2020 United States presidential election
538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
as of Nov. 7, 2020, 3:00 a.m. EST
The electoral map for the 2020 election as called by a consensus of media outlets. Red denotes states won by Trump/Pence, blue denotes those won by Biden/Harris, and grey denotes too close or early to call. Numbers indicate the electoral votes cast, based on populations from the 2010 Census.
2020 U.S. presidential election
The 2020 United States presidential election was the 59th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Voters selected presidential electors who in turn will vote on December 14, 2020, to either elect a new president and vice president or reelect the incumbents Donald Trump and Mike Pence, respectively. The series of presidential primary elections and caucuses were held from February to August 2020. This nominating process is an indirect election, where voters cast ballots selecting a slate of delegates to a political party's nominating convention, who then elect their parties' nominees for president and vice president. The major two-party candidates were Republican incumbent president Trump and Democratic former vice president Joe Biden. The 2020 Senate elections and the 2020 House elections, along with various other local elections, were held concurrently with the presidential election. All major news outlets projecting the race have projected that Biden has won the election, including Decision Desk HQ, Vox, the Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, ABC News, The New York Times, Reuters, Fox News, and Business Insider. Counting continues to determine the final results.
Central issues of the election included the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has left more than 230,000 Americans dead; the economy and how to revive it after its pandemic-induced recession; protests in reaction to the police killing of George Floyd and other African Americans; the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett; climate change regulations, particularly the Paris Agreement from which Trump withdrew on November 4; and the future of the Affordable Care Act, with Biden arguing for protecting and expanding the scope of the legislation, and Trump pushing for its repeal. In the lead-up to the election, as well as on election night, Trump made frequent false claims intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, as well as refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
Trump secured the Republican nomination without any serious opposition alongside incumbent vice president Pence. Former vice president Joe Biden secured the Democratic nomination over his closest rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, in a competitive primary that featured the largest field of presidential candidates for any political party in the modern era of American politics. On August 11, 2020, Biden announced that his running mate would be Senator Kamala Harris, making her the first African American, first Asian American, and third female[lower-alpha 2] vice presidential nominee on a major party ticket. Jo Jorgensen secured the Libertarian nomination with Spike Cohen as her running mate, and Howie Hawkins secured the Green nomination with Angela Nicole Walker as his running mate.
Joe Biden, the presumptive winner of the 2020 presidential election, pending the formal voting by the Electoral College in mid-December, is scheduled to be inaugurated on January 20, 2021. He received the most votes of any presidential candidate in the history of the United States. Biden will become the oldest president upon being inaugurated, at 78 years old, and the first elected president from Delaware, although being born in Pennsylvania. This was the first presidential election in which both the major candidates are over 70. Biden became the first candidate to defeat an incumbent president in 28 years (of two Democratic and two Republican attempts),[lower-alpha 3] the first presidential nominee in 60 years to win without carrying Ohio,[lower-alpha 4] and the second non-incumbent vice president to be elected president.[lower-alpha 5] He will also be the second Roman Catholic to be elected president, after John F. Kennedy in 1960, and the first elected president since George H. W. Bush to serve two full terms as vice president before winning in the electoral college. In addition, his running mate, Harris, will become the first woman, first black person, and first Asian American to be elected vice president. Douglas Emhoff, Harris's husband, will become the first male Second Spouse of the United States.
Background[edit source | edit]
Procedure[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see United States presidential election#Procedure
Article Two of the United States Constitution states that for a person to serve as president, the individual must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years old and a United States resident for at least 14 years. Candidates for the presidency typically seek the nomination of one of the various political parties of the United States. Each party develops a method (such as a primary election) to choose the candidate the party deems best suited to run for the position. The primary elections are usually indirect elections where voters cast ballots for a slate of party delegates pledged to a particular candidate. The party's delegates then officially nominate a candidate to run on the party's behalf. The presidential nominee typically chooses a vice presidential running mate to form that party's ticket, who is then ratified by the delegates at the party's convention (with the exception of the Libertarian Party, which nominates its vice-presidential candidate by delegate vote regardless of the presidential nominee's preference). The general election in November is also an indirect election, in which voters cast ballots for a slate of members of the Electoral College; these electors then directly elect the president and vice president. If no candidate receives the minimum 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, the United States House of Representatives will select the president from the three candidates who received the most electoral votes, and the United States Senate will select the vice president from the candidates who received the two highest totals. The election will occur simultaneously alongside elections for the House of Representatives, Senate, and various state and local-level elections.
