Donald Trump (falsely) declares victory, calls election a fraud, vows to go to Supreme Court as mailed in ballots are yet to be fully counted as the US elections face stalemate.
What now? Donald Trump has declared victory in the deadlocked US Presidential elections in the early morning hours of Wednesday, calling Tuesday’s election a ‘fraud on the American people’ and saying that he was going to the Supreme Court to stop all vote counting immediately.
‘Frankly we did win this election,’ he said.
The Republican incumbent’s claim despite there yet to be an officiated winner is set to the stage for a potential bitter battle against the Democrat’s Joe Biden over the millions of ballots which have yet to be counted – and which might not be fully counted until as late as Friday.
It had been thought that the mailed ballots were tipped towards Biden, with Trump’s team previously saying they had expected supporters to turn out en masse on election day. The wildcard still remained whether ‘naked ballots’ being mailed in amid the ongoing pandemic could upend mail in voting.
With Trump having kept Florida, Texas and Ohio – the biggest prizes from the battleground – the election effectively comes down to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where millions of votes remain uncounted. Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina were also counting as he spoke.
Arizona win tips scales in favor of Biden
Of note, the traditionally Republican battle state of Arizona went to the Democrats, making Biden the first Democrat to win the state since 1996.
Arizona is poised to give Biden a precarious path to victory, even if he were to lose one of three Midwestern states with tight races that are part of his battle plan.
During his early morning speech at the White House, Trump demanded all counting stop as he boasted about the margins he had rung up already.
‘This is a fraud on the American public, this is an embarrassment to our country, we were getting ready to win this election, frankly we did win this election,’ Trump proclaimed in the White House’s East Room, surrounded by his family and supporters.
Trump claimed that a ‘very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise’ his voters. ‘They can’t catch us,’ Trump complained several times. The president also took exception to ‘somebody’ – Fox News Channel – having called Arizona for Biden.
Trump railed that the election had not been called already by TV networks and the press – although that is not their role.
Trump then threatened a legal challenge – without explaining how.
BREAKING: Donald Trump, without evidence, has called the election a fraud on the American public as he declares victory before the election has been called.
Mr Trump added he will be taking the result to the Supreme Court pic.twitter.com/8S9e5EBEjm
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) November 4, 2020
‘it ain’t over till every vote is counted’.
‘This is a major fraud on our nation,’ he said. ‘So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court – we want all voting to stop – we don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning.’
Votes from major metro areas that lean Democratic – including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Detroit and Atlanta – were still being counted, with updates not expected for several hours. The deadline in Pennsylvania for late-arriving ballots is Friday.
Trump’s move was immediately condemned by some Republicans including Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, and by Ben Shapiro, the influential podcaster who both said Trump had not won the election.
The President’s statement came two hours after Biden took to a Wilmington stage with his wife Jill to say that he believed he was going to win – and that every vote had to be counted.
Biden had been first to speak, just after midnight, saying, ‘We feel good about where we are, we really do. I’m here to tell you tonight, we believe we’re on track to win this election,’ while cautiously adding, ‘it ain’t over till every vote is counted’.
With polling votes yet to be fully counted, Biden and Trump were effectively in a stalemate, pending the lengthy process of counting mail-in ballots — which Trump has disputed as being fraud.
#BREAKING Incumbent US despot Donald Trump prematurely declares victory in controversial elections as vote counting continues, vows to appeal to his hand-picked Supreme Court judges to stop all counting. Many fear that this will incite more tribal violence in the troubled nation.
— gathara (@gathara) November 4, 2020
Twitter flags Trump’s tweet: ‘they are trying to STEAL the Election’.
Trump tweeted immediately after Biden’s speech to accuse Biden of fraud and to say he was ‘winning BIG’ and would make his own statement.
‘Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!’ he tweeted from the White House residence – spelling polls incorrectly, but making clear that the battle will be over late-arriving mail-in ballots.
Trump tweeted that ‘they are trying to STEAL the Election’. His accusation was flagged almost immediately by Twitter as ‘misleading’
The precarious balance of cast votes most likely meant that known election results would take well into Wednesday and probably even longer to be determined.
Keeping Ohio, Florida and Texas also suggested that polls had badly underestimated Trump’s support in the key battlegrounds – with some giving Biden double-digit leads with days to go, only for it to evaporate.
With Trump having won Florida, Texas and Ohio, handed the president key pieces of his 2016 successful electoral map – depriving Joe Biden of an early prize that would have sent a powerful signal had he won it.
However, the AP and other networks stopped short of calling Florida for Trump, given the close margin, outstanding vote, and the state’s history of close and contested elections.
The current play now meant Biden needed to win two of the three Midwestern states which Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 to get to 270 electoral college votes. But with Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin all saying that mail-in ballot counting is going to run into Wednesday and even later, that means there is no rapid resolution in sight.
Adding to the confusion and drama of the evening, each state counted its votes differently – with some running through early votes quickly, and others starting with Election Day votes, and mail-in ballots continuing to be the wild card.
Pennsylvania holds the answers
Both Biden and Donald Trump have been eyeing Pennsylvania as one of the key swing states in the White House race.
Pennsylvania accounts for a significant 20 electoral votes meaning both Republicans and Democrats – as well as pollsters – believe the outcome of the state could dictate the entire race.
Concerns are mounting that Trump will declare victory in the state long before votes are counted or that he will attempt to stop mail-in votes being counted after election day.
Democrats are thought to be more likely to vote by mail-in voting given Trump’s constant rhetoric that the process is ‘rigged’.
The stalemate comes as Trump conceded on Tuesday that he doesn’t take losing well along with saying that he expected the election winner to be known, claiming he wants to know by Election Night, but doubling down on preparing to launch a legal battle in several states over the results.
‘I’m not thinking about a concession speech or acceptance speech yet. Hopefully we’ll be doing only one of those two,’ Trump told reporters as he visited his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia Tuesday afternoon as voters lined up all over the country to cast their ballots.
‘And you know, winning is easy,’ the president continued. ‘Losing is never easy. Not for me, it’s not.’