As Trump Refuses to Concede, G.O.P. Remains Divided

This post was originally published on this site

As top Republicans remained divided over congratulating President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and declaring the election over, Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, and other advisers have discussed the need to make it clear to Mr. Trump that any legal challenges to the results have a very small chance of altering the outcome.

On Friday, a large gaggle of Trump advisers met with the president in the Oval Office to discuss the way forward. Several have been fairly candid that the chances of success are not high. On Saturday, another meeting of White House aides and political advisers took place at the Trump campaign headquarters.

When campaign officials laid out the small chances of changing the outcome of the race at the Saturday meeting, Mr. Kushner asked some of the political advisers to go to the White House to lay it out for Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the meeting.

But a White House official later disputed reports of Mr. Kushner advising the president to concede the 2020 election, and said instead he is telling him to pursue “legal remedies.” The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Kushner has abided by Mr. Trump’s desire to continue trying to fight the results of various contests through court challenges. That path has been encouraged most strongly by Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, while most other Trump advisers have said privately that the chances of the results changing are exceedingly slim.

At the same time, some within the Republican Party have made it clear that it was time for the president to concede. On Sunday, former President George W. Bush became the highest-profile Republican to publicly declare the election over in defiance of Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept the results.

“I extended my warm congratulations” to Mr. Biden “and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night,” Mr. Bush said in a statement released after he spoke with Mr. Biden by telephone. “I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency. Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”

Although Mr. Bush said Mr. Trump had “the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges,” his statement made clear that he did not think those efforts would succeed, and Mr. Bush’s position could encourage other Republicans to speak out and increase pressure on Mr. Trump to stop fighting the results with unsubstantiated claims.

“The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair,” he said. “Its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”

Mr. Bush, the only living former Republican president, put his stamp on the outcome even as many of his party’s elected leaders held back either out of loyalty to Mr. Trump or out of fear of crossing the outgoing president. Mr. Trump has falsely asserted that the election was stolen without any evidence, leaving his party in the awkward position of following a president refusing to accept the reality that other Republicans have, even if they do not say so out loud.

Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have refused to publicly acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory without necessarily embracing Mr. Trump’s wild claims. Many of them have either remained silent or have straddled the line with statements calling for all legal votes to be counted, suggesting that the president should be permitted to file any lawsuits or call for any recounts allowed under the law. Only a few well-known Republicans, like Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have congratulated Mr. Biden.

Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota lashed out at Democrats and the news media on the ABC program “This Week,” insisting that “computer glitches” and reports of “dead people voting in Pennsylvania” were examples of widespread fraud.

“When you break the process on which we elect our leaders, you will break America forever,” Ms. Noem said, even though voting went smoothly and it is Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede that flouts the normal process.

Senator Roy Blunt, the Republican from Missouri who will oversee planning for the inauguration at the Capitol on Jan. 20, referred to Mr. Biden as the former vice president, not the president-elect, and insisted that preparations are underway to make sure “that the person who is sworn in on inaugural day sees it as a great day.”

Speaking on “This Week,” Mr. Blunt praised Mr. Biden for his speech on Saturday night, but the senator insisted that the election is not over because of the legal challenges that are still pending.

“I thought Vice President Biden did a great job last night talking about where the country wants to head,” Mr. Blunt said. “And one way to do that is to finish this election the way it deserves to be finished.”

Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican and a friend of Mr. Trump’s, said on ABC that his party’s reluctance to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory was a result of the president’s behavior.

Mr. Christie urged Republicans to embrace the message he had delivered to Mr. Trump: “If your basis for not conceding is that there was voter fraud, then show us. Show us. Because if you can’t show us, we can’t do this. We can’t back you blindly without evidence.”

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. unveiled his official transition website on Sunday as he prepared to unleash a series of executive actions on his first day in the Oval Office aimed at unwinding President Trump’s domestic agenda and signaling a wholesale shift in the United States’ place in the world.

On the website,, Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris pledged to be ready on Day 1 to tackle four main priorities for the new, Democratic administration after four years of Mr. Trump’s rule: Covid-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change.

