The 2020 United States Presidential Election is the 59th quadrennial presidential election in the United States and took place on November 3rd, 2020. The two party nominees were Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Candidates needed 270 Electoral College votes to win the Presidency.
Election Night ended with no clear victor, as the outcome of the election hinged on several states that were too close to call by the following day. States including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina became the top battlegrounds of the night, as the votes cast on Election Day in these states tended to go towards Donald Trump and were counted first, while mail-in ballots and early in-person ballots, made more widely available due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were counted later and were likely to lean Democratic. This led to the night ending with Trump ahead in several key states while early and mail-in votes awaited processing, potentially handing some or all of the states to Joe Biden.
On November 7th, Joe Biden was declared the projected winner by all major news networks. The election eventually ended with Biden getting 306 electoral votes.
After a hotly-contest Democratic Primary that featured two dozen candidates, Joe Biden won the Democratic nomination, edging out Bernie Sanders and the rest of the field. He selected Kamala Harris to be his running mate.
Biden was largely favored to win heading into election night, with high turnout expected, and some states that tended to vote Republican in recent years, such as Arizona, Texas, and Georgia, seeming to be in reach for Biden according to polling. Biden also was polling strongly ahead in Upper Midwestern states Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which Hillary Clinton surprisingly lost in the 2016 Election. This led some Democrats to feel particularly bullish about their chances, with some predicting a Biden landslide.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states allowed for early in-person and mail-in voting. This led to predictions that, unlike most presidential elections, the results may not be immediately known as states employed different methods of counting Election Day votes and early/mail-in votes. Due to this, experts anticipated party "mirages," where one candidate could appear unexpectedly ahead in a state early on only to dramatically lose ground later in the evening, and perhaps, in the days following the election.
On Election Night, the landslide victory for Biden some Democrats had hoped for never materialized, as Biden lost hotly-contested Florida relatively early on in the evening, and Ohio, Iowa and Texas, typically red states that may have been reachable for Democrats, went Trump. However, by night's end, Biden won nearly every state Hillary Clinton did in 2016 and AP News and Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden, while other organizations held back on calling the state, giving him 227-238 electoral votes. As of 8:45 A.M. November 4th, 2020, the states yet to declare a victor were Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska. Trump held a lead in some of these states, but the remaining votes to be counted in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia were primarily early votes, mail-in votes, and in counties that hold major cities, which leaned towards Biden. Biden ended up winning all four of those states and Arizona to seal 306 electoral votes, and the victory.
During Election Night, Biden addressed his supporters, saying he felt confident about his chances in the Upper Midwest and in Georgia and told them to be patient as votes were tallied. Shortly after, Donald Trump tweeted, "We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!" Twitter added a warning label to the tweet saying, "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process." He posted a similar message on Facebook, who also added a warning label to his post.
Trump later gave a speech in which he prematurely declared victory despite not having won 270 Electoral Votes, with many key states still to be called. He threatened to go to the Supreme Court in his speech, though it is unclear what he could do. He also advocated for continued vote count in Arizona, where he was behind at the time of speaking, and stopping vote counts in the Upper Midwest, where he was ahead.
His remarks were condemned by politicians and commenters on both sides of the aisle. Chris Christie, a former official in the Trump administration, said they were a "bad strategic decision" and a "bad political decision." Ben Shapiro tweeted, "No, Trump has not already won the election, and it is deeply irresponsible for him to say he has" (shown below, left). Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "Donald Trump’s premature claims of victory are illegitimate, dangerous, and authoritarian. Count the votes. Respect the results."
Biden Victory Projections
In the days following Election Day, Michigan and Wisconsin were both called for Joe Biden, putting him at 253 electoral votes to Trump's 213 (with AP and Fox News putting his total at 264, having called Arizona for Biden). At 8:50 A.M. on November 6th, 2020, Decision Desk HQ called the election for Joe Biden. They projected that Biden would win Pennsylvania, putting him over the threshold for 270 electoral votes. Networks and AP were slower in calling the race. Georgia, Nevada, Alaska, North Carolina, and a Maine congressional district had yet to be called. However, even with some organizations calling Arizona for Biden and some holding back, Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes put him over the 270 vote threshold in both models.
On November 7th, 2020, CNN officially projected that Joe Biden had been elected the 46th president of the United States. The call was made after the news outlet projected that Biden would win the state of Pennsylvania, securing more than 270 electoral votes required to win the election.
Following the announcement, several other outlets called the race for Biden as well, including Fox News, The New York Times and ABC News.
 New York Times – A Biden Landslide? Some Democrats Can’t Help Whispering
 The Guardian – Donald Trump takes on Joe Biden in tight presidential race