Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a fixture in Washington political circles for nearly a half century, has been projected the winner of the U.S. presidency and stands to be inaugurated January 20, becoming the country’s oldest leader ever.
Biden, a Democrat who served 36 years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as second in command to former President Barack Obama, was projected by news organizations to have defeated incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in a bitter campaign and after days of post-election ballot counting. The results are still to be officially certified and are subject to court challenges, but they are expected to stand.
Reacting to the projection, Biden announced on Twitter that he is honored “that you have chosen me to lead our great country.”
Biden won the presidency by capturing at least 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes.
Biden’s win makes Trump the third U.S. chief executive in the last four decades to lose re-election after a single four-year tenure as the American leader.
Biden’s victory came days after the official Election Day on Tuesday as election officials in a half dozen states completed tabulating millions of votes on mail-in ballots sent in by voters who wanted to stay away from polling stations out of fear of contracting the coronavirus.
Biden, who will be 78 by Inauguration Day, won the presidency on his third try after failing to win the Democratic Party nomination in both 1988 and 2008, when he garnered little support either year.
Now he will take over the U.S. government accompanied by his vice-presidential running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, the first woman in the country’s 244-year history ever elected as either president or vice president. She is the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother and was the first woman of color on a U.S. national political ticket.
Biden, after Trump’s “America First” credo in which he withdrew the U.S. from several international treaties, has promised the U.S. will re-engage across the world, rejoining the Paris climate change accord and the pact to restrain Iran from nuclear weapons development.
The U.S. employs an indirect form of democracy, not a national popular vote, to pick its leaders. The outcome is effectively decided in state-by-state elections throughout the 50-state country and the national capital, Washington, D.C. The winner needs 270 or more electoral votes in the 538-member Electoral College.