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Mic checks, the whiff of triumph: Biden narrows gap in Pennsylvania
New York, November 5, 2020
Microphone checks at 3 a.m. on Friday and signs of life at a parking lot-turned Joe Biden stump in Wilmington, Delaware, offer a window into the Democratic presidential nominee's camp's state of mind as barely 18,229 votes now separate him and US President Donald Trump in battleground Pennsylvania.
Votes are being counted all night in this battleground, 95 per cent of the votes are in and Biden is smashing through Trump's lead as the final votes are counted.
The lion's share of the final votes being counted are mail-in ballots, which shattered records this year. The next update from Philadelphia is expected any moment.
Trump, watching his grasp on power in real danger, is stewing and letting it all hang out.
At 2.22 a.m. EST, the President tweeted that he won, and a minute later complained that "Twitter is out of control" because the micro-blogging site labeled his post with a now familiar warning, in grey font: "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process."
Trump's rage has escalated as his lead has steadily evaporated in Pennsylvania, more than in any other state.
Pennsylvania is do or die for Trump, not so much for Biden. The President has gone from a 675,000 lead on Wednesday to 18,000 early Friday morning.
Here's how that played out.
The in-person votes, which typically favour Republicans, got counted first because Pennsylvania law mandated that mail-in ballots cannot be processed until Election Day.
Mail-in voting has skewed heavily in Biden's favour in all states.
Trump has spent months claiming, without evidence, that voting by mail is a "mess" and beset by "fraud".
Democrats are hoping to pull off a victory in Pennsylvania and build back their "blue wall" here and in Wisconsin and Michigan, which Trump broke through in 2016.
He won Penn State by less than a percentage point in the last election against Hillary Clinton.
Biden, who was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, spent the morning of election day in his boyhood home here in a working class neighbourhood.
While there, he scrawled a note on a wall, in black ink: "From this house to the White House. With the grace of God."
At this time, five key battlegrounds are yet to report final results: Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona.
In Georgia, the gap between Trump and Biden is down to just 463 votes. It's been 28 years since a Democratic candidate won here in a presidential election. This is as close as it gets.