In the US, the election results have been determined: Joe Biden will move into the White House as the 46th President of the United States. Donald Trump lost the election. However, it may take some time before the official election results are available.

The 2020 US presidential election has been decided on the basis of the preliminary results of the count. Four days after election day, the US media announced the election winner based on projections: Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, won the election. Thanks to the successes in Pennsylvania and Nevada, he was able to book a clear, unassailable lead in the electoral votes for himself.

The challenger to incumbent Donald Trump has not yet been officially elected. In several states, the counting of ballots and postal votes is pending. But even in the event of any recounts, according to observers, Trump no longer has a chance to win the election. A good week and a half after election day on November 3, US media unanimously saw Biden in the lead in Arizona.

ntv.de shows the status of the count based on data from the US news broadcaster CNN. The race was therefore close in the first days after the election, especially in Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Individual US media outlets, including Trump’s Fox News channel, struck Biden early on in Arizona. CNN and NBC followed a little more cautiously on November 13th. The preliminary decision of the electoral thriller had previously dragged on until Saturday, November 7th. In theory, Trump had little chance of a narrow election victory or even a stalemate until then.

The 2020 US election turned out to be a test of nerves for both sides. The wait was not over until the weekend after the election date: in the late morning (11:10 a.m. local time US East Coast, 5:10 p.m. CET), CNN presenter Wolf Blitzer proclaimed the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, as the election winner. Other broadcasters, including Fox News, followed suit.

The decision was made in the embattled state of Pennsylvania. There the majority of the votes counted went to the Democrats. With the votes of the 20 electorates who were to be assigned there, Biden’s bottom line was 273 electoral votes. The threshold to the majority is 270. Biden took the lead unassailable. It now has 290 votes in the electoral body. Trump only comes to 217.

For the current incumbent Donald Trump there are no longer any prospects of winning the election and serving as US President in the White House for another four years. Even the US broadcaster Fox News, which has been loyal to Trump, sees Biden in Pennsylvania as well as in Nevada and Arizona. Trump has not yet wanted to acknowledge his obvious but not yet official defeat. Instead, he speaks offensively of electoral fraud and allegedly “illegal votes”. He announced legal action but has not yet been able to provide any evidence to support his claims.

“The simple fact is that this election is far from over,” he said on the first weekend after the election. “I WON THIS VOTE, CLEARLY!” He tweeted in capital letters. It is still unclear how significant Trump’s defeat will ultimately be. The 74-year-old could improve his result a little with wins in Georgia and North Carolina. But this will not be enough for the majority.

The 2020 US election was not just about the presidency, but also about the political balance of power in Congress. The election on November 3 also included a new appointment in the entire House of Representatives and a third of the seats in the US Senate. There, too, the counting of votes has not yet been completed. In the House of Representatives, the Democrats are still at least five seats short of a majority. In the Senate they are level with the Republicans.

The election prospects in the House of Representatives:

The outlook in the US Senate:

The majority in both chambers of congress will determine the political leeway the future US president can expect in the coming years. On the morning of the long election night, it became clear that the decision on the presidency would be made in the last remaining states. In the worst case, the count could drag on for weeks.

Ultimately, voter participation in the particularly competitive battleground states should have been the decisive factor. The political weight of the states – roughly measured by the number of inhabitants – is anything but evenly distributed.

These are the voters

In the USA, anyone of the approximately 330 million US citizens who is at least 18 years old was eligible to vote. That’s a good 257 million. Residents of U.S. suburbs such as Puerto Rico are excluded. Most states also do not allow inmates and people convicted of serious crimes to vote.

According to the civil rights organization ACLU, this currently affects around 5.85 million US citizens. The lifelong disenfranchisement of the right to vote is handled particularly strictly in several southern states. In Florida and Kentucky, for example, about one in five African Americans is permanently banned from voting, according to the ACLU. All other citizens must first register with the responsible electoral office before voting.