The Maine Legislature passed a bill in August 2019 adopting ranked-choice voting (RCV) both for presidential primaries and for the general election. Governor Janet Mills allowed the bill to become law without her signature, which delayed it from taking effect until after the 2020 Democratic primary in March, but made Maine the first state to use RCV for a presidential general election. The Maine Republican Party filed signatures for a veto referendum and preclude the use of RCV for the 2020 election but Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap found there were insufficient valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. A challenge in Maine Superior Court was successful for the Maine Republican Party, but the Maine Supreme Judicial Court stayed the ruling pending appeal on September 8, 2020. Nevertheless, ballots began being printed later that day without the veto referendum and including RCV for the presidential election, and the Court ruled in favor of the Secretary of State on September 22, allowing RCV to be used. An emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied on October 6. Implementation of RCV could potentially delay the projection of the winner(s) of Maine's electoral votes for days after election day and may complicate interpretation of the national popular vote. The law continues the use of the congressional district method for the allocation of Maine's electors (Nebraska is the only other state that apportions its electoral votes this way).
Demographic trends[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see Demography of the United States
This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: Sourcing is severely out of date.(July 2020)
A bipartisan report indicated in 2019 that changes in voter demographics since the 2016 election could impact the results of the 2020 election. African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and other ethnic minorities, as well as "whites with a college degree", are expected to all increase their percentage of national eligible voters by 2020, while "whites without a college degree" will decrease. The Hispanic likely voter population has increased by approximately 600,000 since the 2016 election. Generation Z, those born after 1996, will more than double to 10% of the eligible voters. It is possible Trump could win the Electoral College while still losing the popular vote, however, updated NBC News reporting from September 2020 predicts this is unlikely with 2020 demographics.
Youth turnout in the 2016 presidential election was extremely low, and during the Democratic primaries young voters broke overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders. However, polls suggest that youth turnout for the 2020 election is comparatively very high.
Simultaneous elections[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see 2020 United States Senate elections
The presidential election occurred simultaneously with elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives. Gubernatorial and legislative elections were also held in several states. For the subsequent election, the United States House will redistribute the seats among the 50 states based on the results of the 2020 United States Census, and the states will conduct a redistricting of Congressional and state legislative districts. In most states, the governor and the state legislature conduct the redistricting (although some states have redistricting commissions). Often, a party that wins a presidential election experiences a coattail effect that also helps other candidates of that party win elections. Therefore, the party that wins the 2020 presidential election could also win a significant advantage in drawing new Congressional and state legislative districts that would stay in effect until the 2032 elections.
Nominations[edit source | edit]
Democratic Party nomination[edit source | edit]
Primaries[edit source | edit]
In August 2018, the Democratic National Committee voted to disallow superdelegates from voting on the first ballot of the nominating process, beginning with the 2020 election. This required a candidate to win a majority of pledged delegates from the assorted primary elections in order to win the party's nomination. The last time this did not occur was the nomination of Adlai Stevenson II at the 1952 Democratic National Convention. Meanwhile, six states used ranked-choice voting in the primaries: Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wyoming for all voters; and Iowa and Nevada for absentee voters.
After Hillary Clinton's loss in the previous election, the Democratic Party was seen largely as leaderless and fractured between the centrist Clinton wing and the more progressive Sanders wing of the party, echoing the rift brought up in the 2016 primary election. In 2018, several U.S. House districts that Democrats hoped to gain from the Republican majority had contentious primary elections. Politico's Elena Schneider described these clashes as a "Democratic civil war". During this period, there was a general shift to the left in regards to college tuition, healthcare, and immigration among Democrats in the Senate.
