Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States after finally securing sufficient electoral college votes following a marathon count that delivered him the state of Pennsylvania, triggering celebrations across the United States.
At around 11.25 on Saturday morning, US time, networks and AP began calling Pennsylvania for the former vice-president, who currently leads there by nearly 30,000 votes, handing Biden the 270 electoral college votes he needs for victory.
As President Donald Trump raged in the White House about a rigged election and electoral fraud, his lead in key battleground states steadily evaporated over the last three days with the counting of mail and pre-poll ballots, despite extensive and futile Trump efforts to convince courts to prevent further counting.
Biden is also well ahead in Nevada and Arizona, though his lead in Georgia has shrunk as final votes have been counted. Once counting is completed — which may take several more days — Biden looks set for more than 300 electoral college votes — a massive win for a candidate that right-wing media have portrayed as having underperformed expectations.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Biden has so far received nearly 75 million votes, 4.1 million more than Trump and easily the highest level of votes ever in a US election. His 50% of the vote will further reinforce his legitimacy.
Trump — who not long before Biden’s victory tweeted “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” — found himself abandoned by Republican allies as he attacked the electoral process; Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers appeared to turn on him after his insistence he had won and that Biden could only win with the counting of “illegal” votes. Even right-wing Fox News called the election for Biden shortly after other networks. Trump reacted to his loss by leaving the White House to go golfing, with Trump loyalists promising that he would ramp up a legal campaign to thwart the results.
Celebrations erupted across the US and messages of congratulations poured in from world leaders for Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris, who in January will be sworn in as the first female, first Black and first south Asian vice-president.
Biden will address America Saturday night US time, having an issue an email following declarations of victory
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in vice-president-elect Harris.
In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together. I’m going to speak to the nation tonight and I’d love for you to watch.”