“A Biden-Harris administration, propelled by the foundation laid by the transition, will lead a just and equitable recovery that rebuilds a strong, inclusive middle class and builds an economy for the future,” they said on the website.

In the first hours after he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, Mr. Biden has said, he will send a letter to the United Nations indicating that the country will rejoin the global effort to combat climate change, reversing Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord with more than 174 countries.

He has also vowed that on Day 1 he will move rapidly to confront the coronavirus pandemic by appointing a “national supply chain commander” and establishing a “pandemic testing board,” similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime production panel. He has said he will restore the rights of government workers to unionize. He has promised to order a new fight against homelessness and resettle more refugees who are fleeing war. He has pledged to abandon Mr. Trump’s travel ban on mostly Muslim countries and to begin calling foreign leaders in an attempt to restore trust among the United States’ closest allies.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Biden repeatedly said that he was campaigning as a Democrat but would govern “as an American.” But he and members of his party are eager to systematically erase what they view as destructive policies that the president pursued on the environment, immigration, health care, gay rights, trade, tax cuts, civil rights, abortion, race relations, military spending and more.

Some of that will require cooperation with Congress, which may remain divided next year. But Mr. Biden may be able to achieve some of his goals with nothing more than the stroke of a pen.

He has signaled that his top priority will be demonstrating a much more muscular federal approach to the pandemic than Mr. Trump’s leave-it-to-the-states strategy.

Aides said he would use the power of his office to invoke the Defense Production Act — the Korean War-era law that allows the president to order businesses to manufacture products necessary for national defense — to build up supplies more aggressively than Mr. Trump had. He has also said that he will require masks on all federal property and on “all interstate transportation.”

The president-elect has also repeatedly derided Mr. Trump’s lack of ethical standards, accusing him of waging an extensive assault on Washington’s norms and traditions. Mr. Biden’s response to that will probably take the form of an ethics pledge to impose tough new requirements on the people who serve in his government.

Mr. Biden has also made it clear that he will immediately begin using the levers of executive authority to re-establish former President Barack Obama’s regime of environmental regulations that Mr. Trump systematically shredded during his tenure.


A day after the presidential race was called for Joseph R. Biden Jr., it was clear that the deep divisions within the Democratic Party would continue to play out even before the new administration takes office.

The tensions were encapsulated on the ABC program “This Week” in an exchange between former Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a centrist Democrat, and Yvette Simpson, the chief executive of the liberal group Democracy for America.

“They get concerned when they see radical ideas being introduced to completely upend the energy system,” Ms. Heitkamp said of conservative Democrats in her state. “There is a place that you can go in solving these problems that speaks to all sides and does not radicalize important issues in this country.”

Ms. Simpson took issue with Ms. Heitkamp’s description of left-wing environmental policies as “radical,” calling it “a Republican talking point.”

“You just called the base of the Democratic Party, progressives, ‘radical,’” she said. “If parts of our party, when we bring home the bacon as we did just yesterday, call us ‘radical’ like Republicans did, that’s not the starting place of a good family conversation.”

This conflict over what the Democratic base wants, and which policies helped or hurt Democrats electorally, spilled into the open this week in a postelection call among House Democrats, in which moderate caucus members like Representative Abigail Spanberger of Virginia blamed “socialism” and progressive ideas like defunding the police for the party’s losses in swing districts.

Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking Black Democrat in Congress, said on Sunday that slogans like “defund the police” provided fodder to opponents and pointed to his work in the civil rights movement as proof.

“Months ago, I came out very publicly and very forcefully against sloganeering,” Mr. Clyburn said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “John Lewis and I were founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. John and I sat on the House floor and talked about that ‘defund the police’ slogan, and both of us concluded that it had the possibility to do to the Black Lives Matter movement and current movements across the country what ‘burn baby, burn’ did to us back in 1960.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a leader of the young, progressive wing of the Democratic Party, criticized that sort of argument on CNN after doing the same in an in-depth interview with The New York Times.

“It is not to deny that Republicans led very effective rhetorical attacks against our party — that I believe is absolutely true — but I think one of the things that’s very important is to realize that very effective Republican attacks are going to happen every cycle,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said. “And so the question is, how do we defend ourselves against that?”

