Joseph R. Biden Jr. started election night with many paths to 270 electoral votes, but by Wednesday morning President Trump had won Florida, Ohio and Texas and was on hand to win North Carolina .
But as the number of winning scenarios for Mr. Biden fell on Tuesday, it was the former vice president, not the president, who was offended early Wednesday in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, says the “Wall blue ”once reliable, thanks to its great pre-election effort to encourage postal voting and early voting.
At around 9:10 a.m. EST Wednesday, Mr. Biden was leading in Wisconsin and Michigan and had the edge in enough states that, if he won them, would give him 270 electoral votes.
Mr. Biden was lagging behind in the three “Blue Wall” states – Pennsylvania with about 700,000 votes – by the time many Americans went to bed on election night. But many ballots remained to be counted, and absentee voting in particular should favor Mr Biden as many Democratic voters used postal voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although victory was far from certain on Wednesday morning, these states began to come to life for him, one by one, like lights coming back on under the power of a back-up generator.
Overnight, Mr Biden took a narrow lead in Wisconsin after the mail-in vote count in the cities of Milwaukee and Green Bay. By morning he had wiped out Mr. Trump’s Michigan lead, with many more votes to be counted in the heavily Democratic Wayne County, which includes Detroit. And officials in Pennsylvania predicted a similar scenario in their state.
Here are the main scenarios remaining for Mr. Biden, as well as Mr. Trump, to win the 2020 election. Biden’s scenarios assume he wins Nevada, a blue state where he is narrowly ahead.
According to Sun Belt, Mr. Biden wins both Arizona and Georgia, where he appears competitive with tens of thousands of votes to count.
Mr. Biden has the advantage in Arizona, and a victory there would allow him to fully trust the Blue Wall states. He can afford to lose Pennsylvania if he wins Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.
If Mr. Biden wins in Georgia and Arizona, he can reach 270 electoral votes while losing either Pennsylvania and Michigan or Wisconsin.
Or he could become president simply by reclaiming Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
In Georgia, where Mr. Trump holds a narrow lead with around 92% of the vote counted, a leak at a treatment center in the central part of the state has delayed the compilation of some ballots for Atlanta and its suburban counties. , which are considered democratic strongholds.
About 20% of the votes were withheld at 6 a.m. on Wednesday in DeKalb County, a heavily Democratic suburb of Atlanta.
“Joe Biden’s path is largely unchanged since he entered this race,” Guy Cecil, president of Priorities USA, one of the main Democratic super PACs, said Wednesday morning. “There are still at least five competitive states that give it multiple paths to 270. It may take a few days to count the votes, and we may have to fight the Trump campaign in court, but Joe Biden remains the frontrunner.
Mr Biden, appearing briefly in front of his supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, early Wednesday, said he “felt really good in Wisconsin and Michigan” and predicted a victory in Pennsylvania, a known central battleground for his slow counting of ballots.
“We think we are on the right track to win this election,” he said.
Mr Trump’s victories in Florida, Ohio and Texas did not open a new path for him, but closed new shortcuts by which Mr Biden could have achieved victory on election day. In remarks made Wednesday morning from the White House, the president insisted he would keep Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – all states with significant percentages of ballots from.
“We don’t need all of them” to win, he said.
His last chance for a flip is Nevada, another close race, but one in which most of the votes not counted should generally favor Mr. Biden.
Otherwise, Mr. Trump’s path to winning a second term depends on keeping the Great Lakes states he won in 2016 on the battlefield and keeping Georgia.
“Trump’s path is exactly the same as in 2016,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who is a campaign veteran of Senator Marco Rubio. “It needs to outperform in some traditionally blue states. Trump wins when voters Democrats take for granted no longer reliably vote Democrats.
In Wisconsin, Mr. Biden was well ahead of Hillary Clinton’s margins in 2016 in Waukesha County, a suburb of Milwaukee, and Dane County, home to the liberal city of Madison. Turnout in Milwaukee appeared to be lower than in 2016, a troubling possibility for Mr Biden given the city’s strongly democratic lean.
Still, Democrats were convinced the final vote tally would favor Mr. Biden.
“I think if you look at what’s counted and what’s not, Biden is almost certainly going to win Wisconsin,” said Sachin Chheda, Democratic strategist in Milwaukee.
And then there’s Nebraska, one of two states, along with Maine, which divided their electoral votes by congressional district. Mr. Biden won the state’s second congressional district, which includes Omaha. Nebraska Democratic Party President Jane Kleeb declared her victory Wednesday morning.
“Omaha is now Joe-maha,” she said.
Because Mr. Biden won that only Nebraska electoral vote, he could secure the presidency by winning Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin – regardless of the outcome in Pennsylvania.