By Nikhila Natarajan
Don’t expect results anytime soon. About five hours into the US 2020 presidential election night, predictable splotches of red and blue are slowly lighting up the American electoral map, nudging anxious voters in the general direction that closely fought elections go: Nail biting fights in a handful of high stakes states but we wont know the results tonight.
President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden opened their tally with a predictable string of victories while key prizes including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania remain too early to call.
Pennsylvania still needs to count upwards of 80 per cent of the total vote. It’s going to be taking a while.
So far, pollsters’ forecasts of wide margins (corrected for 2016 flubs) are not showing up.
Instead, what we see is a colour coding that’s all too familiar.
The electoral vote count as of Tuesday night at 11.30 p.m. (10 a.m. IST Wednesday morning) placed Biden at 209 and Trump 118. The magic number is 270.
Deep red states have not budged. Trump has already picked up South Dakota, Utah, Missouri, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana.
The last time Utah went to a Democratic presidential candidate was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
And the last time a Democratic candidate won Alabama was Jimmy Carter, 1976.
The last time a Democratic candidate won Arkansas and was Bill Clinton in 1996.
Meanwhile, Biden has won Colorado, New Hampshire, District of Columbia, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and California.
Virginia, once a battleground and now a Democratic stronghold, has also been called for Biden.
New Hampshire, which went to former Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton by the slimmest of margins in 2016, Biden is expected to win by a comfortable margin.
Delaware, on the Biden column, has been the former Vice President’s hometown since he moved there as a young boy from Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Delaware went to Clinton in 2016. The state last voted for a Republican in 1988.
Biden’s victory in Vermont is on expected lines as Democrats have kept the state in their column since 1992. Clinton got a huge win here in 2016.
Wild swings were expected in the early hours because of the split between mail in voting and final day numbers.
Early votes are projected to generally favour Biden, final day numbers are likely to be strong for Republicans.
While Trump is tracking results from the White House, where a new fence has been erected to throw an extra ring of security, Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have chosen Delaware as their election night hub.
On Tuesday, Americans flocked to the polls in record numbers in the middle of the raging Covid-19 pandemic which has killed 232,529 people in the country and infected 9,376,293 others, as well as upended the lives and work for millions.
Even before Election Day, a record number of Americans had cast mail in votes, accounting for more than 70 per cent of the total vote in 2016.
Based on projections ahead of the counting, Trump came into election night with a narrow path to victory, Biden with several potential paths, hinging on wins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the so-called Blue Wall that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.
The Pennsylvania count is expected to drag on for days, while the Michigan count is expected in the early hours of Wednesday morning.