President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling it out for the White House, with polls gradually closing across the United States and a long night of waiting for results ahead.
The first results are trickling in, with US media projecting wins for the Republican incumbent so far in Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia — all states he won in 2016. Biden has captured Vermont and Virginia.
So far, that gives Trump 24 electoral votes to 16 for Biden. The magic number is 270. Observers expect the hotly contested race for the White House to come down to a handful of key battleground states.
The following is a list of the states won by each candidate and the corresponding number of electoral votes, based on the networks’ projections.
Twitter said Friday it will take down calls for violence starting after polls close on US election day and slap warnings on premature victory claims to fight efforts to undermine the election.
When it comes to a winner in any race, Twitter will require an announcement by an election official or a public projection from at least two authoritative, national news outlets making independent election calls.
The California tech giant will also invite people to add their thoughts to retweets instead of just mindlessly sharing, according to legal lead Vijaya Gadde and product lead Kayvon Beykpour.
The platform, a favorite method of communicating for President Donald Trump, will also broaden its application of warning labels for misleading tweets by candidates leading up to election day on November 3.
“Twitter plays a critical role around the globe by empowering democratic conversation, driving civic participation, facilitating meaningful political debate, and enabling people to hold those in power accountable,” Gadde and Beykpour said in a blog post.
“But we know that this cannot be achieved unless the integrity of this critical dialogue on Twitter is protected from attempts — both foreign and domestic — to undermine it.”
Social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter have been in the spotlight since massive disinformation campaigns directed by Russian intelligence and other malign actors overshadowed the 2016 election.
Applying existing protocol, Twitter will label tweets that falsely claim a win and will remove “tweets that encourage violence or call for people to interfere with election results or the smooth operation of polling places.”
Twitter forbids posts that manipulate or interfere with elections, and the platform already adds labels to tweets that violate rules against doctored media or misleading information concerning voting or Covid-19.
Beginning next week, people who try to retweet posts deserving warning labels because of misleading information will be shown a prompt directing them to credible facts about the topic first, according to the blog post.
“These new prompts will give individuals more context on labeled tweets so they can make more informed decisions on whether or not they want to amplify them to their followers,” Gadde and Beykpour said.
Twitter will also start adding warnings and restrictions on tweets labeled as containing misleading information when they are from US political figures including candidates and campaign accounts.
The same will be done with misleading tweets from US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers, or that spark significant engagement.
“We have already increased the size and capacity of our teams focused on the US election and will have the necessary staffing to respond rapidly to issues that may arise on Twitter on Election night and in the days that follow,” Gadde and Beykpour said.
Democrat Joe Biden’s cautious US presidential campaign faces its most unpredictable challenge yet in Tuesday’s debate against Donald Trump — a setting with potential for explosive exchanges and one the ex-vice president has struggled with before.
Biden, who leads in polling barely five weeks before the November 3 election, is expected to aim for calm confidence while presenting himself as an empathetic unifier to a polarized nation.
But he also signalled his fists will be up, telling MSNBC Friday that “The people know the president’s a liar.”
“I’m prepared to go out and make my case as to why I think he’s failed and why I think the answers I have… will help the American people,” Biden added.
He may need to steel himself against a barrage by a provocative president who has repeatedly accused Democrats, without evidence, of “rigging” the election and stated he may not abide by its results.
While Trump races from one rally to another slamming Biden’s “radical socialism,” Biden is a diminished presence on the campaign trail.
Mindful of coronavirus restrictions and dangers, the veteran Democrat’s handlers have insulated him from crowds of voters, guiding him towards delivering speeches to reporters or occasionally visiting battleground states for small-scale events.
Biden has offered tough criticism of Trump’s pandemic response and assailed the president’s repeated falsehoods about mail-in ballot fraud.
But suddenly the challenger and White House defender will be on stage together in Cleveland, with fireworks the likely result.
“It’ll be like watching a pay-per-view boxing match,” University of Akron political science professor David Cohen said.
Biden, 77, no longer cuts the same figure he did as Barack Obama’s deputy. Though the megawatt smile remains, his gait is more delicate and his fine white hair thinned.
