Biden 'honored and humbled' to be president
Republicans vow to fight results in court
Last updated 11/7/2020 at 5:12pm
After nail-biting days of vote counting across battleground states, multiple media outlets reported Saturday that Joe Biden managed to pull together a winning electoral coalition to end Donald Trump's presidency.
Biden issued a statement that said he is “honored and humbled” to be the nation's 46th president following an election that saw a record number of Americans vote.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris tweeted that the victory was “about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it.”
But Democrats were unable to muster a "blue wave" repudiation of Republicans and the incumbent president, despite a coronavirus pandemic that decimated the economy and left almost 250,000 Americans dead.
And Trump did not concede defeat, alleging ballots had gone missing and others had been cast illegally. He promised legal action in response.
“I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT,” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.
New Mexico Republican Party Chair Steve Pearce issued a statement in which he also expressed concerns about election officers “skirting laws or stretching them.”
“The President has great cause for concern, and we must carefully examine the vote,” Pearce said.
“Republicans will continue to fight this election in the courts …”
Vote totals announced by states on Saturday gave Biden more than the 270 electoral votes needed to become president. He was leading the popular vote by more than 4 million.
Biden faces immense challenges as he prepares to govern. His victory provided little lift to down-ballot Democrats, and the GOP could hold on to its Senate majority pending two runoff elections in Georgia - likely foiling liberal dreams of sweeping new climate legislation or overhauling the nation's healthcare system.
"Biden has his work cut out for him," said presidential scholar Joe Ellis, the recipient of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for History. "There's a big agenda out there, and you can expect him to take on the issues, but to do so in a way that is centrist and Democratic and calm us down. But how much the rhetoric of politics will cool off and how much he's going to be able to actually achieve is not clear."
A son of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who became a fixture in Washington, Biden believed the Democratic Party had erred in conceding working-class white voters to Republicans. He ignored a steady drumbeat of critics who worried he was too moderate, too old, too cautious, focusing instead in his primary and then in the general election on winning over voters he could count on to show up: seniors, African Americans, women, and Rust Belt whites who defected to Trump in 2016.
Biden's reward is an office he has sought since the 1980s. But the job now comes with harrowing responsibility.
There is no historical analogue for a president assuming power at the height of a pandemic, facing both persistent widespread unemployment and the threat that hundreds of thousands of his citizens may yet perish. Biden has also promised to restore "the soul of the nation" amid political and racial strife that only deepened during Trump's term in office.
He will be 78 when inaugurated in January and Biden is sure to face regular questions about his stamina and capacity to govern the world's largest economy.
The president-elect has promised to make the pandemic his top priority, with a vast expansion of surveillance testing for the virus so that schools and workplaces can safely reopen. Efforts to negotiate a new stimulus package will likely consume the president-elect's immediate attention, even before his inauguration, with Democrats arguing that his election is an affirmation of their call for trillions in new federal spending, including putting money in the pockets of displaced workers.