Progressives “have assets to offer the party that the party has not yet fully leaned into or exploited,” she added. “When we come out swinging not 48 hours after Tuesday, and we don’t even have solid data yet, pointing fingers and telling each other what to do, it deepens the division in the party. And it’s irresponsible.”

Credit…Pool photo by Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, a staunch ally of President Trump’s who had a chilly relationship with former President Barack Obama, congratulated Joseph R. Biden Jr. early Sunday, despite Mr. Trump’s insistence that the U.S. election was not over.

“Joe, we’ve had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a tweet, which he followed up with one thanking Mr. Trump for his friendship.

The Israeli leader’s remarks to the Biden camp joined a flood of best wishes from other heads of state, indicating that the international sphere, including even some of Mr. Trump’s allies, was putting little stock in the president’s hopes that courtroom maneuvering would overturn the results.

In some countries where relations with the United States were frayed during the Trump administration, the relief at Mr. Biden’s triumph was almost palpable. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, hailing his country’s traditional friendship with the United States, said, “I’m really looking forward to working together.” President Emmanuel Macron of France said: “We have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together!” Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany declared, “Our trans-Atlantic friendship is irreplaceable, if we want to overcome the great challenges of our time.”

Less clear was China’s reaction. Chinese state-run news media reacted with cautious optimism that Mr. Biden would stabilize the fast-deteriorating relations between Beijing and Washington, but many outlets also continued to warn of future tensions between the superpowers and to suggest that American democracy was in decline. President Xi Jinping has not yet commented.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, encouraged Mr. Biden to “compensate for past mistakes” and return to the 2015 nuclear agreement that Mr. Trump had abandoned, according to state media.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr. Biden and tweeted a separate message to Ms. Harris, the daughter of a woman from India, who will become the first woman and first woman of color to serve as vice president.

“Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans,” Mr. Modi wrote, using a Tamil word for aunts that Ms. Harris used in her speech at the Democratic National Convention in August.

Other reaction poured in from Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Mideast. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, who recently won re-election, congratulated Mr. Biden and welcomed his cooperative spirit.

“There are many challenges in front of the international community right now,” she said. “The message of unity from Joe Biden positions us well to take those challenges on.”

World leaders yet to weigh in include President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

On a January evening in 2019, Joseph R. Biden Jr. placed a call to the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, a personal friend and political ally who had just announced he would not pursue the Democratic nomination for president.

During their conversation, Mr. Garcetti recalled, Mr. Biden did not exactly say he had decided to mount his own campaign. The former vice president confided that if he did run, he expected President Trump to “come after my family” in an “ugly” election.

But Mr. Biden also said he felt pulled by a sense of moral duty.

“He said, back then, ‘I really am concerned about the soul of this country,’” Mr. Garcetti said.

Twenty-one months and a week later, Mr. Biden stands triumphant in a campaign he waged on just those terms: as a patriotic crusade to reclaim the American government from a president he considered a poisonous figure. The language he used in that call with Mr. Garcetti became the watchwords of a candidacy designed to marshal a broad coalition of voters against Mr. Trump and his reactionary politics.

It was not the most inspirational campaign in recent times, nor the most daring, nor the most agile. The personality cult that had built up around Mr. Trump was absent: There were no prominent reports of Biden supporters branding themselves with “Joe” tattoos and lionizing him in florid murals — or even holding boat parades in his honor. Mr. Biden campaigned as a sober and conventional presence, rather than as an uplifting herald of change. For much of the general election, his candidacy was not an exercise in vigorous creativity, but rather a case study in discipline and restraint.

In the end, voters did what Mr. Biden asked of them and not much more: They repudiated Mr. Trump, while offering few other rewards to Mr. Biden’s party. And by a popular vote margin of four million and counting, Americans made Mr. Biden only the third man since the Second World War to topple a duly elected president after just one term.

Credit…Zach Gibson/The New York Times

In late July 2011, with a Treasury default only a few days away and Congress flailing, Senator Mitch McConnell received a phone call on a Saturday from Joseph R. Biden Jr., then the vice president.

“I think it’s time we talk,” Mr. Biden told Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who was then the minority leader.