Overall, the 2020 primary field had 29 major candidates, breaking the record for the largest field under the modern presidential primary system previously set during the 2016 GOP primaries with 17 major candidates.
Entering the Iowa caucuses on February 3, 2020, the field had decreased to 11 major candidates. Pete Buttigieg narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders in Iowa, then Sanders edged out Buttigieg in the February 11, New Hampshire primary. Following Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick, and Andrew Yang dropping out, Sanders won the Nevada caucuses on February 22. Joe Biden then won the South Carolina primary, causing Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer to abandon their campaigns (Buttigieg and Klobuchar then immediately endorsed Biden). After Super Tuesday, March 3, Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren quit the race, leaving three candidates left: Biden and Sanders, the main contenders, and Tulsi Gabbard, who remained in the race despite facing nigh-on insurmountable odds. Gabbard then dropped out and endorsed Biden after the March 17, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois races. On April 8, 2020, Sanders dropped out, reportedly after being convinced by former president Barack Obama, leaving Biden as the only major candidate remaining, and the presumptive nominee. Biden then gained endorsements from Obama, Sanders and Warren. By June 5, 2020, Biden had officially gained enough delegates to ensure his nomination at the convention, and proceeded to work with Sanders to develop a joint policy task force.
Vice presidential selection[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see 2020 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate selection
Senator Kamala Harris was announced as former vice president Joe Biden's running mate on August 11, 2020. If elected and inaugurated, Harris would be the first woman, first African-American, and first Asian-American vice president of the United States, as well as the second person with non-European ancestry (after Herbert Hoover's vice-president Charles Curtis). She is the third female vice presidential running mate after Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. She is the first person representing the Western United States to appear on the Democratic Party presidential ticket.
Nominee[edit source | edit]
Candidates[edit source | edit]
The following major candidates have either: (a) served as vice president, a member of the cabinet, a U.S. senator, a U.S. representative, or a governor, (b) been included in a minimum of five independent national polls, or (c) received substantial media coverage.
|colspan="9" style="text-align:center; font-size:120%; color:white; background:Template:Democratic Party (United States)/meta/color;"|Candidates in this section are sorted by date of withdrawal|
|Bernie Sanders||Tulsi Gabbard||Elizabeth Warren||Michael Bloomberg||Amy Klobuchar||Pete Buttigieg||Tom Steyer|
|U.S. senator from Vermont
U.S. representative from VT-AL
Mayor of Burlington, Vermont
|U.S. representative from HI-02
|U.S. senator from Massachusetts
|Mayor of New York City, New York
CEO of Bloomberg L.P.
|U.S. senator from Minnesota
|Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
|Hedge fund manager|
Founder of Farallon Capital and Beneficial State Bank
|W: April 8, 2020
|W: March 19, 2020
|W: March 5, 2020
|W: March 4, 2020
|W: March 2, 2020
|W: March 1, 2020
|W: February 29, 2020
|Deval Patrick||Michael Bennet||Andrew Yang||John Delaney||Cory Booker||Marianne Williamson||Julián Castro|
|Governor of Massachusetts
|U.S. senator from Colorado
Founder of Venture for America
|U.S. representative from MD-06
|U.S. senator from New Jersey
Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
Founder of Project Angel Food
Independent candidate for U.S. House from CA-33 in 2014
|Secretary of Housing and Urban Development|
Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
|W: February 12, 2020
|W: February 11, 2020
|W: February 11, 2020
|W: January 31, 2020
|W: January 13, 2020
|W: January 10, 2020
|W: January 2, 2020
(endorsed Warren, then Biden)
|Kamala Harris||Steve Bullock||Joe Sestak||Wayne Messam||Beto O'Rourke||Tim Ryan||Bill de Blasio|
|U.S. senator from California
Attorney General of California
|Governor of Montana
Attorney General of Montana
|U.S. representative from PA-07
Former vice admiral of the United States Navy
|Mayor of Miramar, Florida
|U.S. representative from TX-16
|U.S. representative from OH-13
U.S. representative from OH-17
|Mayor of New York City, New York|
|W: December 3, 2019
(endorsed Biden and
|W: December 2, 2019
||W: December 1, 2019
|W: November 19, 2019
||W: November 1, 2019
|W: October 24, 2019
|W: September 20, 2019
|Kirsten Gillibrand||Seth Moulton||Jay Inslee||John Hickenlooper||Mike Gravel||Eric Swalwell||Richard Ojeda|