Trump, 74, regularly calls Biden “Sleepy Joe” and accuses him of diminished mental acuity, but the strategy could backfire if Biden performs well.
The former vice president’s record in debates has been shaky.
In early primary clashes he was often shouted down and crowded out by younger, more boisterous rivals, but as the field shrank, Biden fared better and his empathy came through convincingly.
– Reassurance vs bombast – Scarred by tragedy and in the twilight of a long career, Biden is betting he can win over Americans tired of his polar opposite Trump.
The brash realtor Trump brought bombast to the White House, but Biden offers reassurance, a self-proclaimed unifier with blue-collar roots and a personal rapport with voters.
He is riding into the debates pledging action on climate change, jobs, racial injustice, student debt relief and expanded help for families suffering from the coronavirus pandemic’s effects.
Elected one of the youngest US senators ever, Biden served for over three decades in the upper chamber and launched two failed White House bids before his eight years as deputy to America’s first black president.
Biden’s message is built largely on his association with the still-popular Obama and his moderate politics in a divisive time.
But where he stands out is in showing a very human side, contrasting with Trump’s all-conquering, never-doubting style.
Biden’s first wife, Neilia Hunter, and one-year-old daughter, Naomi, died in a car crash in 1972 while Christmas shopping, just weeks after Biden won election to the Senate.
The accident left his sons Beau, 4, and Hunter, 2, badly injured, and the 30-year-old Biden was sworn in beside their hospital beds.
Biden met his second wife, teacher Jill Jacobs, in 1975 and they married two years later. They have a daughter, Ashley.
Both boys recovered from their injuries and Beau followed his father into politics, becoming attorney general of Delaware, but the Democratic rising star died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46.
– The other son – Biden relays the heart-wrenching details of his family stories so often that, despite his obvious grief, they have become part of a political brand.
His younger son Hunter is another matter.
Lawyer and lobbyist Hunter Biden got a lucrative salary serving on the board of a Ukrainian gas company accused of corruption while Biden was vice president.
Trump’s pushing of Ukraine to investigate Hunter’s past led to the president’s impeachment, although he survived the scandal.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr was born November 20, 1942 and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in an Irish-Catholic family. His father was a car salesman.
Biden touts his working-class roots and recalls being hampered as a child by a stutter so bad he was cruelly nicknamed “Dash”, but he overcame the condition.
As “Uncle Joe,” he is known for his folksy manner, but he also has a propensity for gaffes, and Biden’s decades-long political career could make it easy for Trump to highlight missteps.
President Donald Trump demanded Sunday that his Democratic rival Joe Biden take a drug test for their first debate, which will bring them face to face for the first time in the volatile US presidential campaign.
Tuesday’s clash, coming as Biden leads the charge against Trump’s bid to install conservative Amy Coney Barrett in the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lifetime seat on the Supreme Coart, will thrust the nail-biting contest into a fierce new stage.
For the first time, millions of Americans will watch as the two antagonists — who depict each other as existential threats to the country — step into the ring live on television, after months of shadow-boxing.
Trump, lagging in the polls, taunted Biden Sunday with the fresh salvo on his mental acuity.
“I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night,” he tweeted, saying he would take one also. “His Debate performances have been record-setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???”
The president offered no evidence to support his insinuation, and recently-completed negotiations between the Biden and Trump camps over debate conditions reportedly made no mention of any drug test.
When asked by reporters about the demand Sunday, Biden laughed before declining to comment.
Both septuagenarians are prone to blunders and gaffes when speaking — but the 74-year-old Trump has repeatedly depicted the 77-year-old Biden as mentally unfit.
Biden has shrugged off such accusations. On Saturday he said he expects “personal attacks and lies” from the president, likening Trump to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
The former vice president has until recently stayed close to his Delaware home due to the challenges of campaigning in person safely during a pandemic.
Trump, meanwhile, has been flouting his own government’s social distancing guidelines to criss-cross battleground states, speaking frequently at mass rallies where participants are often tightly packed with few masks in sight.
– High stakes – Trump sees his nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court — potentially tilting the court to the right for years — as a fundamental boost to his troubled campaign.
