JOE BIDEN looks all but certain to become the 46th president of the United States. On Friday morning his vote count in Pennsylvania overtook that of President Donald Trump. If he does secure Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral-college votes, his total will surpass the 270 needed to win the White House. He also has narrow leads in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. Counting continues in all four states. If Mr Biden wins them all, his final electoral-college tally will be 306.
Although they are on the brink of taking the presidency, a record turnout did not deliver the decisive blow Democrats had hoped for. Mr Biden will probably have to govern with a divided Congress, according to the Economist.
As in 2016, Mr Trump outperformed his rival in rural parts of the country, whereas Biden racked up votes in the cities. Exit polls show that rural voters favoured the Republican president by 53% to 45%. Urban voters preferred the Democratic challenger by 60% to 37%. Suburban voters, meanwhile, were fairly evenly split between the two, with Mr Trump leading by 51% to 48%.
The race for control of the Senate remains open, but Democratic hopes of a blue wave have been dashed. Republican candidates have prevailed in many red-tinged states where Democrats had hoped for an upset.
Democrats seem certain to retain control of the House of Representatives, but considerable uncertainty remains over the eventual size of their majority.