|U.S. senator from New York
U.S. representative from NY-20
|U.S. representative from MA-06
|Governor of Washington
U.S. representative from WA-01
U.S. representative from WA-04
|Governor of Colorado
Mayor of Denver, Colorado
|U.S. senator from Alaska
|U.S. representative from CA-15
|West Virginia state senator from WV-SD07|
|W: August 28, 2019
|W: August 23, 2019
|W: August 21, 2019
|W: August 15, 2019
|W: August 6, 2019
(endorsed Gabbard and Sanders, then Howie Hawkins)
|W: July 8, 2019
||W: January 25, 2019
Republican Party nomination[edit source | edit]
Primaries[edit source | edit]
In election cycles with incumbent presidents running for re-election, the race for the party nomination is usually pro-forma, with token opposition instead of any serious challengers and with their party rules being fixed in their favor. The 2020 election was no exception; with Donald Trump formally seeking a second term, the official Republican apparatus, both state and national, coordinated with his campaign to implement changes to make it difficult for any primary opponent to mount a serious challenge. On January 25, 2019, the Republican National Committee unofficially endorsed Trump.
Several Republican state committees scrapped their respective primaries or caucuses, citing the fact that Republicans canceled several state primaries when George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush sought a second term in 1992 and 2004, respectively; and Democrats scrapped some of their primaries when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were seeking reelection in 1996 and 2012, respectively. After cancelling their races, some of those states, such as Hawaii and New York, immediately pledged their delegates to Trump. In contrast, other states, such as Kansas and Nevada, later formally held a convention or meeting to officially award their delegates to him.
The Trump campaign also urged Republican state committees that used proportional methods to award delegates in 2016 (where a state's delegates are divided proportionally among the candidates based on the vote percentage) to switch to a "winner-takes-all" (where the winning candidate in a state gets all its delegates) or "winner-takes-most" (where the winning candidate only wins all of the state's delegates if he exceeds a predetermined amount, otherwise they are divided proportionally) for 2020.
Nevertheless, reports arose beginning in August 2017 that members of the Republican Party were preparing a "shadow campaign" against the president, particularly from the party's moderate or establishment wings. Then-Arizona senator John McCain said, "Republicans see weakness in this president." Maine senator Susan Collins, Kentucky senator Rand Paul, and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie all expressed doubts in 2017 that Trump would be the 2020 nominee, with Collins stating, "It's too difficult to say." Senator Jeff Flake claimed in 2017 that Trump was "inviting" a primary challenger by the way he was governing. However, longtime political strategist Roger Stone predicted in May 2018 that Trump might not seek a second term were he to succeed in keeping all his campaign promises and "mak[ing] America great again".
Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld became Trump's first major challenger in the Republican primaries following an announcement on April 15, 2019. Weld, who was the Libertarian Party's nominee for vice president in 2016, was considered a long shot because of Trump's popularity within his own party and Weld's positions on issues such as abortion, gun control and same-sex marriage that conflicted with conservative positions on those issues. In addition, businessman Rocky De La Fuente also entered the race but was not widely recognized as a major candidate.
Former Illinois representative Joe Walsh launched a primary challenge on August 25, 2019, saying, "I'm going to do whatever I can. I don't want [Trump] to win. The country cannot afford to have him win. If I'm not successful, I'm not voting for him." Walsh ended his presidential bid on February 7, 2020, after drawing around 1% support in the Iowa caucuses. Walsh declared that "nobody can beat Trump in a Republican primary" because the Republican Party was now "a cult" of Trump. According to Walsh, Trump supporters had become "followers" who think that Trump "can do no wrong", after absorbing misinformation from conservative media. He stated, "They don't know what the truth is and—more importantly—they don't care." On September 8, 2019, former South Carolina governor and representative Mark Sanford officially announced that he would be another Republican primary challenger to Trump. He dropped out of the race 65 days later on November 12, 2019, after failing to gain support in Republican circles.