He told Fox & Friends Sunday the Senate will “easily” confirm Barrett before the election, despite furious Democratic opposition.
But Biden hit back, accusing Trump of rushing Barrett’s nomination in order to launch a new assault on health care.
The president and the Republican-held Senate “see an opportunity to overturn the Affordable Care Act on their way out the door,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.
He again urged the Senate to delay the confirmation until after the election, noting that early voting had already begun.
“Never before in our nation’s history has a Supreme Court justice been nominated and installed while a presidential election is already underway,” he said.
Barring a huge surprise, Republican senators, who have 53 out of 100 votes in the upper house of Congress, are expected to confirm Barrett.
– Confronting Trump – The TV debate will be a wild card.
Trump needs to break through the 200,000 coronavirus deaths, the long-lasting economic fallout, and the widespread fatigue at the constant upheaval roiling his administration.
He sees himself as a tough guy and has huge confidence in his prowess on stage.
Yet unlike the fawning treatment he enjoys during his weekly call-ins to Fox News or the adoring atmosphere at rallies, he’ll find himself facing a determined rival painting him as “toxic” in front of the entire country.
“When Joe Biden walks onto the debate stage, it will be the first moment in four years where an American has the opportunity to confront Donald Trump for what he’s done,” Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist turned outspoken Trump opponent, said on MSNBC.
Frontrunner Biden mainly needs just to keep steady against a man many call a master provocateur.
“There is virtually no doubt that Trump will try to bait him,” David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, said.
– Who’s more ready? –
Biden, though, survived the Democratic primary debates earlier this year and has made a string of generally well-received speeches on the campaign trail.
And while Trump often takes questions from groups of journalists, it’s rare that he’ll do the more risky one-on-one televised session with a tough interviewer. Neither has he had to debate an opponent face-to-face since Clinton in 2016.
“Normally, that first debate is the toughest for the incumbent,” said Aaron Kall, director of debate at the University of Michigan.
The debate moderator, Fox News host Chris Wallace, has set topics ranging across the Supreme Court, the pandemic and economic disasters, racism and the integrity of the election.
But whether Wallace can keep the two men on topic remains to be seen.
US President Donald Trump demanded Sunday that his Democratic rival Joe Biden take a drug test either before or after the pair’s first debate on Tuesday, in his latest salvo against his opponent’s mental acuity.
“I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night,” Trump tweeted.
“Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record-setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???” he continued, without offering any evidence for the claim.
Senate will ‘easily’ confirm Barrett
Meanwhile, the US President said Sunday the Senate will “easily” confirm his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the election, despite furious Democratic opposition to his bid to steer the court rightward for years to come.
Trump has nominated Barrett, a darling of conservatives for her religious views, to replace the late liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a lifetime seat on the top court, potentially impacting some of the most partisan issues in America, from abortion to gun rights to health care.
His decision to push her nomination through just weeks before the tense and potentially disputed November 3 election, in which polls show he is the underdog, has galvanized Democrats, who are calling for the decision to be made by the winner of the vote.
His election rival, Democrat Joe Biden, has led the charge.
“The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress,” Biden said Saturday, just moments after Trump announced Barrett’s nomination.
But Trump expressed confidence Sunday in an interview with “Fox & Friends.”
“I think we’re going to have it done easily before the election,” he said.
“I think it would be nice to do. Get it out of the way,” he continued, adding: “We have plenty of time.”
Barring a huge surprise, Republican senators, who have 53 out of 100 votes in the upper house of Congress, are expected to confirm Barrett.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has already announced that a vote will be held “this year.”
US President Donald Trump on Monday again hinted a coronavirus vaccine will be available before November’s election, as he accused his Democratic rivals for the White House of undermining public confidence in the immunization.
His comments came days after vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris said she would not take Trump’s word on the safety and efficacy of an anti-virus vaccine if one were ready before the US presidential vote.
Trump faces intense pressure to curb the contagion that has clouded his re-election prospects, sparking worries his administration could rush vaccine research to fit a political timetable.
Biden also weighed in on Monday, saying he wanted transparency and scientific facts on any future vaccine.
