UPDATED: 1:27 a.m., Nov. 4 ET —
Joe Biden asked for “patience” early Wednesday morning and said neither presidential candidate can declare victory in an election that has seemingly turned into a much closer contest than polling suggested it would be. Results have already been called in many states, setting the stage for the election to be decided by five states.
The developments came as Donald Trump tweeted without proof that “they are trying to STEAL the Election.”
The tweet was flagged by Twitter because the social media site determined that “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”
As of early Wednesday morning, Biden was leading Trump in the race to 270 electoral college votes 224-213, according to a running tabulation by the Associated Press.
However, the results in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin remained elusive as certain counties in each state had not yet counted all votes, including those cast via mail and during the early voting period. The states have a combined 73 electoral college votes at stake.
In the meantime, exit polls provided an interesting look at the racial makeup of voters whose ballots have been counted thus far. According to data crunched by Edison Research, which was cited by the Washington Post and other mainstream media, overall support for Trump among Black voters rose since the president’s election in 2016.
While all the voting has not been counted — which means the levels of support along racial lines could still change — the exit polls showed that Trump was enjoying support from 12 percent of Black voters. That’s double the rate from four years ago, according to statistics from Pew Research Center.
That number spikes among Black men, 18 percent of whom have voted for Trump this year compared to 14 percent in 2016. Eight percent of Black women voters also supported Trump compared to zero percent in the last election. Perhaps even more telling was how much better Trump was doing with Hispanic voters than the last election.
The exit polling turned into a veritable blame game on cable news channels with Black voters inexplicably being held responsible for what critics suspected could lead to Trump’s re-election. It was an unproven and disingenuous notion that was promptly shot down on social media.
The results of many crucial down-ballot races were confirmed, including Jaime Harrison‘s historic bid for South Carolina U.S. Senate ending in a loss to incumbent Lindsey Graham. Read more about that election’s results here.
In Georgia, votes-counting in Fulton County — which includes Atlanta — was paused following a water pipe bursting at State Farm Arena, a polling place. As of midnight, less than 20 percent of the heavily Democratic precinct’s votes had been counted.
This development is important because Georgia is one of the key battleground states that could help determine the outcome of the election. But it’s also significant because more than 44 percent of the Fulton County population of about 1 million people is Black, a group with which suspected voter-suppressor Gov. Brian Kemp has had a contentious relationship.
Results from other elections of national importance were determined with final results, including the Kentucky Senate race between incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Amy McGrath. McConnell has played a villainous role against Democrats in a stretch that includes blocking action initiated by President Barack Obama, who, of course, is the first Black president. It was in that context that the news McConnell had won his election Tuesday night was likely received from his political opponents.
The presidential race has been marked by a decided contrast in styles with Biden’s measured traditional approach to campaigning compared to Trump’s reckless racist rhetoric while deflecting responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic.
National polling showed Biden clinging to a slim lead as the polls opened on Election Day following a record number of ballots cast during the early voting period.
There were fears that the U.S. Postal Service’s slowdown of deliveries could prevent hundreds of thousands of ballots from being counted. That was because of Trump’s appointment of one of his cronies to lead the postal service as an increased number of people planned to vote early with absentee ballots sent via mail.
There were early reports of voter suppression Tuesday morning as voters reported everything from unbelievably long lines to faulty voting machines to polling places not opening on time in key battleground states. However, none of the claims seemed to fit into officials’ definition of voter suppression and voters ultimately experienced a smooth voting process, for the most part.