Donald Trump's re-election campaign has essentially been ongoing since his victory in 2016, leading pundits to describe his tactic of holding rallies continuously throughout his presidency as a "never-ending campaign". On January 20, 2017, at 5:11 p.m. EST, he submitted a letter as a substitute of FEC Form 2, by which he reached the legal threshold for filing, in compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act. During the primary season, Trump ran an active campaign, even holding rallies in the February primary states, including South Carolina and Nevada where Republican primaries were canceled. Trump won every race and, having won enough delegates to ensure his nomination at the convention, became the presumptive nominee on March 17, 2020. Weld suspended his campaign the next day.
Nominee[edit source | edit]
Candidates[edit source | edit]
|Candidates in this section are sorted by popular vote|
|Bill Weld||Joe Walsh||Rocky De La Fuente||Mark Sanford|
|Governor of Massachusetts
|U.S. Representative from IL-08
|Businessman and perennial candidate||U.S. Representative from SC-01|
Governor of South Carolina
|W: March 18, 2020
|W: February 7, 2020
3rd party nomination
April 23, 2020
|W: November 12, 2019|
Other parties and independent candidates[edit source | edit]
Libertarian Party nomination[edit source | edit]
Jo Jorgensen, who was the running mate of author Harry Browne in 1996, received the Libertarian nomination at the national convention on May 23, 2020. She achieved ballot access in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Nominee[edit source | edit]
Green Party nomination[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see 2020 Green Party presidential primaries
Howie Hawkins became the presumptive nominee of the Green Party on June 21, 2020, and was officially nominated by the party on July 11, 2020. Hawkins has also been nominated by the Socialist Party USA, Solidarity, Socialist Alternative, and the Legal Marijuana Now Party. Hawkins secured ballot access to 381 electoral votes, and secured write-in access to 133 electoral votes.
Nominee[edit source | edit]
Other third-party and independent candidates[edit source | edit]
Various other minor party and independent candidate campaigns are on the ballot in several states, among them activist and writer Gloria La Riva, businessman and perennial candidate Rocky De La Fuente, coal executive Don Blankenship, entrepreneur Brock Pierce, rapper Kanye West, and educator Brian Carroll.
General election campaign[edit source | edit]
Ballot access[edit source | edit]
Party conventions[edit source | edit]
The 2020 Democratic National Convention was originally scheduled for July 13–16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but was delayed to August 17–20 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 24, 2020, it was announced that the convention would be held in a mixed online-in person format, with most delegates attending remotely but a few still attending the physical convention site. On August 5, the in-person portion of the convention was scaled down even further, with major speeches including Biden's being switched to a virtual format.
The 2020 Republican National Convention took place from August 24–27 in Charlotte, North Carolina and various remote locations. Originally, a three-day convention was planned to be held in North Carolina, but due to North Carolina's insistence that the convention follow COVID-19 social distancing rules, the speeches and celebrations were moved to Jacksonville, Florida (official convention business was still contractually obligated to be conducted in Charlotte). However, due to the worsening situation with regards to COVID-19 in Florida, the plans there were cancelled, and the convention was moved back to Charlotte in a scaled-down capacity.
The 2020 Libertarian National Convention was originally going to be held in Austin, Texas, over Memorial Day weekend from May 22 to 25, but all reservations at the JW Marriott Downtown Austin for the convention were cancelled on April 26 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was eventually decided by the Libertarian National Committee that the party would hold two conventions, one online from May 22–24 to select the presidential and vice-presidential nominees and one at a physical convention in Orlando, Florida, from July 8–12 for other business.
The 2020 Green National Convention was originally to be held in Detroit, Michigan, from July 9 to 12. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was instead decided to conduct the convention online, without a change in date.
