Updated Nov 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden's mandate math

Data: 270toWin; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: 270toWin; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Despite the tight count in key states, Joe Biden matched the election results Trumpworld labeled a "mandate" in 2016.

The big picture: Biden's raw vote and Electoral College tally put him in noteworthy historical company.

The president-elect:

  • Received 75.7 million votes as of Monday, with counting still underway in vote-rich California. That's roughly six million more than the record 69.5 million votes Barack Obama received in 2008, and marks the second consecutive time a Democrat has beat Trump in the popular vote.
  • Will win 306 electoral college votes if he wins all the states where he's currently leading — matching Trump's 2016 tally over Hillary Clinton. "He just earned a mandate,” then-House Speaker Paul Ryan declared in November 2016.
  • Exceeded George W. Bush's electoral college vote totals in both the disputed 2000 election and his 2004 re-election win.
  • Surpassed John F. Kennedy's total in 1960, another election with allegations of vote fraud. In a nod to the country's population growth, Trump's losing total this year already exceeds the total popular vote cast for both Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960.

Don't forget: After Bush was declared winner of the 2000 election, Dick Cheney told him to ignore their close race and Supreme Court fight. The vice president recommended leading as if the voters had given them a mandate.

  • They went on to push a tax cut through a 50-50 Senate, launch post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and win a second term.
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