- In the 2020 US presidential election, President-elect Joe Biden earned 306 electoral votes to 232 electoral votes for President Donald Trump.
- This year, Biden flipped five states and one congressional district that Trump won 2016, giving him the majority in both the Electoral College and the popular vote.
- Biden won the traditionally Republican states of Arizona and Georgia, neither of which had voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since the 1990s.
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On November 14, the final puzzle piece of the 2020 presidential map was set.
Once President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner in Georgia, based on a projection by Decision Desk HQ and Insider, the final Electoral College tally in the presidential election stood at 306 electoral votes for Biden and 232 electoral votes for President Donald Trump. Biden is well over the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to secure the presidency.
As of November 17, Biden leads in the national popular vote by a 51% to 47% margin, or by 4 percentage points. So far, Biden has earned 78,729,579 votes, compared to Trump’s 73,126,938 votes, with outstanding ballots still being counted in several states, including California and New York.
Biden’s raw vote lead is currently just under 6 million votes.
While the 2016 presidential map reflects Democratic dominance on the East and West coasts and Republican strength across the interior of the country, the 2020 map shows how Biden made significant inroads in every region of the country.
Here are some key differences between the 2016 presidential race between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and this year’s election between Trump and Biden:
The 2020 Electoral College total is the inverse of the 2016 results
Biden’s 306 electoral votes and Trump’s 232 electoral votes are the exact inverse of the 2016 presidential election, when Trump received 306 electoral votes to 232 electoral votes for Clinton.
The final 2016 presidential map reflects 304 electoral votes for Trump and 227 electoral votes for Clinton because both candidates lost two and five electoral votes, respectively, due to faithless electors.
Faithless electors are members of the Electoral College who vote against the state or district’s popular vote winner. For Clinton, there were four faithless electors in Washington State and one faithless elector in Hawaii, while Trump had two faithless electors in Texas. Before 2016, the last time that there were any faithless electors was the 2004 presidential election between then-President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
This year, members of the Electoral College, who have already been picked by the states and Washington DC, will meet on December 14 to cast their votes for the winner of each state or district.
Biden flipped 5 states that Trump won in 2016
Throughout the presidential campaign, Biden focused on restoring the “blue wall,” the collection of states that had voted for every Democratic presidential nominee from 1992 to 2012, while also competing in the Sun Belt, which included the key states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.
Biden was successful in not only flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but he also carried Arizona (49.4%-49.1%) and Georgia (49.5%-49.2%). However, he came up short in Florida (48%-51%) and Texas (46%-52%).
Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, was a critical battleground for both Biden and Trump. The president narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, but Biden carried the state this year by performing strongly in Philadelphia and its suburbs, along with Pittsburgh and the northeastern region of the state.
Michigan (16 electoral votes) and Wisconsin (10 electoral votes) were key Midwestern prizes that were part of Biden’s calculus for winning the White House.
The wins in Arizona (11 electoral votes) and Georgia (16 electoral votes) reflected the party’s growing strength in fast-growing areas of the country that are rapidly diversifying and are home to large numbers of suburban voters, who were a critical part of the Democratic coalition in 2020.
Lastly, Biden won the 2nd congressional district of Nebraska, anchored by Omaha, the state’s largest city. Since the state allocates its electoral votes by Congressional districts, the president-elect earned one electoral vote, while Trump won the remaining four electoral votes.
The key difference from 2016? Clinton didn’t win any of these states â€” had she just won Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, then she would have headed to the White House instead of Trump.
Biden and Trump each won 25 states
In the 2020 presidential election, Biden won 25 states, along with Washington DC and Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district. Trump also won 25 states, along with Maine’s 2nd congressional district.
In 2016, Trump won 30 states and Maine’s 2nd congressional district, while Clinton only won 20 states and Washington DC.
Despite Trump winning the same number of states as Biden this year, he still fell well short in the Electoral College. Biden carried most of the country’s largest states by incredibly wide margins, which propelled his national vote lead.
In this election, Trump became only the 11th president in US history to lose reelection. The last president who failed to win a second term was George H.W. Bush in 1992, who was defeated by then-Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas.
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