Newsletter: Today’s Headlines: Biden moves closer to the White House

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks Thursday in Wilmington, Del. Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris stands at left.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

As more and more ballots are counted, Joe Biden’s position to win the presidential election appears stronger.


Biden Moves Closer to the White House

Joe Biden has kept up a steady march toward the White House, gaining significant ground in two battleground states with enough electoral votes to settle his prolonged contest with President Trump, who keeps repeating his baseless assertions of fraud and Democratic cheating.


Biden took a slim lead in Georgia and narrowed the gap Pennsylvania as millions of ballots continued to be tabulated nationwide, despite a flurry of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign aimed at keeping election officials from completing their count.

Making a brief appearance in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., Biden urged patience as the election pushed through its second day of overtime.

“Each ballot must be counted,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to see going through now.… Democracy is sometimes messy. It sometimes requires a little patience as well.”

A subdued Trump responded hours later at the White House, where he renewed accusations of voter fraud without offering any evidence to back up his claim.

“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” he said. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”

Trump also seemed to be losing some of his unflinching Republican support. Several lawmakers castigated Trump for his comments challenging the legitimacy of the vote.

There was one bright spot Thursday for Trump: Arizona, where Biden’s lead fell to fewer than 50,000 votes after an updated count was announced. The Associated Press and other news organizations have called the state for Biden based on an analysis of returns that were tabulated and where the outstanding votes would come from.

Here is the latest, along with our electoral college map.

What Happened in the House?

After confidently predicting Democrats would expand their House majority, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is having to explain why it looks as if they will actually lose seats.

Democrats will keep the House majority, but Republicans have flipped seven Democratic House seats so far, mostly in districts Trump had carried in 2016 and then were won by Democrats in the 2018 midterm. Democrats have gained two GOP seats.

According to an estimate by election handicapper the Cook Political Report, Republicans could end up with a net gain of between five and 10 seats. More than three dozen races have yet to be called.

So, what happened? That’s where the blame game begins.

Missed It by That Much

One of the issues facing House Democrats was problematic pre-election polling. And with Biden running well behind poll-created expectations in states such as Florida and Texas, accusations of “collapse” and “disaster” peppered the nation’s pollsters. Trump added to the fusillade by accusing them of deliberately releasing false results to discourage his supporters from voting.

But as states have counted more results, the picture has shifted: Polls did underestimate Trump’s vote, but by a relatively small amount — less, for example, than they underestimated President Obama’s strength in 2012, when he ran for reelection.

And a pattern has emerged: Pollsters have had difficulty counting the blue-collar white voters who have been the president’s strongest supporters.

More About the Election

— Trump’s fruitless calls to “Stop the count” underscored a major problem for the president: He needs some states to keep counting ballots if he has any shot of winning reelection.

— As America waits, demonstrators are taking to the streets demanding for officials to count (or stop counting) the votes.

— Efforts by Trump and his supporters to sow doubt in the integrity of election results continue to pose challenges for Facebook and other social media companies.

— Across the nation, LGBTQ candidates achieved milestone victories, including the first transgender person being elected to a state Senate and the first openly gay Black men winning seats in Congress.

— What if there’s a recount in the presidential race? Here are the rules in the closest states.

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Over several days in 1961, flames burned through massive homes belonging to the rich and famous in what became known as the Bel Air/Brentwood fire. According to The Times, a construction crew noticed smoke coming from a trash heap on Nov. 6. Hot, dry Santa Ana winds whipped the flames into a raging fire that spread through wealthy neighborhoods.

The Times captured photographs of celebrities fleeing the area. Then-former Vice President Nixon and his wife had to evacuate. Actor Robert Taylor fled with his dog to Ronald Reagan’s residence. Burt Lancaster and Zsa Zsa Gabor lost their homes. Firefighters initially struggled to find enough water — too many residents had turned on sprinkler systems to protect their homes — but they had the fire under control within days. No lives were lost.