Issues unique to the 2020 election[edit source | edit]
Impeachment[edit source | edit]
The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump on two counts on December 18, 2019. The trial in the Senate began on January 21, 2020, and ended on February 5, resulting in acquittal by the United States Senate.
This is the second time a president has been impeached during his first term while running for a second term.[lower-alpha 10] Trump continued to hold campaign rallies during the impeachment. This is also the first time since the modern presidential primaries were established in 1911 that a president has been subjected to impeachment while the primary season was underway. The impeachment process overlapped with the primary campaigns, forcing senators running for the Democratic nomination to remain in Washington for the trial in the days before and after the Iowa caucuses.
Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see COVID-19 pandemic in the United States
Several events related to the 2020 presidential election were altered or postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the country and its effects such as the stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines by local governments. On March 10, following primary elections in six states, Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders cancelled planned campaign night events and further in-person campaigning and campaign rallies. On March 12, President Trump also stated his intent to postpone further campaign rallies. The 11th Democratic debate was held on March 15 without an audience at the CNN studios in Washington, D.C. Several states also postponed their primaries to a later date, including Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, and Maryland. As of March 24, 2020, all major-party presidential candidates had halted in-person campaigning and campaign rallies over COVID-19 concerns. Political analysts speculated at the time that the moratorium on traditional campaigning coupled with the effects of the pandemic on the nation could have unpredictable effects on the voting populace and possibly, how the election will be conducted.
Some presidential primary elections were severely disrupted by COVID-19-related issues, including long lines at polling places, greatly increased requests for absentee ballots, and technology issues. The number of polling places was often greatly reduced due to a shortage of election workers able or willing to work during the pandemic. Most states expanded or encouraged voting by mail as an alternative, but many voters complained that they never received the absentee ballots they had requested.
The March 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act included money for states to increase mail-in voting. By May, Trump and his campaign strongly opposed mail-in voting, claiming that it would cause widespread voter fraud, a belief which has been debunked by a number of media organizations. Government response to the impact of the pandemic from the Trump administration, coupled to the differing positions taken by congressional Democrats and Republicans regarding economic stimulus became a major campaign issue for both parties.
On April 6, the Supreme Court and Republicans in the State Legislature of Wisconsin rebuffed Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers's request to move the state's spring elections to June. As a result, the elections, which included a presidential primary, went ahead on April 7 as planned. At least seven new cases of COVID-19 were traced to this election. Voting-rights advocates expressed fear of similar chaos on a nationwide scale in November, recommending states to move to expand vote-by-mail options.
On June 20, 2020, Trump's campaign held an in-person rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the event could go ahead despite continuing concerns over COVID-19. Attendance at the rally was far lower than expected, being described as a "flop", with it leading to a significant worsening of relations between Trump and his campaign manager Brad Parscale. 7.7 million people watched the event on Fox News, a Saturday audience record for that channel. Three weeks after the rally, the Oklahoma State Department of Health recorded record numbers of cases of COVID-19, and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died of the virus, although it was not confirmed that he caught the disease due to his attendance at the rally.
On October 2, 2020, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 following a positive test from his senior adviser Hope Hicks, as part of larger COVID-19 outbreak among White House personnel. Both the president and first lady immediately entered quarantine, which prevented Trump from further campaigning, notably at campaign rallies. Later that day, the President was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with a low grade fever, where he was reported to have received an experimental antibody treatment. Trump's diagnosis came only two days after he had shared the stage with Joe Biden at the first presidential debate. This led to the concern that Biden may have contracted the virus from Trump; however, Biden tested negative. Trump was discharged from the hospital on October 5.
Trump being diagnosed with COVID-19 was widely seen as having a negative effect on his campaign and shifted the attention of the public back onto COVID-19, an issue which is generally seen as a liability for Trump, due to his response to the COVID-19 pandemic suffering from low approval ratings. Being in quarantine also meant that Trump was unable to attend rallies, which were a major part of his campaign. As a result of Trump contracting COVID-19, Biden continued campaigning but temporarily ceased running attack ads against him. Trump resumed in-person rallies on October 12, one week after his discharge from the hospital. Trump continued to travel to battleground states and hold mass rallies, sometimes two or three in a day. His rallies have been criticized for their lack of social distancing or mask wearing, and some polls suggest that voters see him less favorably for potentially endangering attendees.
