Those Americans who did not stay up all night on November 3 to watch the election results come in are waking up to uncertainty. As night turned to morning, there was still no winner in the presidential race. Despite record turnout, several crucial states remained undecided. The final vote tallies in North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania are still not determined. President Donald Trump holds leads in all of these states except Wisconsin, where Democratic challenger Joe Biden has a razor-thin edge. Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina suspended counting in the early hours of November 4.
The president outraged Democrats by claiming electoral fraud and asserting his belief that he had, in fact, secured a second term. “This is a fraud on the American public,” Trump said in early morning remarks. “This is an embarrassment to our country.”
“We were getting ready to win the election, frankly, we did win this election,” the commander in chief added.
In his own remarks, the former vice president expressed optimism: “We’re still in the game in Georgia, although that’s not one we expected – and we’re feeling real good about Wisconsin and Michigan.” Biden went on to say that, even though vote counting might continue for some time, he would ultimately win Pennsylvania.
The main takeaways from the night were intriguing and unexpected in several ways. While the president got a smaller share of the black vote than appeared likely, Hispanic/Latino support did not materialize for Biden as widely anticipated; hence, his defeat in Florida.
Trump had been optimistic about his chances in Minnesota, but the state went for Biden. The president also appears to have lost Arizona, which undoubtedly disrupted his campaign’s expectations. Despite being called for Biden, though, that state could still end up in Trump’s column, although it appears doubtful. Perhaps another disappointment for the incumbent was the Georgia race. Though Trump leads in the Peach State, a potential Biden win remains on the cards.
The Biden campaign is undoubtedly reeling from the likely impending loss of Michigan. North Carolina, upon which the Democrat was also counting, is too close to call. Wisconsin could still go either way, while, in Pennsylvania, Biden will need a considerable percentage of the outstanding vote to carry the state. Nevada is also still close but undecided.
Democrats Fall Short in Congressional Races
The White House race aside, it was not a good night for Democrats. The opposition party had been trumpeting a blue wave that would see it increase its hold over the House of Representatives and sweep it to a Senate majority. While Democrats picked up Senate seats in Arizona and Colorado, Doug Jones (D) was unseated by former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in Alabama.
As of Wednesday morning, then, Democrats have a net gain of one Senate seat. Several races remain undecided, though it appears likely that Democrats will not flip Susan Collins’ Maine seat or capture David Perdue’s Georgia seat. Several other Republican senators targeted by the opposition turned out not to be as vulnerable as expected. Joni Ernst was re-elected in Iowa, and Steve Daines successfully defended his Montana seat against Democrat Steve Bullock.
Despite pouring vast amounts of money into the South Carolina race, Democrats fell far short of ejecting Republican Lindsey Graham from the Senate. Leader Mitch McConnell also handily won another term in Kentucky. In Georgia, Republican Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock are headed for a runoff.
Democratic Senator Gary Peters appears likely to lose his Michigan Senate seat to GOP rising star John James. The vote count is not yet complete, but James holds a relatively comfortable lead.
Republicans have picked up at least four seats in the House, cutting into Democrats’ majority – a drastic reversal of the latter’s expected fortunes.
Election Day was, perhaps, always likely to be a messy affair due to the enormous number of mail-in ballots and the fact that states have different deadlines for the return of those ballots. For the president, a bigger than expected win in the all-important state of Florida appeared to set the stage for victory.
Trump seems to be on course for wins in Michigan and Pennsylvania, considering the current size of his leads in those states when compared to the estimated number of outstanding votes. Nothing is certain, though, and both campaigns are already lining up legal challenges.
The nation may endure several days or more of tension until a final winner is determined. All things considered, the president appears relatively likely to secure a second term, but celebrations by his supporters may yet be a little premature.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.