UPDATE, Nov. 4, 9:31 p.m. EST:
Donald Trump’s path to reelection was nearly closed off Wednesday after Joe Biden flipped the battlegrounds of Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona, and inched closer in Georgia, as Trump unleashed a flurry of eleventh-hour challenges.
Trump’s campaign announced it would “immediately” request a recount in Wisconsin and filed lawsuits in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania, dispatching allies to Philadelphia for a hastily arranged news conference in which they took no questions.
In a year when the coronavirus pandemic has devastated millions in the U.S., when individuals like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor joined a growing list of African-American victims of police violence and when people around the world began noticing that Black lives do matter, voters took pains to remove the knee off the collective necks of Black Americans.
In the tightest of races, former Vice President Joe Biden held a slight advantage in both the popular and electoral college vote.
In a late-night tweet, Biden’s camp said they were “anxious, but expected to win.”
President Donald Trump and his supporters also voiced confidence of reelection and a stunning upset given the president’s negligence with the coronavirus and his penchant for racist and sexist rhetoric.
Many political observers don’t expect concrete results for at least days, if not weeks.
With the magic number of 270 electoral votes the only thing that matters, Biden held a 225 to 213 lead as of 7 a.m. Wednesday as nearly 160 million voters exercised their constitutional right to vote.
Several battleground states remained undeclared including: Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. But in some states, the differences in votes secured by the two candidates were razor thin – several thousand in total.
Biden did become the first Democrat to win Arizona since 1996 when Bill Clinton took the state.
“We knew this was going to go long, but who knew we would go into tomorrow and maybe even longer,” Biden said at a 12:45 a.m. speech in Wilmington.
“We have to have patience. It ain’t over till every ballot is counted, but we’re feeling good about where we are,” Biden declared.
“We won Arizona and that’s a turnaround, we won Minnesota and are still in it in Georgia, and we didn’t expect that.”
Biden exclaimed the winner is Americans’ decision, but he’s confident he’ll be the next president.
Many Democrats expected a “Blue Wave” because of the unhinged way Trump has run the country and hoped for a sweep into the White House and but regain control of the Senate.
However, as of 7 a.m., Wednesday, only one seat in the Senate had turned blue – Colorado.
“We are up big but they are trying to steal the election,” Trump tweeted. “We will never let them do it,” he declared in keeping up his pre-Election Day rhetoric.
Trump has already said he would contest the results in Arizona, even turning his ire toward pro-President FOX News, who called the state for Biden.
Still, despite a record number of early votes and a nation teetering on the brink, many Americans showed they want four more years of Trump.
“Too many either have ignored or enjoyed the dog whistles coming from this president and his administration and all the divisiveness they promote,” Richard Langley of Palmer Park, Maryland, stated.
Langley said he thought voters would send a loud and clear message to Trump and Republicans.
“They did not, which scares me because it indicates that America is as racist as this president. It shows they are as racist as [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and [South Carolina Sen.] Lindsey Graham,” Langley demurred.
Bishop Harry Jackson, the pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville and a member of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, noted that he wasn’t surprised Trump did well because some African-American men supported Trump over Joe Biden.
“Everywhere that we have gone, I have found more Black men supporting Trump,” Jackson said. “The question has been by how large the margin would be because we were hearing reports that more Black men were getting what Trump was all about.”
Jackson demanded that “Donald Trump is not a racist; he just has an affinity toward results-oriented people.”
Many others disagreed with Jackson.
“He may have brainwashed people like 50 Cent and Lil’ Wayne, but you can’t put our decent Black men in that mix,” Sandra Cohen, a lifelong Alexandria resident and school secretary, stated.
“I think this election is as close as it is because we all underestimated just how many white supremacists there are in this country and just how much people love their white privilege,” Cohen said.
Voters were expected to hand control of the Senate back to Democrats after righteous indignation over McConnell’s preference to rush through a controversial Supreme Court nominee rather than work toward legislation to assist pandemic-stricken citizens.
Further, many said they thought a Biden victory would provide hope that more than 500 immigrant children could finally reunite with their parents. The children were torn out of their parents’ arms by a heartless administration that sent foreign-born mothers and fathers to their countries of origin while tossing defenseless youth and infants into cages.
“We can only hope that Biden eventually will be declared the winner, but this is awful,” Cohen stated. “How can we continue to live in a country that doesn’t want us here, or that wants to treat us as less than human?”
WI Editor D. Kevin McNeir contributed to this report.