That opening, recounted by Mr. McConnell in his memoir, “The Long Game,” initiated the second in a series of one-on-one negotiations that produced agreements that rescued the government from imminent fiscal disaster while drawing mixed reviews from fellow Democrats.

President-elect Biden could be making a lot more of those phone calls in the years ahead.

Unless Democrats pick off two Senate seats in Georgia to be decided in runoff elections on Jan. 5, Mr. Biden will have to navigate a Senate narrowly controlled by Mr. McConnell. The two men have personal ties: Mr. Biden has a track record of working with the Senate leader to strike deals, and the Kentuckian has described Mr. Biden not only as someone he liked but also as a man of his word who understands how congressional negotiations work.

“There’s a reason ‘Get Joe on the phone’ is shorthand for ‘time to get serious’ in my office.” Mr. McConnell said in 2016.

Rohit Kumar, who once served as deputy chief of staff to Mr. McConnell, sat in on the three Biden-McConnell negotiations from 2010 to 2013. “My memory is that they actually get along reasonably well,” he said. “It helps that they speak the same language. They are senators.”

Much has changed in the Senate in the four years since Mr. Biden left public office, and even more in the decade since he left the chamber, where relations between the two parties are now hostile and Mr. McConnell has abandoned legislation in single-minded pursuit of the confirmation of conservative judges. When Mr. Biden suggested during the campaign that he could work with his old friend Mitch, many Democratic senators scoffed. And by Sunday afternoon, 24 hours after Mr. Biden had been declared the victor, Mr. McConnell still had yet to issue a statement congratulating the president-elect.

Mr. Biden’s allies say he is far from naïve about the state of the Senate and Mr. McConnell’s track record. But colleagues say he is not the sort to surrender before the battle begins.

For now, Mr. McConnell is not talking, declining interviews during a delicate period when President Trump is resisting the election results and control of the Senate remains unclear.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. waited a long time to give the speech he delivered in Delaware on Saturday night. Not just the five days since Election Day but arguably the 48 years since he was first elected to the Senate, during which he ran for president three times. And at age 77, as Mr. Biden came trotting up the runway to an explosion of car horns and cheers, beaming and looking almost surprised by the ovation, it was clear that his moment had arrived.

The president-elect invoked his own spirituality and shared credit for the moment with his supporters and the people around him.

He quoted from a hymn, “On Eagle’s Wings.” He thanked his supporters: “I owe you, I owe you, I owe you everything.” He warmly praised Kamala Harris, his running mate, and celebrated the fact that she would be the first woman, let alone woman of color, to serve as vice president: “It’s long overdue, and we’re reminded tonight of all those who fought so hard, for so many years to make this happen.”

In every passage in his speech, the contrast between Mr. Biden and President Trump was bracing and notable.

Mr. Trump defined the tone of his presidency at his inauguration, with a dark speech in which he notably did not reach out beyond his base of supporters. The strategy had lifted him to a narrow victory in 2016 in the Electoral College (he lost the popular vote) and he sought to reprise it in his losing campaign this year.

Mr. Biden aggressively moved in the other direction.

“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify — who doesn’t see red and blue states, but a United States,” he said on Saturday. “And who will work with all my heart to win the confidence of the whole people.”

To some extent, that reflects what Mr. Biden said during the campaign, but the approach will take on a new urgency as he becomes president.

There were many other notable passages in Mr. Biden’s speech, but one stood out. “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now,” he said.

And even as the nation faces one of the darkest periods in its history — a deadly pandemic, economic decline, political polarization — Mr. Biden was relentlessly optimistic, even cheerful. “We can do it,” he said. “I know we can.”

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

PITTSBURGH — Like many Trump supporters, Dennis Tippie watched the steady tallying of votes that wiped away the president’s early lead in Pennsylvania, not with a faith that democracy was playing out but with dark and rising anger.

“If he does end up with that number of electoral votes,’’ he said of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is on his way to the White House thanks to Pennsylvania on Friday, “he would have gained them through fraud, deception and simple criminality.’’

