Newsletter: Today’s Headlines: Biden leads as the count goes on


With the final battleground states aiming to finish their counts, Joe Biden has a big lead in the total vote — and the edge in electoral college votes.


Biden Leads as the Count Goes On

Joe Biden has moved closer to claiming the White House, winning two key states Wednesday and sounding a note of unity as President Trump continued to press his false assertion that the election was being stolen.

After first Wisconsin and then Michigan tipped his way, Biden spoke of a historic mandate — the largest popular vote ever — and ignored the chaos Trump has sought to unleash with a flurry of lawsuits and angry tweets.


Joined onstage by his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden pledged to “put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to one another.”

In an unprecedented attack on the power of citizens to choose their leader, Trump “claimed” several undecided states via tweet and joined lawsuits aimed at stopping vote counts in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan, even though it is standard procedure to tally ballots past election day.

Besides Pennsylvania, three other states remained too close to call: Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina. Alaska, where Trump held a large lead, also had yet to be called. That left Biden with 264 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. Trump had 214. (See our electoral college map here.)

The six electoral votes in Nevada could make Biden the nation’s 46th president; election officials there plan to update vote totals this morning.

Here is the latest.

Divided, and Yet United in Mood Swings

Americans turned out to vote in this year’s election as never before, and the result seemed only to deepen the trench dividing the two warring parties.

From Atlanta to Milwaukee to Phoenix, Biden gained ground in suburban areas, widening his party’s advantage among voters who have turned away from Trump. At the same time, Republicans succeeded in finding and turning out unprecedented numbers of voters in more conservative rural and exurban parts of the country.

If Biden does move into the White House, he is likely to be the first Democrat to do so without full control of Congress since the late 19th century.

Meanwhile, as the wait for results continues, the country has found itself united — in a kind of political whiplash. Such was the case for these five Americans, spread across the U.S., differing in age and race and political persuasion, but all enduring the same ride on the postelection emotional roller coaster.

More About the Presidential Election

— As Trump raged against the results, the upheaval some had feared on election day cropped up in tiny pockets around the country. In Detroit, hundreds swarmed a building where officials were counting absentee ballots and screamed, “Stop the count!” In Arizona, pro-Trump protesters chanted, “Count the votes!”

— Legal experts are casting doubt on Trump’s bid to involve the Supreme Court in election results, but the Trump campaign said it would continue its fight.

— A federal judge harshly criticized the U.S. Postal Service, saying the agency had failed to comply with his order to sweep postal facilities for leftover mail-in ballots in battleground states where election officials continue to count votes.

— Biden is likely to win the Latino vote in every state, but many commentators have wondered why so many, relatively speaking, voted for Trump. Democratic campaigns’ taking Latino voters for granted is a political cliche grounded in a repeatedly misunderstood reality.

In California, a Desire for Reform

California voters expressed an appetite for criminal justice reform, supporting a series of ambitious changes after a summer of mass protests sparked a painful reckoning around racial injustice and debate over the role of policing.

Results throughout the state have not been finalized. But on statewide ballot measures and in key local races, voters backed progressive candidates and policies that promised to hold police more accountable and shift taxpayer funding away from law enforcement and toward social services.

In Los Angeles County, former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón is holding a steady lead over incumbent Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey in a nationally watched race to lead the nation’s largest local prosecutor’s office, a contest that has centered on criminal justice reform. Voters there also passed a measure mandating that county officials spend more on jail diversion programs, mental health and housing.

In San Francisco, voters approved measures that will ramp up oversight of the local sheriff and undo a requirement that the city Police Department maintain a certain size.

But amid divisions among criminal justice reformers, voters rejected a statewide ballot measure to end cash bail. Still, the state’s highest court may have the final word on cash bail’s fate.

More About the Election in California

— In a rare bright spot for California’s beleaguered GOP, two Republican challengers are within striking distance of unseating two Orange County Democrats who were elected to Congress during the 2018 blue wave.

— State Sen. Holly Mitchell will be the next 2nd District supervisor on the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; for the first time in its history, the board will be all female.

— Why Proposition 16, a ballot measure to reinstate affirmative action, failed.

— Get the latest from across the state with our California election results page.


Harold E. Feinstein was an equal opportunity salesman. For years, his company, Aldine Publishing Co., sold bumper stickers and other promotional materials to political campaigns — sometimes competing ones. In 1964, the company printed up stacks of stickers for the presidential campaigns of Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater.

A 1964 Times article said the company would “print 25 million bumper stickers alone this year, about half the bumper crop of political bumper banners that printers all over the country will turn out.”

Harold E. Feinstein surrounded by stacks of Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson campaign materials.
September 1964: Harold E. Feinstein is surrounded by stacks of Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson presidential campaign materials at Aldine Publishing Co.'s warehouse.
(Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

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— As states throughout the country experience severe surges in coronavirus infections, California’s case count remains mild by comparison. But as transmission and hospitalizations again increase, officials are returning to a cautionary refrain.

— A rapist who terrorized Del Mar got 326 years in prison. But the law changed and now he’s up for parole.

Francisco Aguilar, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department who went missing in Mexico in August, was killed in Rosarito by kidnappers, Mexican authorities said.

High temperatures will sear Southern California today ahead of a sharp cooling trend over the weekend that will bring fall conditions.

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— The United States has formally left the Paris climate agreement. The move, long promised by Trump, further isolates the U.S. but has no immediate effect on international efforts to curb global warming.

— A nationwide push to relax drug laws took a significant step forward as five more states legalized marijuana for adults and voters made Oregon the first state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of street drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

Eta moved into Honduras as a weakened tropical depression but still brought the heavy rains that have drenched and caused deadly landslides in the country’s east and in northern Nicaragua.

Denmark’s prime minister said that the government wants to cull all 15 million minks in Danish farms to minimize the risk that they’ll re-transmit the new coronavirus to humans.


— A tale of two TV critics on election coverage: one on the nonstop flurry, the other on consciously decoupling from the news.

— Can music bring us unity? Osvaldo Golijov’s “Ayre” is what we need now, writes classical music critic Mark Swed.

— Well, one thing is certain: Kanye West will not be elected president this time. The rapper conceded defeat — and announced plans to run again in the future.


— Regardless of their political leanings, Americans were united on one front on election day: stress-eating, stress-drinking and stress-smoking to make it through the night. Businesses selling food, alcohol and weed reported a surge in orders.

— When things shut down in March, demand for alcoholic beverages shot up, but California’s small distillers frequently couldn’t get their products where they needed to be. Relaxed regulations have helped them stay afloat.


— The NBA‘s Board of Governors will hold a meeting today while players around the league continue discussions on what’s rapidly considered an inevitability — a Dec. 22 start to the 2020-21 season.

— The best quarterbacks in the Pac-12 will duel when USC opens the season against Arizona State.

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— Millions in California voted for Trump again. This is deeper than white grievance politics, columnist Erika D. Smith writes.

— America is a divided nation — and the presidential campaign only made the condition worse. This year, the legitimacy of our democracy was on the ballot, columnist Doyle McManus writes.


— “Why Bush v. Gore still matters in 2020.” (ProPublica)

Election officials in Pennsylvania try to tune out the noise. (Philadelphia Inquirer)


At its peak, Contempo Casuals was so on trend, the L.A.-based chain was name-dropped in 1995’s “Clueless.” Then it went to the great big mall in the sky. But the brand is back from the dead, resurrected by founder Wil Friedman and his grandson, Max Rubin. A new line of T-shirts called Contempo Tees draws from Friedman’s original sketches and advertisements — and a heavy dose of nostalgia.

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