The United States presidential election was on Tuesday (Nov 3).
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Biden getting closer to needed 270 electoral votes
While the race is still too close to call, Democratic challenger Joe Biden is approaching the needed 270 electoral votes to become the next U.S. president.
Counting of the popular votes in some battleground states continued Wednesday and U.S. President Donald Trump and his campaign have filed legal challenges. They have also asked the vote counting be stopped in Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes still in play, so more monitoring can be done.
As it stands, Biden has likely won 253 electoral votes and Trump 214. Biden has the edge in Arizona and Nevada. Combined, the two states have 17 electoral votes, giving the former vice president just the number of electoral votes he needs.
Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia are also still in play.
The Trump campaign said Wednesday it will ask for a recount in Wisconsin, where unofficial results give Biden a narrow lead of around 20,000 votes, with most votes counted.
A recount is automatically conducted in Wisconsin at state expense if the margin is less than 0.25 percent. But candidates can request a recount if they agree to pay, provided the margin is under 1 percent.
Biden did not declare victory, but said it was time to heal and come together as a nation.
“To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.,” Biden said.
2. Republicans likely to keep control of the Senate
The Democrats had high hopes of taking control of the U.S. Senate, but it is likely to remain in the hands of the Republicans, who currently have a 53-47 majority.
The only clear Democratic victory as far as picking up a seat came in Colorado, and a Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, has a significant lead in Arizona as votes are still being counted, The Washington Post reports. The newspaper says the race in Michigan could go to incumbent Democratic Senator Gary Peters with votes still coming in from large urban centers.
One Senate race in Georgia was a special election that will now go to a January runoff. Pastor Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, will face incumbent Senator Kelly Loeffler.
Mitch McConnell was elected to a seventh term in Kentucky and will likely retain his position as Senate majority leader.
In the House, the Democrats also did not do as well as expected in the November 3 elections as they lost seats, but they will still retain control after all the races are decided.
“If we’ve don’t get our act together, we’re going to get creamed in 2022,” one House Democrat told The Post.
Nancy Pelosi of California might face a challenge to remain the House speaker.
3. At 25, North Carolina man becomes youngest in Congress
Madison Cawthorn is 25 years old. In January he will become the youngest member of Congress in modern history.
The younger Republican will represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. He was partially paralyzed in a 2014 car accident and owns a real estate investment company and is a motivational speaker.
He said on his website that he ran for office because “our faith, our freedoms and our values are under assault from coastal elites and leftists like (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who is only 31 herself, represents parts of New York City.
She is one of four congresswomen U.S. President Donald Trump targeted, saying they should return “to their country” despite the fact that they are all U.S. citizens, and three of them were born in the United States.
The youngest House member ever elected was William Charles Cole Claiborne of Tennessee in 1797 at age 22. He was seated despite not meeting the constitutional age requirement of 25 for the House, according to U.S. House records.
4. Oregon governor extends emergency protest declaration
The governor Oregon extended an emergency declaration that provides for more law enforcement resources in the city of Portland in the wake of would-be protesters’ announced planned demonstrations across the country regarding the U.S. election.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s premature claim to victory and the challenges his campaign has started launching to the election results have created a growing backlash.
In recent months, Portland has been a center for Black Lives Matter protests regarding police brutality and racial injustice.
“It’s important to trust the process and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown said.
While more protests loom over Portland and elsewhere in the United States, reaction to the November 3 election results have not ignited more than sporadic clashes. Major civil unrest had been feared and the possibility of it continues to be a concern with the presidential race still in doubt.
5. Oregon decriminalizes hard drug use, other states approve pot
Deciding among candidates was not the only major decision U.S. voters made on November 3. Once illegal drugs suddenly became legal.
Oregon voters overwhelmingly decided to decriminalize the possession of
small amounts of cocaine, heroin, oxycontin and methamphetamine.
The state also legalized psychedelic mushrooms, so did Washington, D.C.
Mississippi legalized it for medical use.
“This is the most significant reform in our nation’s failed drug policies in a generation,” said Kassandra Frederique, the executive director of Drug Policy Alliance of the Oregon measure.
“It’s particularly significant because most people don’t realize that drug possession is the number one arrest in the country.”
The rapper Juicy J tweeted in response to the news:
a. The Real Winner Of The Election? Drugs. – BuzzFeed News
b. Voters Across the Country Decriminalize Drugs, Reject Failed War on Drugs – Reason Foundation