US Elections: Joe Biden inches ahead

As counting in many States continues, Joe Biden seems to have pulled ahead, taking a lead in key States. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has been making insinuations about mail-in ballots

November 04, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Hundreds gathered in US capital Washington D.C. and in cities across the country to demand that every vote be counted in one of the most contested US elections in recent history. Photo: Spaces in Action Twitter

The US election results have gone down to the wire as neither candidate has won the necessary electoral college votes to become president. However, as of 12:00 PM EST on Wednesday, November 4, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has carved out a minor advantage which could propel him to victory.

In order to win the presidency, a candidate needs 270 votes in the electoral college. At this moment, Joe Biden has 227 votes and president Donald Trump has 213. The contest has boiled down to largely seven States – Wisconsin (10 electoral college votes), Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11) and Nevada (6). Trump is leading in North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania while Biden has managed to take the lead in the remaining States. Most recently, Biden established leads in Wisconsin and Michigan, giving him a greater chance of victory. This stems from the fact that a lot of votes that remain to be counted in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania are either mail-in ballots (which lean Democratic) or are from Democratic strongholds. Nonetheless, pollsters continue to insist that the results cannot be called yet. Biden is also set to win the popular vote.

It is unclear what the response of president Donald Trump to a possible defeat could be. On Tuesday night, in a rambling address, he both claimed victory and alleged fraud, saying that he would approach the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, he termed the counting process “VERY STRANGE,” presumably referring to the mail-in ballots. Twitter classified his tweets as potentially “misleading about an election or other civic process” and hid it from direct view. Meanwhile, social movements across the country are mobilizing to protect the vote with demonstrations expected in many cities, especially if the president continues to challenge the process.

While the fate of Joe Biden is yet to be decided, it looks like Democratic hopes for retaking the Senate are set to be dashed. The Republicans had a 53-47 majority in the current Senate. The Republicans are leading in 22 Senate seats and the Democrats in 13 of the 35 in contention. The Democrats needed to make gains in four more seats to retake the Senate, but are only expected to make an overall gain of one.

In the House of Representatives, the two parties are neck-to-neck in terms of leads. The Democrats are currently leading in 218 seats, while the Republicans are leading in 217. If the trend holds, the Democrats might lose their previous majority of 33. But the votes are still being counted, with tens of millions, especially postal ballots yet to be processed. The final results are not expected until a few more days.

Prominent progressive members of Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley were re-elected. Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush became the first black congresswoman from Missouri.

A number of key issues were voted on in various States as well. One of the most prominent votes was on Proposition 22 in the State of California, which sought to exempt those working with gig economy giants from being classified as employees. After a multi-million dollar ad campaign waged by gig giants such as Uber and Lyft, voters endorsed the proposition. This means those working in the sector will remain independent contractors and will not be able to access rights available to workers. On the other hand, Florida approved a proposal to establish a minimum wage of USD 15 an hour. A number of States decriminalized the use of drugs as well.