Biden defeats Trump to become 46th president of the United States

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by the historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil. His victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed the processing of some ballots. Biden crossed 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania. Biden, 77, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy.

President Donald Trump is not conceding to President-elect Joe Biden, promising unspecified legal challenges seeking to overturn the outcome of the race for the White House. Trump said in a statement that “our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.” Trump was at his Virginia golf course when the presidential race was called for Biden on Saturday. Biden clinched his victory with a win in Pennsylvania, the state where he was born. In recent weeks, Trump has alleged — without evidence — widespread fraud and misconduct in the election.

Days before he left the White House in 2017, President Barack Obama surprised Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, declaring his septuagenarian, white-haired lieutenant “the best vice president America’s ever had,” a “lion of American history.” The tribute marked the presumed end of a long public life that put Biden in the orbit of the Oval Office for 45 years — yet, through a combination of family and personal tragedy, his own political missteps and sheer bad timing, had never allowed him to sit behind the Resolute Desk himself. It turns out the pinnacle would not elude Biden after all.

Kamala Harris made history Saturday as the first Black woman elected as vice president of the United States, shattering barriers that have kept men — almost all of them white — entrenched at the highest levels of American politics for more than two centuries. The 56-year-old California senator, also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, represents the multiculturalism that defines America but is largely absent from Washington’s power centers. Her Black identity has allowed her to speak in personal terms in a year of reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism. As the highest-ranking woman ever elected in American government, her victory gives hope to women who were devastated by Hillary Clinton’s defeat four years ago.

WHY AP CALLED PENNSYLVANIA FOR BIDEN: Four years ago, President Donald Trump breached the Democrats’ “blue wall,” narrowly winning Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — a trio of Great Lakes states that had long served as a bulwark against Republican presidential candidates. On Saturday, Democrat Joe Biden captured it back — and also won the presidency — after The Associated Press declared the former vice president the winner of his native Pennsylvania at 11:25 a.m. EST. The AP called the race for Biden, who held a 34,243-vote lead, after it determined that the remaining ballots left to be counted would not allow Trump to catch up.

The most turbulent and norm-breaking presidential election of a lifetime has led to an extraordinary spectacle in the United States over the past three days: armed protesters gathering nightly outside offices where workers are counting the votes that will decide who wins the White House. As former Vice President Joe Biden secured enough electoral votes on Saturday to win the race, key battlegrounds were bracing for planned protests and counterprotests. Some carry shotguns. Some have handguns. Often, they carry military-style semiautomatic rifles. The protesters with weapons are a small minority of the demonstrators. There have been no reports of anyone getting shot, and the laws in Arizona, Nevada and Michigan — where guns have been seen outside vote-tabulation centers in recent days — allow people to openly carry firearms in public.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A handful of states remained in play Friday in the tightly contested U.S. presidential race. The outcome of contests in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Nevada will determine whether Democrat Joe Biden or President Donald Trump wins. The solidly Republican state of Alaska has also not been called because it is only 50% counted and will not release absentee numbers until Nov. 10. It is not expected to impact the outcome. The Associated Press reviews the states that will determine the presidency: ___ GEORGIA: Outstanding ballots left to be counted and a razor-thin margin THE BACKGROUND: A razor-thin margin and ongoing vote count are what’s making the Georgia contest between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden too early to call.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s wild and unsupported claims of voter fraud have emerged as a high-stakes Republican loyalty test that illustrates the tug of war likely to define the future of the GOP whether he wins or loses the presidency. There is a pervasive sense among current and former GOP officials that the president’s behavior is irresponsible if not dangerous, but a divide has emerged between those influential Republicans willing to call him out publicly and those who aren’t. Driving their calculus is an open acknowledgement that Trump’s better-than-expected showing on Election Day ensures that he will remain the Republican Party’s most powerful voice for years to come even if he loses.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday a major overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalizing so-called “honor killings.” The broadening of personal freedoms reflects the changing profile of a country that has sought to bill itself as a Westernized destination for tourists, fortune-seekers and businesses despite its Islamic legal code that has previously triggered court cases against foreigners and outrage in their home countries. The reforms aim to boost the country’s economic and social standing and “consolidate the UAE’s principles of tolerance,” said state-run WAM news agency, which offered only minimal details in the surprise weekend announcement.

HALLE, Belgium (AP) — In times when a pandemic unleashes death and poverty, the concept of what is essential to keep society functioning in a lockdown is gripping Europe. Beyond the obvious — food stores and pharmacies — some answers in the patchwork of nations and cultures that make up Europe can approach the surreal. What is allowed on one side of a border can be banned just a brief stroll down the road, on the other. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while it might seem fairest to just shut everything down, “it’s perhaps not the most practical” solution. “If people are only satisfied when everything possible is shut down, then that’s a view which naturally doesn’t make economic sense,” Merkel said.

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