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Biden approaches 80 million votes in historic victory


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Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden’s win­ning tal­ly is approach­ing a record 80 mil­lion votes as Demo­c­ra­t­ic bas­tions con­tin­ue to count bal­lots and the 2020 elec­tion cracks turnout records.

Biden has already set a record for the high­est num­ber of votes for a win­ning pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has also notched a high-water mark of the most votes for a los­ing can­di­date. With more than 155 mil­lion votes count­ed and Cal­i­for­nia and New York still count­ing, turnout stands at 65% of all eli­gi­ble vot­ers, the high­est since 1908, accord­ing to data from The Asso­ci­at­ed Press and the U.S. Elec­tions Project.

The ris­ing Biden tal­ly and his pop­u­lar vote lead — near­ly 6 mil­lion votes — come as Trump has esca­lat­ed his false insis­tence that he actu­al­ly won the elec­tion, and his cam­paign and sup­port­ers inten­si­fy their uphill legal fight to stop or delay results from being cer­ti­fied, poten­tial­ly nul­li­fy the votes of Amer­i­cans.

“It’s just a lot of noise going on, because Don­ald Trump is a bull who car­ries his own chi­na shop with him,” said Dou­glas Brink­ley, a pres­i­den­tial his­to­ri­an at Rice Uni­ver­si­ty. “Once the noise recedes, it’s going to be clear that Biden won a very con­vinc­ing vic­to­ry.”

Biden cur­rent­ly has an Elec­toral Col­lege lead of 290–232. But that does not include elec­tors from Geor­gia, where Biden leads Trump by 0.3 per­cent­age points as offi­cials con­duct a hand tal­ly. The AP has not called the race, but if Biden’s lead holds he will win the Elec­toral Col­lege on 306–232 vote — the iden­ti­cal mar­gin Trump won in 2016. Back then Trump described it as a “land­slide.”

Trump sealed that vic­to­ry with 77,000 votes across three bat­tle­ground states, while Biden’s mar­gin would be slight­ly nar­row­er — about 45,000 votes across Ari­zona, Geor­gia and Wis­con­sin.

That slim­mer win, how­ev­er, is still deci­sive by elec­tion law stan­dards, notes Rick Hasen, a pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Irvine and an expert on vot­ing.

While Biden’s mar­gins in states like Ari­zona and Wis­con­sin seem small — between 12,000 and 20,000 votes — those races aren’t near­ly nar­row enough to be con­sid­ered like­ly to flip through a recount or law­suits. Recounts typ­i­cal­ly shift total votes by only a few hun­dred votes. In 2000, the Flori­da recount and legal bat­tle for the White House was prompt­ed by a 537-vote mar­gin.

“If you’re talk­ing about it being close enough to be with­in what those of us in the field call the mar­gin of lit­i­ga­tion, this is not with­in the mar­gin of lit­i­ga­tion,” Hasen said.

Tim­o­thy Naf­tali, a pres­i­den­tial his­to­ri­an at New York Uni­ver­si­ty, has com­pared Biden’s still-grow­ing pop­u­lar vote and Elec­toral Col­lege mar­gins to those of every win­ner of a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion since 1960. His find­ing: Biden’s win was right in the mid­dle — tighter than land­slides like Barack Obama’s 2008 win or Ronald Reagan’s 1984 wipe­out reelec­tion, but broad­er than Trump’s 2016 vic­to­ry or either of George W. Bush’s two wins.

The clos­est anal­o­gy was Obama’s reelec­tion, which he won by vir­tu­al­ly the same mar­gin as Biden has now.

“Did any­one think 2012 was a nar­row vic­to­ry? No,” Naf­tali said.

Despite that, Trump and his allies are con­tin­u­ing to try to stop cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the elec­tion, in a long­shot attempt to deny states the abil­i­ty to seat elec­tors sup­port­ing Biden. These efforts are very unlike­ly to suc­ceed, but they reached a new pitch this week when two Repub­li­can mem­bers of the board of can­vassers in Michigan’s largest coun­ty Tues­day night man­aged to block cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the votes there. They allowed cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to pro­ceed after an out­cry, but it was a sign of how deeply Trump’s base­less claims of mass fraud have per­me­at­ed.

In fact, argued Michael McDon­ald, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Flori­da pro­fes­sor who tracks vote counts for the U.S. Elec­tions Project, the rel­a­tive­ly nar­row Biden wins in bat­tle­ground states tell a dif­fer­ent sto­ry than the one the pres­i­dent is push­ing.

Democ­rats have wor­ried that the gap between the pop­u­lar vote and the Elec­toral Col­lege tal­lies is grow­ing as Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers clus­ter on the coasts and out­side of bat­tle­ground states. That dynam­ic could make it dif­fi­cult for Democ­rats to win con­gres­sion­al races, cre­at­ing a last­ing dis­ad­van­tage when it comes to advanc­ing poli­cies.

“If there’s any­thing in the data here, it reveals how the sys­tem is stacked against the Democ­rats, not stacked against Trump,” McDon­ald said.

N19nuqPPbPY - Biden approaches 80 million votes in historic victory

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