US elections: how Biden and Trump each have a path to the White House
Thursday, 05 November 2020
Credit: Gage Skidmore // CC BY-SA 2.0
Two days after Americans took to the polling stations to elect the next president of the United States, both Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Republican candidate Donald Trump still have a chance to occupy the Oval Office for the next four years.
In the US elections, citizens vote for an electoral college rather than for the candidates themselves. There are 538 electoral college votes up for grabs, 270 of which are needed to win the election.
Most media are reporting 253 electoral college votes for Biden and 214 for Donald Trump after Biden was projected as the winner in the state of Wisconsin. That leaves six states and 71 electoral college votes up for grabs.
While Biden, in a short speech on Wednesday night (Belgian time) said that “after a long night of counting, it’s clear that we’re winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency,” he added that he was “not here to declare that we’ve won.”
“Here, the people rule,” Biden said. “Power can’t be taken or asserted. It flows from the people. And it’s their will that determines who will be the president of the United States, and their will only.”
Here’s how, depending on the people’s votes, both Biden and Trump could make it to the White House.
Which states are up for grabs
The battle for the presidency is currently being fought in six states: Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Nevada (6), Arizona (11) and Alaska (3).
How Biden wins
A victory in Pennsylvania would get Biden to 273 votes, passing the required number of 270 electoral college votes to win the presidency.
Trump is currently in the lead in Pennsylvania, however. This is also the case in Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska. With current projections, Biden could win in both Nevada and Arizona. If he can keep that lead, the combined 17 electoral votes of which would get him to exactly 270 electoral college votes.
How Trump wins
While he needs almost all states to win, Trump’s path to reelection remains open. The four states in which he is currently in the lead would get him to 268 votes, and if he then takes either Nevada or Arizona from Biden, Trump will be re-elected.
In other words, while the odds are in Biden’s favour, it is still unclear who the next President of the United States will be.
For a basic understanding of the US election system, click here.