Joe Biden — a former two-term vice president under Barack Obama and 36-year Senate veteran — will be the 46th president of the United States. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman, first African American, and first Indian American to serve as vice president.
The Democratic nominee is the projected winner in enough states to win 270 electoral votes. The state of Pennsylvania, which Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, was called for Biden just before 9 am ET on November 6, clinching the electoral win in a tightly contested vote that drew historic turnout.
The victory comes as a massive relief to Biden’s supporters after an anxiety-ridden few days during which a record amount of mail-in ballots were tallied. It also serves as a promise — though certainly not a guarantee — that the high-octane drama of the Trump years might finally be coming to an end.
Trump, for his part, has signalled he may not go quietly, calling into question the legitimacy of the late-counted votes that arrived by mail in the states that clinched it for Biden.
For Biden and Harris, the victory marks the end of the campaign — but the beginning of an even more daunting challenge. Biden, who enters the White House as both the chief executive with the most experience in public service in US history and the oldest man to assume the presidency, will assume his duties amid a historic crisis, a pandemic that has already claimed more American lives than World War I, Korea and Vietnam combined and has produced the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression.
And Biden and Harris may have to take power with a Republican Senate. As of this writing, the small chance of a Democratic Senate hinges on runoff elections in Georgia in January and uncalled races in North Carolina and Alaska. A slight majority for Republicans is very likely. A Democratic failure to take the upper house — even if they hang on to the House of Representatives as expected — could effectively end Biden’s agenda before it has a chance to take form.
Biden won the presidency by partially rebuilding the so-called “blue wall” for Democrats — the industrial Midwestern states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. He also planted a Democratic flag in the Sunbelt, with Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina all still in play (Biden leads in the first two and is behind in the third). As of this writing, he has amassed 73.7 million votes to Trump’s 69.6 million — a spread of 50.5 percent to 47.7 percent — and can lay claim to the record for most votes in US history.