As of Thursday morning, Bloomberg, the Associated Press and others have Joe Biden standing on the brink of the 270 electoral votes he needs to clinch the presidency, although Donald Trump is not far behind – and could very well turn it around. Meanwhile, Republican lawyers have opened up legal fights to stop counting in at least two states.
As of Thursday morning, the former VP held 253 votes, while President Trump was stuck at 214. The oustanding states can be seen in the map below:
Speaking on CNBC Thursday morning, pollster Frank Luntz said he believes the election could be called by noon on Thursday, but he said credibility is already starting to concern him, as Republicans worry about voter fraud, and Dems accuse the GOP of voter suppression. According to Luntz, winning PA won’t be enough for Trump. He needs to take Nevada. “That’s where the battle will be seen, in Nevada,” Luntz said. Arizona, which is back in play, is reportedly leaning toward Biden. But while th MSM continues to report Biden has a slight edge, his lead in the EC isn’t large enough to say that with confidence: The vote is a nailbiter – there’s no other way to characterize it.
In total, five states have yet to be called by the Associated Press: Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
Yesterday, Biden said that while he wasn’t declaring victory, he does believe he won the election, and would be moving ahead with forming his transition team.
But as both Luntz and Bloomberg pointed out, even if Biden wins, gridlock will remain the order of the day. And the prospects for a stimulus deal, something that Wall Street had seemingly pinned its hopes on after Bill Dudley essentially urged the Fed to crash the market as a cudgel to force Congress to take action.
As the Trump Campaign, the PA GOP and others file their emergency illegal challenges, pundits, including Luntz, dismissed the lawsuits, arguing that there’s little that can be done once votes have been cast, though he noted that “Philadelphia doesn’t have a good track record” when it comes to elections, echoing concerns expressed by the Trump Campaign in the days before the election.
Vote-counting in Nevada has been paused until Thursday, and Biden at last look was up by 8k. Biden also leads by roughly 3 million in the national popular vote.
In Georgia, Luntz warned that at least one of the Senatorial races in Georgia will likely go to a runoff, though it’s also possible that both races could head for a runoff if David Perdue doesn’t clinch at least 50% of the vote. Kelly Loeffler, who was caught up in an insider trading scandal just months after being sworn in earlier this year, will face off against her Democratic challenger in a runoff early next year that could draw millions in out-of-state money, depending on the final composition of the Senate.
Having failed to unseat Susan Collins, Steve Daines and Joni Ernst, the GOP is set to hold on to its majority in the Senate. It’s also on track to narrow the Democrats’ lead in the House.
Mark Kelly (D): 52.6%
Martha McSally (R): 47.4%
Gary Peters (D): 49.2%
John James (R): 48.9%
Thom Tillis (R): 48.7%
Cal Cunningham (D): 46.9%
David Perdue (R): 50.5%
Jon Ossoff (D): 47.2%
Susan Collins (R): 50.3%
Sara Gideon (D): 43%
Dan Sullivan (R): 62.9%
Al Gross (D): 31.8%
Circling back to the presidential race, here’s a quick rundown of who won what:
Trump still holds small leads in North Carolina and Georgia, though there are votes outstanding in each. Trump won both states in 2016. But his lead in Georgia was narrowing Wednesday evening.
Biden won Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska’s Second Congressional District, Minnesota, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New York, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Delaware, District of Columbia and New Hampshire, according to the AP.
Trump won Nebraska’s other four Electoral College votes, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Missouri.
Nebraska is one of only two states, with Maine, that award an Electoral College vote to the winner of each congressional district. Trump won two districts and Biden won one. Trump won the state overall, giving him Nebraska’s two remaining Electoral College votes.
Trump won Maine’s Second Congressional District and Biden won the first, plus the state’s two at-large electoral votes.
Looking at the exit polls, it appears that Biden eroded some of Trump’s lead among white voters compared with the 2016 race: Trump had a 12-point lead among White voters in Tuesday’s election, vs. a 20-point advantage among those voters 4 years ago. Biden led among Latino voters 30 points, Black voters by 82 points, and women by 12 points.
But even if Biden prevails, a newly empowered Mitch McConnell is expected to rediscover Republicans’ preference for cost-control and belt-tightening, according to Bloomberg. Also, liberals aims on health-care and court packing will be virtually off the table.
Liberals’ most ambitious aspirations — from expanding the Supreme Court to granting statehood to Washington, D.C. — stand even less of a chance. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who could face a leadership challenge and is certain to sustain losses to her majority — may be unable to provide Biden with crucial leverage in negotiations over the federal budget.
Republicans have already telegraphed that they’re likely to rediscover religion when it comes to deficit spending, after adding nearly $4 trillion in debt during Trump’s first term.
Biden held himself out as the one Democrat who could deal with Republicans in Washington, dating back to his time in the Senate with McConnell. McConnell and Biden cut a deal in the lame-duck session after Obama’s re-election making President George W. Bush’s tax cuts permanent for most Americans, a compromise later criticized by Democrats.
But Biden may find McConnell isn’t the deal-maker he once knew. The majority leader recently had to disappoint even Trump when he couldn’t muster the votes for a large coronavirus stimulus package, a sign that restive Republicans may be in even less of a mood to cut a deal with a new Democratic president.
Presumably, McConnell will revert to the staunch opposition he utilized during the Obama years, as the GOP moves to preserve as much of Trump’s policy legacy – including the tax cuts – as possible.