Former Vice President Joe Biden has ousted incumbent President Donald Trump, as predicted. His electoral collage margin is narrower than anticipated (I predicted around 350) but it’s a moderate margin of 306–232, identical to 2016’s result for Mr Trump against Secretary Hillary Clinton.
In the popular vote we anticipated a margin of 5–9 points, we see (it’s still shifting) something resembling a 4 point lead (a decent showing) of 51% for Biden to 47% for Trump, and a record number of votes cast for both candidates.
This campaign saw Biden underperform, and Trump once again defy the polls and our expectations; just not by enough. It is evidentially clear COVID cost the incumbent this election, and tipped Biden over the edge. Without COVID, Trump would have won this, potentially by a landslide.
Trump has grown the GOP voter base among minorities, and among women. He’s received the second most votes of any presidential candidate (and the most for a GOP candidate) in US history. There was a red wave of undetected Trump supporters who held up much of his 2016 wins. His message on the economy, on trade, and fearmongering about the left enflamed and grew his base.
Biden benefitted from the sheer mass of anti-Trump votes. The blue wave just narrowly swallowed the red wave; Biden achieved the most votes in history for a candidate. Biden’s support was driven by sentiment against an unpopular incumbent, by fears over coronavirus, and by a wish for stability.
The US is deeply divided, this wasn’t a blowout for either candidate. Trump was comfortably defeated in the end, but these were two juggernaut campaigns, both with huge political heft behind them. Biden has 4 years to make a tangible benefit to people’s lives with an eye on revived and angrier Trumpism in 2024, and Trump has 4 years to consolidate his grip on the GOP and serve as the figurehead of an anti-Biden opposition.