In 2016 there were around 214 million registered voters, of whom 140 million voted. That means: Around 74 million registered voters – for various reasons – did not take part in the election. In this election, too, which camp – Republicans or Democrats – will prevail in the end will depend on the voter turnout of the undecided and undecided.

This is how the US election works

Donald Trump ran for a second term. The Republican candidate wanted to continue to rule with his 61-year-old Vice President Mike Pence. His challenger Joe Biden, on the other hand, wants to return to the White House with California Senator Kamala Harris if he wins the election. The 55-year-old Democrat Harris will become the first woman, the first black and the first Asian-born US citizen to serve as Vice President.

US voters can only vote indirectly on who will be the next president. Your vote decides on the composition of the Electoral College, which then elects the President. In 48 of the 50 states it works like this: The candidate who can secure a majority gets all the votes.

An example: If a candidate in Florida wins with 50.1 percent of the vote, he gets the votes of all 29 electorates in the state, his competitor goes completely empty – no matter how many people there voted for him. Americans therefore speak of the principle “the winner takes all”. Only in the two small states of Nebraska and Maine are the votes of the electorate based on smaller electoral districts.

To become president, a candidate must win the votes of at least 270 people nationwide. The number of electors in a state corresponds to the number of senators and congressmen sent from there and is thus roughly based on the number of inhabitants. In fact, the votes from the smaller states have a significantly higher weight. In Wyoming there is one elector for every 135,000 voters, in California there are 411,000.

Electors formally vote 41 days after the presidential election, this year on December 14th. They are guided by the result in their state – in many states the electors would otherwise face a penalty. The official result will be announced in Congress on January 6th.

Because of the indirect voting system, it is possible that a candidate could get the most direct votes but still lose the election. That was the case in 2016, for example. At that time, more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump was able to secure a majority of the electorate through the states he won.

Which states make the choice?

In the 2020 election, particular attention was paid to Florida in the southeastern United States: the third most populous state after California and Texas was considered the jackpot: with 29 voters, it is one of the most contested states.

This was followed by the traditional “battleground states” or “swing states”, those states that sometimes vote for a republican and sometimes for a democrat. This includes Pennsylvania (20 votes) and Ohio (18), as well as Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota (together 36 votes). The last polls before the election also indicated a close result in Georgia (16), North Carolina (15) and Arizona (11).

It would have been a minor political earthquake if Biden had managed to win Texas. The big state with 36 votes has been going to Republicans for decades – some polls had given Biden at least some chances there.

Many other states, however, are hardly contested. For the Democrats, for example, the states on the west coast are a safe bank, including California, with its almost 40 million inhabitants, and Oregon and Washington in the northwestern United States. There are also numerous safe states in the northeast, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Maryland.

The Republicans usually do well in the center of the country, including the Midwest and the South. They typically win states like Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. There are clear differences in voting behavior in almost every federal state, including between the cities and the more rural constituencies.

Review of the 2016 election year: This is how Trump won

Four years ago, Donald Trump was only able to secure victory in the presidential election because of the special US electoral system. The majority ratios were only in his favor within the decisive electoral committee. For many observers, Trump was surprisingly able to secure a majority in the decisive states.

In the so-called Popular Vote, however, he was in second place. Measured by the number of votes cast, he would have had to admit defeat to his rival candidate Clinton by the Democrats – if it weren’t for the peculiar electoral process with the decisive decision in the Electoral College. Trump was also well behind Clinton in terms of the share of the vote.

The results of the 2020 election in detail

When the official result of the 2020 presidential election will be known is still open. The counting of votes could drag on for weeks due to lawsuits and possible re-counts. It is also unclear how exactly the loser will react to his now obvious defeat. What is certain, however, is that Joe Biden will face difficult tasks as the 46th President of the United States.

Millions of US voters did not want a change of government in the White House even after four years under Trump – despite all the scandals, taboos and questionable political projects. Contrary to what many pollsters had predicted, the landslide victory hoped for by Trump opponents did not materialize. Instead, the US election developed into an unexpectedly close race that could lead to a legal tug-of-war before the final finale.

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