As Biden takes Michigan, Trump's path to 270 narrows

Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden has won Michigan, which President Donald Trump had won in 2016, narrowing Mr. Trump's possible path to reelection.

David Goldman/AP
A Republican election challenger (right) watches over election inspectors as votes are counted into the early morning in Detroit, Nov. 4, 2020. Democrat nominee Joe Biden's win in Michigan adds 16 Electoral College votes to his count.

Democrat Joe Biden has carried Michigan and its 16 electoral votes, further dismantling President Donald Trump’s Rust Belt wall of support that helped deliver him the presidency four years ago.

The flip from red back to blue was a huge blow to Mr. Trump, whose victories in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania in 2016 sent him to the White House. Mr. Biden also carried Wisconsin. Only a handful of battleground states remain uncalled, including Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Both Michigan and Wisconsin represent parts of the “blue wall” that slipped away from Democrats four years ago. Mr. Biden’s campaign had counted on winning back at least some of them.

A full day after Election Day, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Mr. Biden’s victory in Michigan pushes him to 264 Electoral College votes, six short of the 270 needed to win the White House. Mr. Trump is at 214 electoral votes. Nevada, which has six electoral votes, is among the states Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that hasn’t yet been called.

Mr. Biden’s campaign had particularly focused on turning out Black voters in Detroit, who failed to show up for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the numbers that Barack Obama received during his two presidential bids.

Despite needing to win Michigan, Mr. Trump took frequent swipes at the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot that was foiled by federal law enforcement. Chants of “Lock her up!” toward Gov. Whitmer echoed at Mr. Trump’s recent rally in the state, and he railed against the governor on Twitter for her cautious approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at an afternoon news conference, Mr. Biden, joined by his running mate Kamala Harris, said he now expected to win the presidency, though he stopped short of outright declaring victory.

“I will govern as an American president,” Mr. Biden said. ”There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.”

It was a stark contrast to Mr. Trump, who early Wednesday morning falsely proclaimed that he had won the election, even though millions of votes remained uncounted and the race was far from over.

In other closely watched races, Mr. Trump picked up Florida, the largest of the swing states, while Mr. Biden flipped Arizona, a state that had reliably voted Republican in recent elections.

The Trump campaign questioned the results in Arizona, with aides having come to the conclusion that, without Wisconsin, their best, if still unlikely, path to victory was winning that state and Pennsylvania. A legal challenge in Arizona was possible.

The unsettled nature of the presidential race was reflective of a somewhat disappointing night for Democrats, who had hoped to deliver a thorough repudiation of Mr. Trump’s four years in office while also reclaiming the Senate to have a firm grasp on all of Washington. But the GOP held on to several Senate seats that had been considered vulnerable, including in Iowa, Texas, Maine, and Kansas. Democrats lost House seats but were expected to retain control there.

The high-stakes election was held against the backdrop of a historic pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 Americans and wiped away millions of jobs. The candidates spent months pressing dramatically different visions for the nation’s future, including on racial justice, and voters responded in huge numbers, with more than 100 million people casting votes ahead of Election Day.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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