The presidential race remains too close to call, but Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is closing in on securing enough electoral votes to win, after news outlets projected him winning two key states in the Midwest: Wisconsin and Michigan. According to the Associated Press, Biden has now secured 264 electoral votes. He will reach the needed 270 if he wins any of the four undecided races: Nevada, where he has a slim lead of less than 8,000 votes; Georgia, where Trump is winning by 18,000 votes; North Carolina, where Trump is leading by 77,000 votes; or Pennsylvania, where Trump is up by 165,000, but many absentee ballots have still not been counted. Biden briefly spoke on Wednesday.
Joe Biden: “I’m not here to declare that we’ve won, but I am here to report, when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”
President Trump made multiple false claims on Wednesday suggesting Democrats were stealing the election. At one point, Trump wrote on Twitter that he was claiming, for electoral vote purposes, the states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan, even as votes are still being counted. The Trump campaign also filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan and has requested a recount in Wisconsin. On Wednesday, Wisconsin’s chief elections official, Meagan Wolfe, said Trump’s claims of electoral fraud were an insult to election workers.
Meagan Wolfe: “Anybody is welcome to watch that process. Some of the places even live-streamed their tally last night. And so, I think that it’s insulting to our local election officials to say that any — yesterday’s election was anything but an incredible success.”
On Wednesday, dozens of Trump supporters stormed a vote-counting center in Detroit, banging on windows and doors, behind which elections officials were busy counting mail-in ballots.
Trump supporters: “Stop the count! Stop the count! Stop the count! Stop the count! Stop the count! Stop the count!”
Meanwhile, another group of Trump protesters gathered in Arizona chanting “Count the vote.” Many of the protesters were openly carrying AR-15 assault rifles and other guns. A local TV news crew said they left the site after a Trump supporter threatened them and said he would find out where they live. While Fox and the Associated Press have called Arizona for Biden, the Trump campaign is hoping to win the state once all votes are counted.
Pro-democracy protesters took to the streets in cities across the U.S. on Wednesday, condemning Trump’s efforts to steal the election. In Minneapolis, police arrested hundreds of marchers Wednesday night as they flooded Interstate 94. Here in New York, police kettled about 60 marchers at a Manhattan protest and arrested them. Earlier Wednesday, activist Linda Sarsour spoke at a protest outside the New York Public Library.
Linda Sarsour: “Today, we demand that every vote is counted. Tomorrow, we organize, and we fight regardless of who goes to the White House.”
In Maine, Republican Susan Collins has been elected to a fifth U.S. Senate term, defeating Maine’s Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon. Collins was thought to be vulnerable after she cast a deciding vote to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, despite credible sexual assault allegations against him. In Michigan, first-term Democratic Senator Gary Peters appears poised to win a second term, in a close race with Republican John James. If Joe Biden wins the presidency, Democrats would need to flip two more Senate seats to retake the majority. Their best chance is in Georgia, where Republican David Perdue is just over the 50% mark needed to prevent a runoff election against Democrat Jon Ossoff. If Perdue falls below the 50% threshold, that race would head to a runoff in January, when Georgia voters will also decide on a second Senate race between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Kelly Loeffler.
House Democrats are discussing whether to replace Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House, after Republicans scored unexpected victories on Tuesday, cutting into Democrats’ majority. That’s according to The Hill, which reports two unnamed congressmembers have been approaching colleagues and asking them to back House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries as the next House speaker.
New Mexico has become the first U.S. state to elect women of color as its entire congressional delegation. Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez is a supporter of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Republican Yvette Herrell is a member of the Cherokee Nation and former state representative in New Mexico’s House. They join incumbent Congressmember Deb Haaland, who in 2018 became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress.
In Mexico, hospitals in the northern border city of Ciudad Juárez have reached capacity and began wait-listing patients amid a surge of COVID-19 cases. Officials have imposed a nightly curfew and ordered the largely U.S.-owned factories known as maquiladoras to close on weekends. Across the border, overtaxed hospitals in El Paso have been airlifting COVID patients to other cities in Texas.
In Philadelphia, city officials have released body camera footage of the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., the 27-year-old Black man who was shot by two police officers while having a mental health crisis last week. The video shows police officers Sean Matarazzo and Thomas Munz shooting and killing Wallace as he stands outside his parents’ home carrying a knife. A woman in the video can be heard repeatedly saying Wallace is “mental” as the officers point their guns at him. At one point, Wallace’s mother stands between the officers and Wallace. In one video, a male voice can be heard saying “Shoot him” and “Get him.” The officers then fire at least seven rounds each at Wallace, who falls to the ground. Wallace’s mother rushes to him, saying, “You killed my son.” One of the officers says, “He was f—ing chasing us.” Wallace never gets closer than 10 to 15 feet away from the officers.
In Texas, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody has lost his reelection bid to Democrat Mike Gleason, after Chody was indicted on felony charges of evidence tampering related to the police killing of Javier Ambler. Ambler, who was African American, was tasered to death during a traffic stop in March of 2019 as he told officers, “I have congestive heart failure,” and “I can’t breathe.” Ambler’s death was recorded by the former reality TV show “Live PD,” but the show’s producers never publicly released the footage and later said they had destroyed it at Sheriff Chody’s request.
Mississippi voters have overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure overturning a Jim Crow-era Electoral College provision for determining governors and other elected officials. The two-step process for selecting statewide officeholders has helped preserve white supremacy in Mississippi politics since the law was enacted in 1890. African Americans make up nearly 40% of Mississippi’s population.
In Missouri, voters have narrowly approved a ballot measure reversing recent changes to the redistricting process that made state legislative races more competitive. Passage of Amendment 3 is a major victory for Missouri Republicans, who are now poised to maintain their supermajority control of the state House and Senate.
In Delaware, Democrat Sarah McBride has been elected the first openly transgender state senator in the United States, defeating Republican candidate Steve Washington. In 2016, McBride became the first openly transgender woman to speak at a major-party convention, addressing Democrats in Philadelphia.
Sarah McBride: “Will we be a nation where there’s only one way to love, only one way to look and only one way to live, or will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally, a nation that’s stronger together?”
The United States officially withdrew from the landmark Paris climate accord on Wednesday, drawing condemnation from governments and environmentalists around the world. This is Japan’s top government spokesperson.
Katsunobu Kato: “The climate change issue is a global challenge and isn’t something affecting just a single country. It should be addressed by the entire international community. … From that point of view, it’s extremely regrettable that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement now.”
Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the landmark 2015 agreement on his first day in office. On Wednesday Biden tweeted, “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.”
In Madrid, Spain, activists with the climate action group Extinction Rebellion superglued themselves to the ground outside the entrance of the Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday, demanding Spain’s government do more to protect biodiversity. The activists say climate change and the loss of animal habitat threaten to spark new pandemics.
Extinction Rebellion activist: “We demand that measures to really solve this climate crisis are taken, because, for example, the coronavirus is basically a problem that derives from climate change. It derives from the fact that, little by little, we are losing biodiversity. And one of the direct consequences is that we’re losing the natural barrier that previously protected us.”