No evidence exists of fraud, deception or criminality in the tallying of absentee ballots that piled up during the worst health crisis to hit the nation in a century. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature refused to allow those ballots to be processed as they came in, compounding the delays until the race was called on Saturday.

But Mr. Tippie, a retired truck driver who imbibed the president’s words partly through Fox News, agreed with Mr. Trump and his surrogates that the election was being stolen before their eyes. He lives in Nanty Glo, Pa., in the interior of the state that the so-called elites in Philadelphia sometimes call “Pennsyltucky.” To Mr. Tippie, Mr. Biden is “a total fool,” his running mate, Kamala Harris, is “a very scary woman,” and a Biden presidency would be both illegitimate and disastrous.

While Mr. Biden pulled off major successes in flipping Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania back to Democrats, and achieved the rare ouster of an incumbent, he did not notch the landslide demolishment of Mr. Trump that many Democrats had yearned for, despite leading in the popular vote by more than four million.

Instead, Mr. Biden will inherit a country where many Americans are already backed into mutually hostile corners. It threatens the president-elect’s most basic campaign pledge: to unite Americans, to move past divisiveness as a governing strategy, to heal the “soul of the nation.”

“I think we’re a long way from unifying the country, and I’m sure that Trump will continue to work on dividing us,” said Catherine Lalonde, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party in Butler County, a blue-collar region in western Pennsylvania.

“I don’t believe his supporters will accept Biden’s win and wouldn’t even if it were a larger margin,” she added. “I have a feeling that all the Trump flags and signs will stay put until they disintegrate.”







Kamala Harris’s History of Firsts

A senator from California and a former prosecutor, Ms. Harris has a track record in breaking new ground. Now, she is the first woman, first Black person, and first person of Asian descent elected to the country’s second-highest office.

A barrier-breaking prosecutor with a love for grilling — “Question, I will repeat —” — and music — ♫ “One nation under a groove —” ♫ California Senator Kamala Harris is making history as the first woman, and first woman of color, elected vice president. “Let’s talk about who is prepared to lead our country over the course of the next four years.” She ran for president, going head-to-head with Biden over school busing. “You know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.” But she later endorsed him, and he picked her as his running mate. And soon they will be entering the White House together. “I am incredibly honored by this responsibility, and I am ready to get to work.” Haris has a track record of being the first. “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.” She was the first black person and first woman to become district attorney of San Francisco, and later attorney general of California. “I decided to become a prosecutor because I believed that there were vulnerable and voiceless people who deserved to have a voice in that system.” And in 2016, she was elected the first Black senator from California. And now she will be the first woman, first Black person and first person of Asian descent elected to the country’s second-highest office. So what is she known for in Washington? “So my question to you —” As a senator, Harris served on four committees, and was perhaps best known for her tough questions. “It makes me nervous.” “Is that a no?” “Is that a yes?” “Can I get to respond please, ma’am?” “No, sir. No, no.” And some of her policy priorities? Criminal justice reform and racial justice legislation. “Racial justice is on the ballot in 2020.” After George Floyd’s killing in police custody, Harris became an outspoken voice in the national debate on police brutality. “We should have things like a national standard for excessive use of force.” And on the campaign trail, she doubled down on that message, making a concerted effort to reach voters of color. “People have been asking, ‘Why should I vote?’ One: Honor the ancestors. Honor people like the late, great John Lewis, who shed his blood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge so we could vote.” But she’s faced criticism from progressive activists over her record as a prosecutor, including her push for higher cash bails for certain crimes, and for refusing to support independent investigations for police shootings as recently as 2014. So what does she bring to the White House? “This is our house!” She is policy-oriented and pragmatic. Proponents say that her experience in law enforcement will help her face the unique challenges of the moment and that her lack of ideological rigidity makes her well suited for the vice presidency. “We can overcome these challenges.” Harris embodies the future of a country that is growing more racially diverse. As one of the best-known Black women in American politics, Harris now finds herself the most clearly positioned heir to the White House, with the oldest incoming president in history.

A senator from California and a former prosecutor, Ms. Harris has a track record in breaking new ground. Now, she is the first woman, first Black person, and first person of Asian descent elected to the country’s second-highest office.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Kamala Harris, a senator from California and former presidential candidate, made history when she was elected vice president of the United States.

