Biden elected president

After three gruelling days of vote-counting, Joe Biden has been elected the 46th President of the United States of America.

Wisconsin and Michigan flipped blue Wednesday, making it clear which way the wind was blowing after President Donald Trump's big early win in Florida. But it wasn't until Friday morning that Pennsylvania finally slipped out of Trump's short-fingered grasp, leaving him no path to victory.

Biden has also edged Trump in Georgia's count, but with such a razor-thin margin that no-one's calling it. Arizona and Nevada remain toss-ups as of 8:50 a.m. eastern time.

All told, Biden is about 5% ahead in the popular vote, a solid margin reflecting a likely 300+ win in the Electoral College.

But it was also clear, from the close of voting, that Trump had sharply outperformed opinion polls. Early returns—and the New York Times' election needles—suggested a close race for much of Tuesday evening, disheartening Biden supporters who hoped for a landslide.

The weakness of Trump's nationwide position emerged, nonetheless, as the night wore on. By the early hours of Wednesday he was falsely claiming that the election had been "stolen". Maudlin insinuations about mail-in votes billowed into an all-caps rage. By Thursday, Trump was demanding an immediate stop to the count, seemingly unaware that Biden was, at that moment, already ahead.

The president's tweets, many flagged as misleading by Twitter, expanded upon an earlier election-night speech lamenting his impending defeat and signaling his hopes that the Supreme Court would somehow intervene in his favor.

Trump's party has already launched a barrage of legal efforts to challenge the results, with no significant successes yet.

A concession seems out of the question, even if Biden secures the remaining states and puts the electoral college decisively to bed.

But the election wasn't all good news for the Dems. In the U.S. Senate, the hoped-for Blue Wave failed to materialize and Democratic Party hopes of taking control there now hinge on January runoffs in Georgia.

Downticket was even worse: Republicans recovered some of the seats they lost in 2018, if not enough to retake the House.

The count continues, with millions of votes still to be scanned nationwide. Some commentators have even begun walking back earlier suggestions that opinion pollsters were off by larger margins than in 2016. Those that forecast a Biden blowout still have much to answer for.

As of Friday morning, about 150m ballots were tallied with perhaps another 15m still to go. Biden leads Trump 51% to 48%, representing a 4 million vote advantage, with that margin expected to widen sharply as California, the slowest counters in America, piles in the Blue tickets. With at least 74m votes, Biden's haul is the largest in U.S. history.