

He shocked the country and the world when he stormed to victory in 2016 as a political newcomer taking down the seasoned Democrat Hillary Clinton in his first shot at public office.

Then for much of his administration, he appeared invulnerable to the normal laws of politics.

His showbiz style of running the government made him perhaps the most-watched -- and controversial -- individual on the planet.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!pic.twitter.com/85ySh1KYkh

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2020

"Winning is easy," he mused as polls opened. "Losing is never easy. Not for me."

Later, the Republican candidate seized on delays in processing the vote in some states to falsely allege voter fraud and argue that his rival was trying to seize power — an extraordinary charge by a sitting president trying to sow doubt about a bedrock democratic process.

He is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George HW Bush in 1992.

The question remains -- will Donald Trump accept the results? (Photo: AP)

Donald Trump quickly responded to the announcement by accusing Biden of falsely declaring himself the next president.

"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 said in a statement.

"The simple fact is this election is far from over."

Despite his draconian immigration curbs, Donald Trump made surprising inroads with Latino voters. He also won battleground states such as Florida, where his pledge to prioritize the economy even if it increased the threat of the coronavirus appeared to have resonated.

In the end, though, Trump failed to significantly widen his appeal beyond a committed core of rural and working-class white voters who embraced his right-wing populism and "America First" nationalism.

I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2020

Prior to the election, Donald Trump had refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost to Biden - and he stuck to that approach. He falsely declared victory long before counting was complete.

Earlier Saturday, as he headed to his golf course in Virginia, Donald Trump repeated this, tweeting: "I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!"

Offering no evidence, the real estate mogul and former reality TV star assailed election workers and alleged fraud in the states where results from a dwindling set of uncounted votes pushed Joe Biden nearer to victory.

KAMALA HARRIS CREATES HISTORY

Joe Biden's vice-presidential running mate Kamala Harris, a senator and former California attorney general, will make history as the first Black and Indian-American woman to enter the White House in either of the two top jobs. At 56, she is seen as a leading contender to succeed Joe Biden and try to become the first female US president.

Kamala Harris has a track record of shattering glass ceilings. She served as San Francisco’s first female district attorney and was California's first woman of colour to be elected attorney general.

The new team. (Photo: Reuters)

Her background in criminal justice could help a Biden administration tackle the issues of racial equality and policing after the country was swept by protests this year. She is expected to be a top adviser on judicial nominations.

Kamala Harris, whose mother and father emigrated from India and Jamaica, respectively, had her sights set on becoming the first woman US president when she competed against Joe Biden and others for their party's 2020 nomination.

We did it, @JoeBiden. pic.twitter.com/oCgeylsjB4

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 7, 2020

She dropped out of the race last December after a campaign hurt by her wavering views on healthcare and indecision about embracing her past as a prosecutor.

Joe Biden looked beyond some of the harsh words Harris had for him in that campaign to name her his running mate in August. She has proven to be a valuable and polished stand-in, appealing especially to women, progressives and voters of colour, all critical to the party’s election hopes.

COVID-RIDDEN, ECONOMICALLY-BATTERED, SOCIALLY-DIVIDED NATION WAITS FOR HEALING TOUCH

When former Vice-President Joe Biden enters the White House on January 20, the oldest person to assume the office at age 78, he likely will face a difficult task governing in a deeply polarized Washington, underscored by a record nationwide voter turnout in a fight to the finish.

Joe Biden has positioned himself to lead a nation gripped by the historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.

The career politician staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy.

He will be a President for all of our families. pic.twitter.com/iGPKLMMIcK

— Dr. Jill Biden (@DrBiden) November 7, 2020

Yet despite his fervent promises to restore America's "soul," Biden will inherit a shaken, angry country.

Americans are bitterly split after an election campaign in which Donald Trump deliberately stoked divisions over many of the country's most sensitive issues, including race, immigration and gun ownership.

Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the next president of the United States, according to multiple media outlets, including Edison Research https://t.co/JShJTgJlB1 pic.twitter.com/NcSHCGWezQ

— Reuters (@Reuters) November 7, 2020

And despite critics painting Trump as an aberration, he still won the votes of around 70 million people -- many of whom may not have liked Trump himself, yet consider Democrats as being out of touch with their traditional values.

That gulf in understanding between two Americas will likely continue to rage in Congress, threatening Biden's ability to govern at a time of economic upheaval and an accelerating coronavirus crisis.

More than 236,000 Americans have died during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 10 million have been infected and millions of jobs have been lost.

Americans celebrate the victory of Joe Biden. (Photo: Reuters)

Results from congressional races indicate that Biden will face a divided legislature, with his Democrats holding a majority in the House and Republicans clinging to control of the Senate -- although that could still shift.

The division in Washington will likely complicate immediately Biden's ability to govern, starting with disputes in Congress over a delayed economic stimulus package for Americans hammered by the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

(with inputs from agencies)

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