Her victory represents a handful of firsts: She will be the first woman, the first Black woman, the first Indian-American woman and the first daughter of immigrants to be sworn in as vice president.

It also marks a milestone for a nation in upheaval, grappling with a long history of racial injustice. Over the course of her campaign, Ms. Harris has faced both racist and sexist attacks from conservatives — including President Trump — who have refused to pronounce her name correctly.

The daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Ms. Harris, 56, embodies the future of a country that is growing more racially diverse every year — even if the person whom voters picked for the top of the ticket is a 77-year-old white man. She brought to the race a more vigorous campaign style than that of the president-elect, Joseph R. Biden Jr., including a gift for capturing moments of raw political electricity on the debate stage and elsewhere.

A former San Francisco district attorney, Ms. Harris was elected as the first Black woman to serve as California’s attorney general. When she was elected a U.S. senator in 2016, she became only the second Black woman in the chamber’s history. Almost immediately, she made a name for herself in Washington with her withering prosecutorial style in Senate hearings.

Beginning her presidential candidacy with homages to Shirley Chisholm, Ms. Harris was seen as a potential front-runner for the Democratic nomination, but she left the race weeks before any votes were cast. Part of her challenge, especially with the party’s progressive wing, was the difficulty she had reconciling stances she had taken as California’s attorney general with the current mores of her party.

As the vice-presidential nominee, Ms. Harris has endeavored to make plain that she supports Mr. Biden’s positions — even if some differ from those she backed during the primary.

And although she struggled to attract the very Black voters and women she had hoped would connect with her personal story during her primary bid, she made a concerted effort as Mr. Biden’s running mate to reach out to people of color, some of whom have said they felt represented in national politics for the first time.

Credit…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

Progressives think President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s policies do not go far enough. President Trump has called Mr. Biden a Trojan horse for the radical left. Here is where he actually stands on several key issues: the coronavirus, health care, the economy, taxes and climate change.


Mr. Biden’s plans to combat the pandemic include improved testing, expanded production of personal protective equipment, safe vaccine development and the safe reopening of schools. He has vowed to do “whatever it takes,” including lockdowns if scientists recommend them. He has also said he will ask governors to institute a mask mandate in their states; if they refuse, he will work with local officials to get mandates in place.

Health Care

Mr. Biden supports expanding the Affordable Care Act and creating a public option. He has denounced Republican efforts to overturn the health care law, and vowed that Americans with pre-existing conditions will continue to have access to health care. He does not support the single-payer proposal known as “Medicare for all.” He has endorsed lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 from 65.


Mr. Biden’s economic recovery plan promises to create millions of jobs. He has tied the economic revival to tackling climate change, racial equity and reinvestment in American manufacturing. Among his proposals are a $300 billion increase in government spending on research and development of technologies, like electric vehicles and 5G cellular networks.


Mr. Biden would partially repeal the Trump tax overhaul, rolling back tax cuts for corporations and the highest earners. He has proposed increasing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, from 21 percent. But he would keep tax cuts in place for other households, including those in the middle class, and he has promised that no one making under $400,000 will pay higher taxes.

Climate Change

Mr. Biden would spend $2 trillion to develop clean energy and eliminate emissions from the power sector by 2035. But he has declined to support the Green New Deal, a plan embraced by progressive groups. Although Mr. Trump has accused Mr. Biden of wanting to “ban fracking,” Mr. Biden has repeatedly said he will not do so. He has proposed ending the permitting of new fracking on federal lands, but not a national ban.

Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

MARIETTA, Ga. — It took a lifetime for Angie Jones to become a Democrat.

As a young woman, she was the proud daughter of a conservative family that was active in Republican Party politics. Ten years ago, after a friend’s son came out as gay, Ms. Jones became an independent, though one who still watched Fox News. After the 2016 election, Ms. Jones, a stay-at-home mother in Johns Creek, a pristine wealthy suburb north of downtown Atlanta, became frustrated with seeing her conservative friends defend President Trump through scandal after scandal.

And this year, she voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr., after spending months phone banking, canvassing and organizing for Democratic candidates with a group of suburban women across Atlanta.

