Joe Biden wins Michigan, a key swing state victory

Joe Biden wins Michigan, a key swing state victory

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has won Michigan, flipping blue after the state elected President Donald Trump in 2016.

joe biden

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has won Michigan, flipping the state blue after it elected President Donald Trump in 2016.

In a major upset for the Republican party and incumbent President Donald Trump, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has won Michigan, the New York Times and the Associated Press reported. The race was called for Biden Wednesday evening, with Trump’s earlier lead Tuesday night falling away as results came in from slower-counting Democratic cities.  

The Great Lakes State was initially considered a safe bet for Biden, but as results started to trickle in late Tuesday night, Trump showed an early lead of over 1%. 

Early Wednesday morning, AP had yet to call the presidential race and had determined the fate of the presidency could be decided in three battleground states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. 

Across the U.S., winning more than 70 million votes as of Wednesday evening, Biden broke former President Barack Obama’s record for most votes ever cast for a U.S. presidential candidate.

By the afternoon, the Associated Press called the race for Biden in Wisconsin with a 0.6% lead over Trump, leaving Pennsylvania and Michigan still in the fray. 

Meanwhile as Michigan processed more absentee ballots and votes poured in from Democrat-leaning counties like Wayne, Biden jumped ahead of Trump. The state smashed voter turnout records with more than 5.2 million votes, of which 3.2 million people voted absentee, said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Wednesday.  

With the race tightening in key states, Trump took to twitter to cast doubt on the counting process and alleged his vote advantage in key Democrat-run states had “started to magically disappear.” Twitter censored and labeled these tweets as disputed and misleading.  

Political experts had long warned the election results could put up an early blue or red “mirage” in early results which could be misleading for the final outcome. Election officials had cautioned counting the results could take days. “This is an election week, no longer an Election Day,” Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey had said.  

Soon after, the Trump campaign announced it had filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims to try and halt the vote count in Michigan. The campaign claimed it had not been provided “meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law.” The campaign also alleged issues with the election results from Antrim county in northern Michigan.   

At the same time, tensions flared in Detroit when poll challengers from both parties converged at the TCF center in the final hours of counting. Police officers barred these observers from entering the center when it reached full capacity. Inside, a group of unidentified people started chanting, “Stop the votes!”

The weekend before Election Day, Biden led Michigan polls by an average of 6.5 points, according to Real Clear Politics, while FiveThirtyEight’s forecast had Biden at a 96% chance of winning here.

Overall, like in 2016, Trump played to his base in outstate and rural counties of western and northern Michigan, which makes up nearly a third of Michigan’s territory yet just a fraction of its vote.

Biden relied on get-out-the-vote efforts in the Democratic strongholds of Detroit and surrounding Wayne County, along with Washtenaw (Ann Arbor), and Genesee Counties (Flint), with a massive push in recent weeks.

Leading up to Election Day both presidential candidates paid special attention to the swing state and made a final plea to voters. 

Biden, on the weekend, reunited with Obama for the first time in person on his 2020 campaign trail to hold drive-in rallies in Flint and Detroit. 

“We’ve got to leave no doubt about who we are and what this country stands for,” Obama told a crowd on Belle Isle in an impassioned speech that vouched for Biden.

On the eve of Nov. 3, Trump, hoping to reenact the events that led to his victory in Michigan four years ago, held a massive rally in Grand Rapids. Kent County swung Republican in 2016 but went Democrat in the 2018 midterms. 

“We can be a little superstitious, right?” he said. “I think we’re going to have a tremendous victory in Michigan.”

Alison Saldanha is a reporter and Elections SOS fellow with Detour Detroit.