“I’m worried if we do have a really good vaccine, people are going to be reluctant to take it. So he’s (Trump) undermining public confidence,” Biden added.
Trump, who is behind in national polls, fired back saying his rivals in the November 3 vote had both delivered “reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric.”
“It’s so dangerous for our country what they say,” Trump told a press conference. “The vaccine will be very safe and very effective.”
A shot to protect against the virus that has killed more than 189,000 in the US and hobbled the world’s largest economy has become another flashpoint ahead of polling day.
News broke last week that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked states to sweep away red tape that could prevent a network of vaccine distribution centers being “fully operational by Nov 1, 2020.”
The president, after telling journalists to take off their anti-virus facemasks, also suggested again that a vaccine could be available before voters head to the polls.
“We’re going to have a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special date,” Trump said.
Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden on Monday called for an end to “lawlessness” and violence in protest-hit US cities while blaming Donald Trump’s “toxic” presidency for fueling unrest that has left several people dead.
“Looting is not protesting, setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple, and those who do it should be prosecuted,” Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh — at which he also charged that Trump was “part of the problem.”
“Our current president wants you to live in fear,” charged the 77-year-old Democrat. “He advertises himself as a figure of order. He isn’t. And he’s not been part of the solution thus far. He’s part of the problem.”
“Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” he added.
“The incumbent president is incapable of telling us the truth, incapable of facing the facts and incapable of healing,” Biden offered in a stinging rebuke.
But Biden’s remarks were also the strongest condemnation yet of the deadly violence that has gripped two US cities in particular — Kenosha, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon — where protests against racial injustice have raged and three people have been killed in the past week of unrest.
Violence “makes things worse across the board, not better… and it must end,” he said, invoking the names of two American civil rights icons and champions of peaceful resistance: Martin Luther King Jr and the late congressman John Lewis.
With Trump trailing in election polling, he and his campaign have sought to paint Democrats as incapable or unwilling to crack down on the unrest, and the president warned voters that they “won’t be safe” if Biden wins.
Biden, who served for eight years as Barack Obama’s president, pushed back hard against Trump’s claims as a “law and order” leader, saying that violent crime fell by 15 per cent during the Obama-Biden administration while the murder rate has jumped by 26 per cent since 2017.
“Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?” Biden countered.
“Mr Trump, you want to talk about fear? Do you know what people are afraid of in America?” Biden, staring into the camera in a hall left mostly empty due to coronavirus concerns, bluntly asked his rival.
“Afraid they’re going to get COVID, afraid they’re going to get sick and die. And that is in no small part because of you.”
President Donald Trump tore into his election challenger Joe Biden as a threat to the “American Dream” in a bruising speech Thursday accepting the Republican nomination for a second term against a backdrop of racial tensions and the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The former celebrity real estate developer spoke at a grandiose event staged at the White House — the first time a president has ever held a party convention at the executive mansion — and followed up with a vast fireworks display on the National Mall.
In his 70-minute address, Trump went after Biden as hard as he could, attacking him by name dozens of times in an attempt to define the veteran centrist former vice president, who leads in polls ahead of the November 3 election, as a radical leftist.
“No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” he said.
“This election will decide whether we save the American Dream,” Trump said, rejecting Biden’s main campaign slogan about saving America’s soul.
“He’s the destroyer of America’s jobs and given the chance, he’ll be the destroyer of American greatness.”
The relentless verbal assault contrasted with Biden’s own acceptance speech at the Democratic nomination last week, which lasted only 25 minutes and, while delivering caustic critiques of the Trump presidency, avoided mentioning his name.
Despite Trump’s warnings of chaos, his bid for reelection is already taking place amid levels of turmoil the country hasn’t seen for decades.
Covid-19 has killed more than 180,000 Americans so far, while the nation’s painful reckoning over racial justice was playing out outside the White House where a Black Lives Matter protest, complete with shouting and vuvuzela trumpets, was audible inside the fences.
– Trampling over etiquette –
Trump spoke from the White House’s South Lawn, which he had transformed into a flashy event centre for the final night of the Republican convention.
Trampling over long-running presidential custom to separate the so-called “people’s house” from political campaigning, Trump had some 1,500 white chairs laid out in front of the stage bedecked with rows of US flags and two giant video screens.
