UPDATED: 11:35 A.M. ET, Nov. 7 —
It’s finally official.
Joe Biden has been projected to defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, clearing the way for Kamala Harris to become the first woman and first Black woman vice president-elect. The Associated Press called the race late Saturday morning after it was determined that Biden won the race in Pennsylvania, which carries enough electoral college votes to push him past the threshold to become president-elect.
Biden’s win caused Trump to be the first incumbent American president to lose re-election in nearly 30 years.
While defeating Trump was a priority for civil rights groups, they also emphasized the deep significance of Kamala Harris’ rise to the executive branch of government.
“Vice President Elect Kamala Harris stands on the shoulders of hundreds of thousands of Black women who have fought, organized, run for office and voted in order for us to reach this moment,” Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, said in part of a statement emailed to NewsOne.
“There is no way to overstate the significance of having a woman of African descent serving at the highest levels of leadership in a country that once denied Black women full citizenship,” Glynda Carr, President and CEO of Higher Heights, said in an emailed statement. “This was a hard-won and hard-fought race, in the most unprecedented political climate in modern history. Yet, in the face of an existential threat to our democracy, more Americans voted than in any other election in U.S. history, moving us a step forward in our fight for equity and equality.”
Trump’s path to re-election had been all but mathematically eliminated on Friday as votes continued to be counted.
After the votes counted in Georgia completed Biden’s comeback and pushed him past Trump in that state, the same was true in Pennsylvania Friday morning following days of trailing the president by hundreds of thousands of votes. The final margins were not immediately available — and they may not be for a few more days as provisional ballots must still be counted — but the electoral college math was not on Trump’s side. Georgia also announced Friday morning it would begin to recount all votes, but the proverbial writing was already on the ballots, so to speak.
Georgia’s 16 electoral college votes and Pennsylvania’s 20 were expected to ultimately be added to Biden’s existing total of 253, which would add up to well beyond the 270 electoral college votes needed to win a presidential election. Georgia on Friday announced its plans to recount the votes there. Trump cannot be re-elected unless he wins Pennsylvania, where there were still thousands of votes left to be counted as of Friday morning.
Biden was expected to address the nation Friday night.
With that said, Vox’s Decision Desk called the commonwealth’s election in Biden’s favor because, “It became pretty obvious that as the remaining votes across the state and in Philadelphia are counted, Biden’s lead will continue to grow.”
The results in Arizona and Nevada were also still outstanding and not official. However, Biden, 77, was leading in both of those races. Trump was clinging to a slim lead in the North Carolina election, a contest rendered inconsequential since Biden has all but locked up Georgia and Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes.
Without claiming victory, Biden on Friday morning issued a statement that seemed to troll Trump, who has suggested he wouldn’t accept defeat and defiantly implied might stay in the White House.
“As we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election,” the brief statement said. “And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
The apparent difference in the election proved to be the absentee and mailed ballots, which were counted in Georgia and Pennsylvania separately following the votes cast in-person on Election Day. Prior to them being counted, Biden faced a deficit of votes in each state on Election Night.
Trump has vowed to sue over unproven claims of voter fraud. Depending on how close the contests ends up being, automatic recounts could be ordered in other states. With that said, Biden’s leads were expected to grow as ballots continue to be counted. It was unclear when the official final results of the entire election would be announced.
The developments meant that Harris, the presumptive vice president-elect, would be a literal heartbeat away from becoming the first Black woman president of the United States.
The win was the latest in a long line of “firsts” for Harris, 56. Prior to making Black history in the 2020 election, she did the same as the first woman district attorney in San Francisco, the first woman and Black person to be California’s attorney general and the first Black and South Asian woman on a major party’s presidential ticket. Harris is also the first HBCU graduate to not only be nominated for vice president but also to win it, a fact that is sure to further excite the greater Howard University community of students, alumni and faculty alike. She will also be the first member of the historically Black Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. to occupy the office f the vice president.
The battle to reach 270 electoral votes was a slow and, at times, painful one as Trump falsely declared his victory on Election Night in an admitted effort to have votes stop being counted in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Trump also on Wednesday called for a recount in Wisconsin’s election and filed a lawsuit to stop counting in Michigan. Biden has already been declared the winner in Michigan.
Harris on Wednesday made a brief appearance alongside Biden when the Democratic nominee briefly addressed the media to encourage vote-counting to continue and also to express his confidence in his and Harris’ candidacy.
“After a long night of counting it is clear that we’re winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. I’m not here to declare that we’ve won,” Biden said glancing at Harris. “But I am here to report that when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”
Harris had to be reveling in her looming political ascension from the U.S. Senate to the top of the executive branch of the American government. But she must have also taken at least a little delight in being part of the presidential ticket that evicted Trump from the White House. After all, it was only last week when Trump resorted to using a racist trope when he attacked her during one of his campaign rallies.
The same president who has repeatedly lashed out at the media for covering him accurately had the audacity to call Harris “angry,” a triggering and loaded word that has real racist connotations when directed at Black women, in particular.
But in the end, it was the Black woman who was left standing along with Biden as the racist president and suspected tax evader was forced to accept defeat at the hands of someone who he has repeatedly targeted with racist attacks and other insults.
This is America.