Hope grows as Biden moves closer to victory

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Trump files lawsuits to stop counting of ballots in presidential race

By Erick Johnson

After an evening of gloom, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden moved closer to victory after flipping several key swing states in a dramatic comeback that gave the former vice president numerous paths to defeating President Donald Trump in a wild election where the Black vote played a key role.

It’s a campaign that may end big—the way it began—after Blacks saved Biden’s campaign from defeat in February. This week, Black voters stand to do it again.

Emotions are running high as ballots continue to be counted in Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin. They are swing states that include major cities where Biden has overwhelming support from large Black voter populations.

Since Election Day, television networks and the Associated Press have been slow to call these states as the margins between the two candidates has been tight in multiple states. Late Tuesday evening, Trump made big, impressive gains in taking “The Blue Wall” after winning Ohio. Earlier that evening, Trump took Florida—the biggest battleground state that gave him 29 electoral votes.

For Biden supporters, optimism gave way to gloom and concern as Biden’s path to victory narrowed as Trump threatened to repeat his surprising win in 2016, where he flipped the same swing states to win the White House.

Election officials in the swing states counted in-person votes first—a move that heavily favored Democrats. With the coronavirus pandemic, millions of mail-in ballots had yet to be counted in Pennsylvania.

Mail-in ballots came from Democratic-rich counties with cities with high Black populations, like Milwaukee, Detroit and Philadelphia.

By Wednesday morning, Biden made huge gains on Trump as the counting of mail-in ballots were well underway. By 2 p.m., Biden overcame Trump in Wisconsin as the networks and major news outlets called the state after Biden took 49.4 percent of the vote to Trump’s 48.8 percent.

When Fox News announced Biden had flipped Arizona, it prompted vows from Trump to file a lawsuit to force a recount.

At 4 p.m., Biden flipped Michigan, taking 49.8 percent of the vote to Trump’s 48.6 percent. Biden had the potential to widen the lead as officials continued to count mail-in ballots from Wayne County, the seat of Detroit.

Many residents flooded the polls and mail-in drop boxes in the day leading up to the General Election.

On Tuesday night in Pennsylvania, Trump led Biden by as much as 360,000 votes. The big lead prompted Trump to falsely declare victory even though officials had not counted one million mail-in ballots. By Wednesday evening, Trump’s lead had shrunk to about 267,000, with 86 percent of all votes counted.

Election officials in Pennsylvania said it could take as long as Friday for them to complete the count. Trump has filed a lawsuit to halt the count, but election officials reaffirmed that mail-in ballots were received before Election Day.

Trump also filed a lawsuit for access to observe ballot counts in Michigan and a lawsuit to force a recount in Wisconsin.

Political analysts believe that Biden does not need Pennsylvania to win the necessary 270 electoral votes to seal his White House bid. With key wins in Wisconsin and Michigan, and potential wins in Arizona and Nevada, they say Biden has the victory locked up. Trump’s supporters believe they could take Arizona, but political analysts say their chances are very slim.

Biden was gaining momentum in Georgia, where Trump led by as much as 400,000 votes, but many mail-in ballots from Fulton County and predominantly Black Atlanta had not been counted by Tuesday night.

By Crusader press time Wednesday, Trump has led Biden by more than 57,000 votes with 94 percent of all votes counted. Some 200,000 mail-in ballots had yet to be counted in several Democratic counties north of Atlanta. In North Carolina, which has experienced a large Black population growth in the last several years, Trump led Biden by just 77,000 votes with 95 percent of the votes counted.

Democrats also made impressive moves in Senate races.

On Wednesday, in Michigan, Senator Gary Peters surpassed Republican challenger John James, with 49.2 percent of the vote to his opponent’s 48.9 percent. After trailing James by big margins Tuesday night, Peters’ lead is expected to widen with more mail-in ballots that heavily favor Democrats.

Democrats took two Senate seats in Arizona and Colorado. In Georgia, Democrat Raphael Warnock, a senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, forced a runoff against Republican Kelly Loefller.

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