WASHINGTON — In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans turned out in record numbers to cast their votes, and although results won’t be certified for a few more weeks, Joe Biden is projected by the AP and CBS News to be the next president of the United States. With a projected win in Pennsylvania, Biden would secure the 270 electoral votes necessary to defeat incumbent President Donald Trump.
Biden victories around the Great Lakes, a region that helped Trump win the presidency in 2016, became a turning point in the 2020 election as Biden pulled ahead in the electoral vote count.
Biden hosted a press conference Wednesday that didn’t declare victory but projected it once all the votes were counted.
“There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America,” Biden said.
President Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits in three battleground states -- Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan – to stop vote counting, but a judge has already thrown out the Georgia suit. His campaign is also requesting a recount in Wisconsin.
“Shrouded in secrecy, Democrats continue to make voting changes in the eleventh hour that will only dilute the integrity of the vote, delay results, and diminish confidence in the outcome,” the Republican National Committee said in a statement Wednesday. “The RNC and Trump Campaign are prepared to take all legal actions to ensure the integrity of the election, and that includes holding rogue Democrat officials accountable.”
DC reacts: Biden projected winner
Biden describes himself as a center-left candidate and has run a campaign centered on building up the middle class, providing free COVID-19 testing and creating a national contact tracing program, tackling systemic racism, fighting climate change with a plan for clean energy future, expanding Obamacare and undoing Trump’s immigration policies.
Biden served as the 47th Vice President of the United States (2009-2017) under President Barack Obama, after being elected to seven terms as a U.S. Senator from Delaware. He spent part of his time in Congress as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and eight years as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He led the effort to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, and voted for authorization of the Iraq War in 2003 but has since criticized how it was handled.
With deep roots in the Senate, he was an active and influential vice president, helping to negotiate with Republicans to avoid budget crises. He also headed up a task force on gun control following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn. The passage of the Affordable Care Act, the implementation of the Recovery Act to stabilize the economy and traveling to more than 50 countries, are among the accomplishments Biden touts during his tenure as the former vice president.
Obama presented his VP with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – America’s highest civilian honor -- just before the pair left office. Obama added the veneration “with distinction” to the award, which had been given only three times previously.
Biden has endured personal tragedy throughout his life. In 1972, just six years after marrying his first wife Neilia Hunter, Neilia and Biden’s infant daughter, Naomi, died in a car crash; his two sons – Hunter and Beau -- were also seriously hurt. He considered putting his political career on hold after his wife and daughter died one month after his election to the Senate but chose to serve and took the oath from his sons’ hospital room. And in 2015, his son Beau died at age 46 after battling brain cancer.
The former vice president has run for president unsuccessfully twice before. In 1988 he dropped out after reports that he plagiarized part of a speech. He ran again in 2008, but struggled to gain traction and dropped out before being named as Obama’s running mate. He chose not to run in 2016 as his family grieved over Beau’s death. Biden later said in an interview that he felt he was the most qualified person but that he couldn’t put his whole heart and soul into a campaign at the time.