Nov. 6, 1961: Former Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat leave their rented home on Bundy Drive in Brentwood.
Nov. 6, 1961: Advancing flames force former Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat to leave their rented home on Bundy Drive in Brentwood. Before leaving, Nixon hosed down the roof.
(Los Angeles Times )

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— Get a head start on holiday shopping with The Times’ gift guides.

— Celebrate California architecture at the Craftsman Weekend. This year’s events have been moved online.

Fitness equipment is hard to find but not impossible to buy and sell during a pandemic.

— There’s still counting ahead. Here’s how to stop doomscollingeven for just a moment.


— Los Angeles County logged 2,065 new coronavirus infections Thursday, a single daily case count one health official said hasn’t been seen in the region for months.

— Four years ago, Alex Lee was student body president at UC Davis. This week, he overwhelmingly won a seat in the California Assembly, becoming the youngest state legislator to assume office in more than 80 years.

San Francisco voters have approved several tax measures targeting property owners and big businesses with CEOs who are paid far more than their average workers.

— Fake polling place or service to the community? In Orange County’s Little Saigon, questions swirl around a “ballot room.” Orange County authorities are investigating, but some in the community say it was intended to serve those who needed help with their ballots.

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— The coronavirus came for El Paso with spiking cases and hospitalizations. But borders can’t stop the virus, and neighboring Juarez, Mexico, is now facing the same crisis.

— A suburban St. Louis election official who worked at a polling place on election day despite a positive test for the coronavirus has died, raising concerns for the nearly 2,000 people who voted there.

— French President Emmanuel Macron said that France is reinforcing its border controls after a series of attacks that hit the country in recent weeks.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, a guerrilla leader during its war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s, resigned and will face charges for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special court based in The Hague.


— Mega music manager Irving Azoff is still feared and still fighting. At 72, he’ll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend.

— During the L.A. Times Festival of Books, these Black authors discussed Black Lives Matter, anti-racism and staying true to your writing.

— The masked and anonymous rock band the Network is back from a 17-year hiatus to stir the pot with its new single, “Ivankkka Is a Nazi.” The group is widely believed to be Green Day in luchador masks and wigs.

— Our reviewer says Max Winkler’s boxing road movie “Jungleland,” starring Charlie Hunnam, packs a punch.


Lyft President John Zimmer is extending an olive branch to his labor foes. After the company he co-founded notched a decisive victory on Proposition 22 in Tuesday’s election, he said he’s ready and willing to return to the California Capitol and work out a deal that allows the unions that opposed his campaign to represent workers in the industry.

ESPN is cutting 500 jobs amid pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic. Separately, Lionsgate, the studio behind franchises such as “John Wick,” said it is laying off 15% of staff in its film division.

— Biden or Trump? It seemed like a fairly straightforward choice to sports bettors before the election. Now it’s become a nail-biter.


— Since Terry Donahue retired in 1995 as the Pac-12’s winningest football coach, the Bruins have had five coaches, none of whom have been able to sustain that standard. As UCLA opens its season in Colorado, coach Chip Kelly will be facing off against Karl Dorrell, a former UCLA coach.

USC football’s most unusual season opener could get a rare visitor: rain.

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— So much for California’s racial reckoning. Voters rejected affirmative action again, writes The Times’ editorial board.

— Even if he loses the election, Trump has won. He’s sown the kind of divisive discord he thrives on, writes columnist Nicholas Goldberg.


— A political scientist from the 1940s warned us about polls. (Politico)

— Cuban hip-hop singer Telmary Diaz on her youth in Havana, making music from Cuba to Canada, and which region has the sweetest rum. (Roads and Kingdoms)


For veteran car chase watchers, one pursuit this week was particularly noteworthy: A massive pickup truck careened through the San Fernando Valley, then exited a Taco Bell parking lot and sheared off a light pole as CHP officers closed in. It turns out the vehicle was a custom-built black Ford F-550 6x6 owned by music producer and DJ Marshmello that authorities said had been stolen from a dealership.

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