Race for 270: What’s next for Trump, Biden and America

Neither President Donald Trump nor Joe Biden have reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the 2020 presidential race.

The Associated Press, which this newspaper follows, has not called several battleground states, nor have other major media outlets. Hundreds of thousands of ballots cast have not yet been counted.

Trump, the Republican incumbent, on early Wednesday claimed victory and vowed to take the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democrat Biden, the former vice president, asked for patience as the vote counting continued and said he believed he ultimately would win.

Key States

Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three expected battlegrounds, proved to be just that.

Late vote counting gave Biden small leads in Michigan and Wisconsin on Wednesday. AP called Wisconsin for Biden just after 2 p.m. Wednesday. Trump had a lead in Pennsylvania, but hundreds of thousands of mail-in votes still need to be processed there. Votes in Pennsylvania can be counted if they were postmarked by Nov. 3 and arrive up to three days after the election.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf tweeted Wednesday morning that his state had over 1 million ballots to be counted and that he “promised Pennsylvanians that we would count every vote and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Other states that have not been called include Nevada, which was leaning to Biden, and Alaska, Georgia and North Carolina, where Trump held onto leads as counting continued.

Vote counts

The AP notes that vote tabulations routinely continue beyond Election Day, and states set their rules for when the vote count has to end.

Federal law requires that presidential electors meet by Dec. 14 this year.

Legal battles

Trump suggested the counting should end and that he would fight for that outcome at the U.S. Supreme Court. Biden’s team on Wednesday vowed to contest the president if he did so.

“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election,” Biden said. “That’s the decision of the American people.”

He added: the election “ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”

Legal experts were dubious of Trump’s declaration, according to the AP.

“I do not see a way that he could go directly to the Supreme Court to stop the counting of votes. There could be fights in specific states, and some of those could end up at the Supreme Court. But this is not the way things work,” said Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California-Irvine.

Trump has appointed three of the high court’s nine justices including, most recently, Amy Coney Barrett.

Americans divided

The race underscored divisions in America.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed nearly 233,000 people in the U.S., and it shaped the vote for many.

Democrats focused on mail-in and early voting efforts, while Republicans mounted a large effort to dominate Election Day turnout.

That difference, however, created the uncertainty of which types of votes had been counted because it varied by state.

With the coronavirus now surging anew, voters ranked the pandemic and the economy as top concerns in the race between Trump and Biden, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate.

Voters were especially likely to call the public health crisis the nation’s most important issue, with the economy following close behind. Fewer named health care, racism, law enforcement, immigration or climate change

The survey found that Trump’s leadership loomed large in voters' decision-making. Nearly two-thirds of voters said their vote was about Trump — either for him or against him.

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