“I feel like the Republican Party left me,” Ms. Jones, 54, said. “It very much created an existential crisis for me.”

This week, the political evolution of voters like Ms. Jones drove Georgia to a breakthrough for Democrats: Mr. Biden, the president-elect, is on the verge of adding the state to his winning electoral margin, with a narrow lead that is headed for a recount but is nevertheless a drastic sign of the shifting politics in the South.

And two Democratic candidates, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, forced runoff elections on Jan. 5 that are expected to decide control of the Senate, and thus the fate of Mr. Biden’s agenda. With the November election barely over, the nation’s political focus will now turn to Georgia as much as the presidential transition in Washington, as both parties pour money and resources into what may be an epic, double-feature political battle, in a state that was considered safe Republican territory just a decade ago.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

President Trump’s already daunting odds for a change in the election result appeared to be dimming even further in key states in the ongoing vote counting on Saturday.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s 37,000-vote lead over Mr. Trump in Pennsylvania was just outside the state’s 0.5 percent-margin threshold for automatic recounts, and Mr. Biden’s team expected that number to grow by tens of thousands of votes before the state’s results are certified.

Pennsylvania election officials can force recounts with higher margins if they believe there have been sufficient irregularities, but even state Republican leaders have said they have not seen any evidence of widespread problems as of yet. A minimum number of three voters can request recounts in individual counties. Even if Pennsylvania or individual counties were to conduct recounts, Mr. Trump would have a huge deficit in the vote count to surmount.

In Arizona, though Mr. Biden’s edge over Mr. Trump tightened to just over 21,000 votes by Saturday afternoon, it was still greater than the 0.1 percent margin that triggers an automatic recount there.

In Nevada, any candidate can request a recount and must do so by Wednesday. But that candidate must pay for the process, and Mr. Trump would likely find it to be a poor investment: His deficit was in the 26,000-vote range with 97 percent of precincts reporting. There were more outstanding votes in blue counties than red ones, and recounts rarely if ever generate thousands of new votes for a losing candidate.

The one state where an automatic recount seemed almost certain was in Georgia. As of Saturday morning, Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump there by more than 7,000 votes.

Gabriel Sterling, an official with the secretary of state’s office, said that a pool of about 4,200 ballots, most of them absentee, remained to be tallied in four counties: Floyd, Cobb, Cherokee and Gwinnett, where the largest tranche is to be counted and which contains Atlanta suburban communities that have gone from leaning Republican to leaning Democratic in recent years.

The state must also deal with ballots from military and overseas voters, which will be counted if they arrived in the mail before the end of business on Friday and were postmarked by Tuesday. Mr. Sterling said that the unofficial tally of the votes could be completed by the end of the weekend.

Overall, in the 31 statewide recounts held in the United States since 2000, the average change in the number of votes was 430, or 0.024 percent of the entire vote, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Fair Vote.

But even if Mr. Trump were to ultimately win the state and snatch victory away from Mr. Biden in Arizona and Nevada, he would still fall well short of what he would need to claim the presidency in the Electoral College.

Credit…Tingshu Wang/Reuters

HONG KONG — China’s state news media reacted with cautious optimism to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the United States’ presidential election, expressing hope that he would stabilize the fast-deteriorating relations between the two countries.

But many outlets also continued to warn of future tensions between the superpowers, and to suggest that American democracy was in decline.

Under President Trump, trust and cooperation between the United States and China ebbed to their lowest levels in recent history, as a trade war raged and officials on both sides hurled recriminations about espionage, protest movements and the coronavirus pandemic. China’s state-controlled news outlets had criticized Mr. Trump and the United States increasingly stridently in recent months.

But the immediate reaction to Mr. Biden’s victory on Sunday was measured, indicating that China was willing to attempt, and indeed was eager for, a thaw.

“The outcome could usher in a ‘buffering period’ for already-tense China-U.S. relations, and offer an opportunity for breakthroughs in resuming high-level communication and rebuilding mutual strategic trust,” Global Times, a fiercely nationalistic tabloid, wrote in an article, citing Chinese experts.

