Polling stations on the East Coast closed Tuesday night as President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden concluded an epic campaign marked by resentment and fear, and that will influence how the country faces a pandemic already basic questions about the economy and racial justice.
The night started with predictable wins for both candidates. Trump won Alabama, Mississippi and Oklahoma, while Biden recorded wins in Massachusetts, his home state of Delaware and Virginia, which used to have no clear political preference and which has become a Democratic stronghold.
Biden has 209 Electoral College points after winning California late at night. Also, the former vice president signed up for Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Virginia, Vermont, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, and New Jersey.RELATED
Trump, for his part, has 118 with Kentucky, West Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas, the Dakotas (North and South), Wyoming, Louisina, Missouri, Kansas, Idaho, Utah and Nebraska.
270 Electoral College votes are needed to win the presidency.
The results were still premature to declare winners in a close contest in both Florida and Georgia, both without a definite partisan preference.
The triumphs begin to define the end of a campaign that was transformed by the coronavirus and marked by controversies. Both candidates declared their rival unfit to lead a nation grappling with COVID-19, a disease that has claimed the lives of more than 230,000 Americans, cost millions of jobs and rewritten the rules of daily life.
Millions of voters put aside their fears about the virus – and the long lines – to vote in person, joining their voices with those of 102 million other Americans who did so days or weeks ago, an unprecedented number equivalent to 73 % of the total vote for the 2016 presidential elections.
Biden entered Election Day with several options to aspire to victory, while Trump, down in polls in several states with no clear political leanings, has a less clear but still feasible route to 270 Electoral College votes.
Control of the Senate is also at stake: Democrats needed to add three seats in case Biden wins the election to have absolute power in Washington for the first time in a decade. The House of Representatives is expected to retain the Democratic majority.