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Suzanne Lynch’s US Election Diary: Disappointing night for Democrats as Trump falsely declares victory

Biden’s hope for a blue wave across the sunbelt failed to materialise

Anyone hoping to wake up to a post-Trump world, or even a conclusive election result, will be disappointed this morning.

In keeping with the head-spinning events of the past four years, the US presidential election has gone down to the wire. As I write, Trump has outperformed expectations, winning the key state of Florida, as well as Ohio and Texas.

Georgia and North Carolina are too close to call, but the latter in particular is leaning towards Trump. Democrats' hope for a blue wave across the sunbelt failed to materialise, although Joe Biden has won Arizona – an important victory.

In effect it has now come back to the trio of rustbelt states that helped deliver Donald Trump victory in 2016 – Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Counting is still continuing in these states, and in Pennsylvania in particular, a final vote may not be known for days.


Meanwhile Donald Trump has made good on his promise to claim an early victory. Arriving to the East Room of the White House to the strains of "Hail to the Chief," in the early hours of this morning, Mr Trump declared: "Millions of people voted for us tonight, and a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people, and we won't stand for it."

It was an extraordinary moment as he declared: “We were getting ready to win this election . . . frankly we did win this election.” He continued: “We’ll be going to the US supreme court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o clock in the morning and add them to the list. We will win this and as far as I’m concerned, we already have won it.”

It follows a defiant tweet by the president that was subsequently censored by Twitter, accusing Democrats of stealing the election.  “Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!” he said, apparently inadvertently involving the Polish people in America’s political drama.

In contrast, Joe Biden urged patience. “It ain’t over until every vote, every ballot is counted,” he told supporters in a short speech in Delaware. But he added: “We’re on track to win this election.”

The closeness of the race means that a final result could be days or even weeks away.

America is facing the vista of a protracted legal fight over the simple question of which votes can be counted, and a president who is questioning the result of the election before all the ballots have been tabulated. Another chapter in the extraordinary tale of the Trump presidency begins.

Quote of the day  

“Too close to call”

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I have a full analysis of the events of the last 12 hours, arguing it was a bad night for Democrats, whatever the final outcome of the presidential race.

Democrats' hope of winning control of the Senate seemed to be fading, after several Republican incumbents staved off challenges, including Iowa's Joni Ernst, South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and North Carolina's Thom Tillis, who declared victory, though a result has not yet been announced.

For a quick update on how things unfolded on Election Night, I joined Hugh Linehan this morning on the Irish Times Inside Politics podcast.

Our Irish Times live blog is continuing with the latest from the US and results trickle-in.

* Sign up to get Suzanne Lynch's US Election Diary by email every weekday morning of the campaign here.