The article suggested that the two countries could work together on combating climate change, containing the coronavirus and developing vaccines, noting that Mr. Biden would be “more moderate and mature” on foreign affairs.

The response echoed much of the rest of the world, where many world leaders breathed sighs of relief at the election’s outcome. The president-elect has promised a restoration of normalcy and a renewed commitment to multilateralism.

Global Times noted that relief in a tweet, writing that the leaders of Canada, Britain, France, India and Germany had already congratulated Mr. Biden. “The Trump era is seeming over,” it said.

But even as Chinese propaganda signaled a new phase in U.S.-China relations, it also continued to push a narrative of American decline — a constant refrain in recent months as an increasingly wealthy and confident China has tried to market itself to the rest of the world as a viable alternative for global leadership.

Credit…Erik Branch for The New York Times

As President Trump refused to concede defeat on Saturday, top Republican congressional leaders followed suit, refraining from releasing the customary statements congratulating the victor that have been standard among senior lawmakers in both parties when a presidential election has been declared.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader and Republican of Kentucky, declined on Saturday to acknowledge Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, with an aide instead pointing reporters to a generic “count all the votes” statement that Mr. McConnell released on Friday before the results were known.

In that statement, released on Twitter as Mr. Trump preemptively contested the outcome of the election, Mr. McConnell had outlined “how this must work in our great country.” “Every legal vote should be counted,” he said. “Any illegally-submitted ballots must not. All sides must get to observe the process. And the courts are here to apply the laws & resolve disputes.”

“That’s how Americans’ votes decide the result,” he said.

“The election isn’t over until all legal votes are counted and certified,” Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-ranking Republican, said on Twitter. “There are still serious legal challenges that have been made, and until that process is resolved, the election is not final. The American people deserve a fair and transparent process.”

The reactions suggested that Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have spent four years clinging tightly to Mr. Trump or at least have avoided publicly countering him for fear of provoking an angry tweet, were sticking to those approaches even after his loss.

In the weeks leading up to the election, as Mr. Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, some Republicans including Mr. McConnell gently pushed back without directly rebuking the president, making it clear that if he were to lose, they expected him to abide by the results. “The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” Mr. McConnell said then. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”

But Mr. Trump’s reluctance to accept his defeat, and his angry, and false, insistence on Saturday that he had in fact won raised questions about whether any senior Republican would be willing to contradict him.

Only a handful of rank-and-file Republicans, including some who are not likely to face voters again, offered their good wishes for Mr. Biden.

Credit…John Amis/Associated Press

As the dust settles from the presidential race, the eyes of the political world have already shifted to Georgia, where two runoff elections set for early January will almost certainly determine which party has control of the Senate.

The outcome of the contests, which will play out two weeks before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration, will either swing the majority to Democrats, handing the new president broad power to carry out his policy agenda and push through nominations as he sees fit, or leave Republicans in charge, allowing them to influence his plans.

In the weeks ahead, tens of millions of dollars in campaign cash are expected to pour into the state to fund a marathon of political advertising, while party leaders and interest groups on both sides train their attention on the races.

Click here to read more about how it will work.

Credit…Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

President Trump and his allies continued to raise baseless claims of fraud and irregularities in the election as they pushed ahead on Sunday with an aggressive fund-raising, media and legal campaign, which proceeded with no apparent recognition of his successor’s efforts to start planning a smooth transition.

From midnight until noon — after President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s victory speech on Saturday night — the Trump campaign sent out a flurry of solicitations to supporters asking for money to fund its legal battles. The emails went out at the rate of almost one every hour, reflecting the growing desperation among the president and his close aides and associates as they refuse to concede defeat.

The emails contained the same bellicose language and unsubstantiated charges that the president has used, and called on Trump supporters to come to his defense. “We need YOU to step up,” one email demanded.

The occasional digital message remained the only way the president has communicated with the public since news organizations called the race for Mr. Biden on Saturday morning. And he continued to get pushback on his preferred medium, Twitter, which flagged several of his messages on Sunday as factually disputed. One of Mr. Trump’s tweet cited Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally who was the former Republican speaker of the House, as saying of Democrats, “These people are thieves.”