Nov 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign: "Under no scenario" will Trump be declared winner on election night

Joe Biden

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is preparing for a long election night and is warning the country — and the media — to ignore any victory declaration from President Trump before all the ballots are counted.

Why it matters: Trump has told confidants that he will prematurely declare victory on election night if he looks like he’s "ahead," even if crucial states haven't finished counting. “Under no scenario will Donald Trump be declared a victor on election night,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a briefing Monday.

The big picture: The Biden campaign has focused its efforts on convincing its supporters to either vote by mail or vote early in person.

  • On Monday, the campaign made the case that Biden has three pathways to 270 electoral votes, with the easiest route running through Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
  • The campaign also argued that the early numbers show that they have banked enough votes to make a Trump victory difficult to achieve on Election Day.
  • The campaign believes Trump will need 61% of the vote on Election Day to win in Wisconsin, and 62% in North Carolina, O’Malley Dillon said.
  • In Arizona, she put the figure at 60% to overcome the votes the Biden camp thinks the former vice president has already won.

What to watch: Biden officials are also preparing to protect voters from intimidation on Election Day, while bracing for legal challenges after the polls close.

  • "Voter intimidation is illegal and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel and Biden adviser.
  • But the campaign expects Trump's attorneys to file lawsuits and plans to meet them in court. “[W]e're going to match them, I assure you, and exceed them in quality and vigor. And we will protect the vote,” Bauer said.

The bottom line: The Biden campaign isn't ruling out declaring victory for themselves tomorrow. "My expectation is that the vice president will address the American people, probably late," O'Malley Dillon said.

Go deeper