The immense fireworks displayed featured Trump’s name written in fiery letters in the sky.
Before Trump appeared from the White House in a made-for-Hollywood moment alongside his wife Melania, warm-up speakers including his powerful daughter Ivanka prepped the message of Democratic mayhem.
And when Trump finally came to deliver the main speech, he did not hold back.
“If the left gains power, they will demolish the suburbs, confiscate your guns,” he said, branding Biden as a man with a history of “betrayals” and “blunders.”
Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak said the party had hit the right buttons at its four-day convention. “Trump significantly broadened his coalition this week. He will get a considerable polling bump,” he tweeted.
But Biden mocked Trump’s apocalyptic warnings.
“When Donald Trump says tonight you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America, look around and ask yourself: How safe do you feel in Donald Trump’s America?” Biden tweeted.
– Law and order? –
The hardline message comes as the country reels in shock at the videotaped shooting by a police officer of an African American man during an attempted arrest in front of his children — and at the sometimes violent protests erupting afterwards.
Days of demonstrations and rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, have transformed the small town into a national arena for America’s tensions over racial justice, police violence, and gun rights. When a teenaged vigilante — reportedly a Trump fan — allegedly killed two people and seriously wounded a third at a protest Tuesday night, the perfect storm was complete.
Struggling in opinion polls after what almost two-thirds of Americans say is his unsatisfactory handling of the Covid-19 crisis, Trump is latching on to what he calls the “law and order” strategy.
Democrats assert that police forces across the country are plagued by institutional racism. Trump is leading Republican pushback, banking on the idea that Americans will be angrier at scenes of rioting than at police abuses.
“If Biden is elected, along with the Democrats who are unwilling to speak out against this anarchy, then the crime wave will intensify and spread from cities and towns to suburbs and beyond,” Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and current personal lawyer to Trump, said in his warm-up speech.
“When President Trump is re-elected the damage will stop,” he said.
– Milking the violence? –
In addition to soaring racial tensions, the United States is still struggling to master the coronavirus outbreak or get schools and businesses back fully open.
But Trump emphasized what he said had been his administration’s constant success, predicting a vaccine would be available “this year.”
“Together we will crush the virus,” he said.
At the Republicans’ South Lawn party, there was no effort to enforce social distancing and many people did not wear masks.
Biden’s team accuses Trump of being derelict on the coronavirus. On the race front, Biden goes further.
“He views this as a political benefit to him,” Biden told MSNBC on Thursday. “He is rooting for more violence, not less. He is pouring gasoline on the fire.”
President Donald Trump told voters near his opponent Joe Biden’s Pennsylvania birthplace on Thursday that the Democrat has sold out American workers and would be a “nightmare” if he got into power.
Biden is “your worst nightmare,” Trump told the crowd in an extraordinarily dark speech in Old Forge, just down the road from Biden’s old hometown of Scranton, in the heart of the key election battleground state.
“He spent the last half-century in Washington selling out our country and ripping off our jobs and letting other countries steal our jobs,” Trump said hours before Biden was to address the nation and accept the Democratic nomination for the White House.
Trump used his speech to snatch the limelight on Biden’s big day, blasting the Democrat as someone who would raise taxes, open borders to “let in violent mobs” and abandon American workers.
Indicating the flavour of his reelection campaign in the next two and a half months, Trump claimed that recent crime spikes in big cities and sometimes violent protests against police abuses would engulf the country under Biden.
“If you want a vision of your life under a Biden presidency, think of the smouldering ruins in Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland, the blood-stained sidewalks of Chicago, and imagine the mayhem coming to your town,” he said.
Trump referenced everything from his walling off of part of the Mexican border to military funding and what he claimed was greater international respect for the United States.
Often, his speech veered into a less standard territory, describing the Democrats as something like out of a dystopian novel.
They “turn your family against you for speaking your mind while they indoctrinate your children with twisted, twisted world views,” he said at one point.
“They’re coming to get you,” he said.
“Me, we, we’re the wall between the American dream and total insanity and destruction of the greatest country in the history of the world.”