US election 2020: Biden needed a clear win to prevent Trump from crying foul – but that hasn’t happened
In a speech lasting just over nine minutes, Donald Trump threw American democracy into chaos.
With a mass of Stars and Stripes behind him, he told his supporters that “they can’t catch us”.
Cue cheers and applause amongst the hundreds gathered for an election night party in the White House and without a mask to be seen – Nigel Farage reportedly among them.
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“This is a fraud on the electorate, an embarrassment for the American people,” Mr Trump said. “We’ll be going to the Supreme Court, we want voting to stop.”
He left stage with that hanging in the air, and without taking questions from journalists.
Mr Trump had already set the tone with a tweet before he spoke: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
The social media site, so often in conflict with the president recently, immediately flagged it as misleading and then removed it.
Joe Biden, in contrast, took a more sober but equally confident tone on Twitter: “We feel good about where we are. We believe we are on track to win this election.”
He repeated his message to supporters on stage in his home state of Delaware.
If they’re to do it, the three mid northwestern rust belt states will be crucial: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Set aside the optimism from both camps and this election is tight, far tighter than many anticipated.
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Florida, which would have given Mr Biden an early and almost certain win, declared for Mr Trump as I write this. The Cuban-American Latino vote turned out in big numbers for him.
Democratic “moonshot” states like Texas look unlikely to come through. Ohio stayed Republican red – Mr Trump retained his core ground.
Arizona though, if confirmed, is a real coup for the Democratic Party – a firm step forward on the path to power for Mr Biden.
But this uncertainty and jeopardy is the precise scenario that the Biden camp didn’t want. They were hoping for a clear win – something decisive that prevented Mr Trump crying foul.
That hasn’t happened. Heading into a new day, it’s still too close to call.
Pennsylvania could be the key state, as predicted, and we might have to wait a few days for that to conclude. If Mr Biden can win Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan he won’t need the Keystone State.
Sit tight, it could be a bumpy ride.
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