Democrats failed to secure the swift and decisive victory some had hoped for, and Biden’s win did not come until three days after Election Day voting began, underscoring the slow, methodical process of counting a crush of absentee ballots that piled into counties across the nation because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The turning point came Saturday, when Biden won his native state of Pennsylvania, one of a trio of northern industrial states Democrats lost in 2016 and one of the biggest Electoral College prizes.
Biden was ahead of Trump in the popular vote by nearly 3 percentage points, 50.5% to 47.7%. With the contests for Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska yet to be called, Biden was leading in the Electoral College, 290-214.
In an election shaped by the resurgent virus that had killed about 230,000 Americans and left millions out of work, Biden argued that he had the temperament, experience and character to provide steady leadership at a time of crisis. He ran as a centrist Democrat focused on pocketbook issues such as health care and reviving the economy but also on restoring “normalcy” to Washington after four years of drama under Trump.
The Democratic victory was history-making, most notably because Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., will become the first woman, African American and South Asian American to assume the vice presidency. Biden, who will be 78 at his inauguration, will also be the oldest person in U.S. history to become president.
Trump’s defeat will make him only the second one-term president since 1992, when Republican George H.W. Bush lost to Democrat Bill Clinton. And like Clinton, Trump is the only modern era president to be impeached; both were acquitted by the Senate.