Joe Biden: looking increasingly like the next US President (Photo: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)

Biden edges closer to victory, urges unity

Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden has the White House within his sights today after overtaking Donald Trump in the two key battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia.

A win in Pennsylvania alone, where Biden is currently ahead by more than 14,500 votes, would deliver him 20 Electoral College votes – enough to take him over the 270-vote threshold and guarantee victory.

He also has a narrow lead in Georgia, a traditional Republican stronghold, and continues to hold the advantage in Nevada and North Carolina.

In an address to the nation today, Biden called for unity and an end to “partisan warfare”, saying:

“Put the anger and demonisation behind us. It’s time for us to come together as a nation to heal.”

He added: “”The numbers tell us a clear and convincing story: we’re going to win this race.”

As both Republican and Democrat supporters rallied outside counting centres in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and other major cities, Trump repeated his unfounded claims that the electoral process was rigged against him.

In a statement, he insisted that “illegal ballots should not be counted”, and claimed that “the integrity of our entire election process” was at stake. However, Trump’s tone was decidedly more subdued than in recent days.

The former vice-president – who already has 253 Electoral College votes, to Trump’s 213, and is ahead in the popular vote by more than four million votes – said he had “no doubt” that he and his running mate, Kamala Harris, were on course for victory.

Notably, a growing number of Republicans have begun to distance themselves from Trump, and his baseless claims of election fraud.

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey said: “The president’s allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated.”

And Utah Senator Mitt Romney called Trump’s attacks on the electoral process “recklessly inflame(s) destructive and dangerous passions”, adding:

“He is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt or stolen.”

Other Republicans, such as Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, backed Trump’s claims.

Trump, who needs Georgia and Pennsylvania to win the White House, is pressing on with numerous legal challenges in various key states.

However, some of those lawsuits have already been rejected, and his wins so far have been peripheral, relating to issues such as how close to the counting process observers can stand.

Biden nearly doubled his lead in Nevada and George overnight. In Arizona, his lead is slowly being whittled away, but not as much as Republicans had hoped.

Trump’s claims of election theft have spurred his supporters to take to the streets, demanding that some vote counts cease and others continue.

Meanwhile, some of Biden’s followers have been dancing in the streets to celebrate his leads in key states.

Outside Philadelphia’s Convention Center, where votes are being counted, they held up a banner proclaiming “The People Have Spoken”. Two armed men were arrested near the Convention Center yesterday.

Trump’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, has been permanently banned from Twitter after calling for leading public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wray to be beheaded.