WASHINGTON — Democrat Joe Biden was pushing closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to carry the White House, securing victories in the “blue wall” battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan and narrowing President Donald Trump’s path.
With just a handful of states still up for grabs, Trump tried to press his case in court in some key swing states. It was unclear if any of his campaign’s legal maneuvering over balloting would succeed in shifting the race in his favor.
Two days after Election Day, neither candidate had amassed the votes needed to win the White House. But Biden’s victories in the Great Lakes states left him at 264, meaning he was one battleground state away — any would do — from becoming president-elect.
Trump, with 214 electoral votes, faced a much higher hurdle. To reach 270, he needed to claim all four remaining battlegrounds: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada.
With millions of votes yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 71 million votes, the most in history. At an afternoon news conference Wednesday, the former vice president said he expected to win the presidency but stopped short of outright declaring victory.
“I will govern as an American president,” Biden said. “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.”
It was a stark contrast to the approach of Trump, who early Wednesday morning falsely claimed that he had won the election.
Trump’s campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity to try to improve the Republican president’s chances and cast doubt on the election results, requesting a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes; Biden led by more than 20,000 ballots out of nearly 3.3 million counted.
With the race for the White House narrowing and Trump’s legal challenges adding to growing frustrations, tensions have reached a boiling point in some American cities.
Dozens of angry supporters of Trump converged on vote-counting centers in Detroit and Phoenix as returns went against the president in the two key states.
Meanwhile, from New York to Seattle, thousands of demonstrators turned out to demand every vote be counted.
In New York, hundreds of people paraded past boarded-up luxury stores on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and in Chicago, demonstrators marched through downtown and along a street across the river from Trump Tower.
In Portland, which has been a scene of regular protests for months, Gov. Kate Brown called out the National Guard as demonstrators engaged in what authorities said was widespread violence downtown, including smashing windows. Protesters in Portland were demonstrating about a range of issues, including police brutality and the counting of the vote.
“Across the United States, elections officials are working hard to ensure that every vote is counted, and it may be several days until we know the results of this election,” Brown said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s important to trust the process, and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis.”
She added that while “Oregonians have the right to free expression and peaceful assembly,” what would not be tolerated is “political violence, intimidation and property destruction.”
While we wait for election results, Oregonians have the right to free expression and peaceful assembly. But political violence, intimidation and property destruction will not be tolerated. Let’s work together to keep our fellow Oregonians safe. https://t.co/WN7ky4c1SZ
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) November 4, 2020
Similar protests — sometimes about the election, sometimes about racial inequality — took place in at least a half-dozen cities, including Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and San Diego.
The confrontation in Detroit started shortly before The Associated Press declared that Biden had won Michigan.
On Election Night, scattered protests broke after voting ended, stretching from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, but there was no widespread unrest or significant violence.
In Seattle, demonstrators were quickly dispersed after they took to the streets just shortly after polls closed in Washington state Tuesday night.
As was the case in other cities and states, hundreds of businesses in Seattle and Portland boarded up their windows and doors ahead of the election, for fear of riots and damage.
Seattle police said several people, including someone who put nails in a road and another who drove over a barricade and into a police bike lane, were arrested, but no injuries were reported.