Foreign interference[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see Russian interference in the 2020 United States elections
U.S. officials have accused Russia, China and Iran of trying to influence the 2020 United States elections. On October 4, 2019, Microsoft announced that "Phosphorus", a group of hackers linked to the Iranian government, had attempted to compromise e-mail accounts belonging to journalists, U.S. government officials and the campaign of a U.S. presidential candidate. The Voice of America reported in April 2020 that "Internet security researchers say there have already been signs that China-allied hackers have engaged in so-called 'spear-phishing' attacks on American political targets ahead of the 2020 vote."
On February 13, 2020, American intelligence officials advised members of the House Intelligence Committee that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election in an effort to get Trump re-elected. The briefing was delivered by Shelby Pierson, the intelligence community's top election security official and an aide to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. On February 21, The Washington Post reported that, according to unnamed U.S. officials, Russia was interfering in the Democratic primary in an effort to support the nomination of Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders issued a statement after the news report, saying in part, "I don't care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president, I will make sure that you do." Sanders acknowledged that his campaign was briefed about Russia's alleged efforts about a month prior. Russia has been accused of interfering in the election to support the candidacy of President Trump, while China and some government-linked Chinese individuals have been accused of interfering in the election to support the candidacy of both Biden and Trump, though whether it is actually doing so is disputed among the intelligence community.
On October 21, threatening emails were sent to Democrats in at least four states. The emails warned that "You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you." Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced that evening that the emails, using a spoofed return address, had been sent by Iran. He added that both Iran and Russia are known to have obtained American voter registration data, possibly from publicly available information, and that "This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy." A spokesman for Iran denied the allegation. In his announcement Ratcliffe said that Iran's intent had been "to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump", raising questions as to how ordering Democrats to vote for Trump would be damaging to Trump. It was later reported that the reference to Trump had not been in Ratcliffe's prepared remarks as signed off by the other officials on the stage, but that he added it on his own.
Throughout the election period, several Colombian lawmakers and the Colombian ambassador to the United States issued statements supporting the Donald Trump campaign, which has been viewed as potentially harmful to Colombia–United States relations. On October 26, the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Philip Goldberg, requested that Colombian politicians abstain from getting involved in the elections. Iranian APT targeted US voter registration data. 
Potential rejection of election results[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see Blue shift (politics)
During the election, multiple articles have been published suggesting that Trump may not, or will not, accept the election results, owing primarily to his tweets suggesting that the election will be rigged against him and his own suggestions that he will not accept electoral defeat. The White House has dismissed these suggestions and President Trump told Fox News' Harris Faulkner on June 5, 2020 that "[c]ertainly if I don't win, I don't win". On July 19, Trump declined to answer whether he would accept the results, telling Fox News anchor Chris Wallace that "I have to see. No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say no." At an August 17 campaign event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Trump said that "the only way we're going to lose this election is if this election is rigged". Trump repeated this sentiment during an appearance at the 2020 Republican National Convention. On September 23, 2020, Trump again declined to commit to a peaceful transition of power after the election. He has repeatedly said "We'll see what happens", suggesting that mail-in voting is rife with fraud. He has claimed that "the ballots are a disaster", adding "Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation." Trump's hints and warnings have been described as a threat "to upend the constitutional order".
Congressional Republicans insisted there would be a peaceful transition if Trump lost, although they did not explain how they would guarantee such a transition if Trump were to refuse to leave the presidency. On September 24, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution affirming the Senate's commitment to a peaceful transfer of power. Hillary Clinton has been misquoted as advising Biden not to concede the election; her advice to him was not to concede on election night due to possible delays in counting the vote, with her stating "I think this is going to drag out." Trump has also stated he expected the Supreme Court to decide the election and that he wanted a conservative majority in case of an election dispute, reiterating his commitment to quickly install a ninth justice following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Election delay suggestion[edit source | edit]
In April 2020, Biden suggested that Trump may try to delay the election, saying that Trump "is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can't be held". On July 30, Trump tweeted that "With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history" and asked if it should be delayed until people can safely cast ballots in person. Experts have indicated that, for the election to be legally delayed, such a decision must be undertaken by Congress. Several legal experts noted that the Constitution sets the end of the presidential and vice-presidential terms as January 20, a hard deadline which cannot be altered by Congress except by constitutional amendment.
Voting by mail[edit source | edit]
Voting by mail has become an increasingly common practice in the United States, with 25% of voters nationwide mailing their ballots in 2016 and 2018. By June 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was predicted to cause a large increase in mail voting because of the possible danger of congregating at polling places. An August 2020 state-by-state analysis concluded that 76% of Americans are eligible to vote by mail in 2020, a record number. The analysis predicted that 80 million ballots could be cast by mail in 2020—more than double the number in 2016. The Postal Service sent a letter to multiple states in July 2020, warning that the service would not be able to meet the state's deadlines for requesting and casting last-minute absentee ballots. In addition to the anticipated high volume of mailed ballots, the prediction was due in part to numerous measures taken by the Louis DeJoy, the newly installed Postmaster General of the United States, including banning overtime and extra trips to deliver mail, which caused delays in delivering mail, and dismantling and removing hundreds of high-speed mail sorting machines from postal centers. On August 18, after the House of Representatives had been recalled from its August break to vote on a bill reversing the changes, DeJoy announced that he would roll back all the changes until after the November election. He said he would reinstate overtime hours, roll back service reductions, and halt the removal of mail-sorting machines and collection boxes.
The House of Representatives voted an emergency grant of $25 billion to the post office to facilitate the predicted flood of mail ballots. However, President Trump has repeatedly denounced mail voting, even though he himself votes by mail in Florida. In August 2020, President Trump conceded that the post office would need additional funds to handle the additional mail-in voting, but said he would block any additional funding for the post office to prevent any increase in balloting by mail.
President Trump has been very critical of voting by mail, often making allegations of massive voter fraud. In August 2020, a federal judge ordered Trump's campaign and the Republican Party to produce evidence of such fraud in Pennsylvania. In September 2020, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, who was appointed by Trump, testified under oath that the FBI has "not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it's by mail or otherwise". In October 2020, when nearly 50,000 voters in Franklin County, Ohio received incorrect absentee ballots in the mail, Trump claimed that "a rigged election" was happening in the state, a claim criticised by media outlets.
On Election Day a judge ordered mail inspectors to search "mail facilities in .... key battleground states" for ballots. The agency refused the order and nearly 7% of ballots in USPS facilities on Election Day were not processed in time.
Federal Election Commission issues[edit source | edit]
The Federal Election Commission, which was created in 1974 to enforce campaign finance laws in federal elections, has not functioned since July 2020 due to vacancies in membership. In the absence of a quorum, the commission cannot vote on complaints or give guidance through advisory opinions. As of May 19, 2020, there were 350 outstanding matters on the agency's enforcement docket and 227 items waiting for action. As of September 1, 2020, President Trump had not nominated any person to fill the vacant positions, which are required to be submitted for Senate confirmation.
Supreme Court vacancy[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination
On September 18, 2020, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately stated that the precedent he set regarding the Merrick Garland nomination was inoperative and that a replacement would be voted on as soon as possible, setting the stage for a confirmation battle and an unexpected intrusion into the campaign. The death of Justice Ginsburg resulted in large increases in momentum for both the Democrats and Republicans. The president, vice president, and several Republican members of Congress stated that a full Supreme Court bench was needed to decide the upcoming election.
On September 26, the day after Justice Ginsburg's body lay in state at the Capitol, Trump held a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House to announce and introduce his candidate, Amy Coney Barrett. The Senate Judiciary Committee held four days of confirmation hearings starting on October 12 and voted the nomination out of committee on October 22. A full Senate vote was held on October 26. This represented one of the fastest timelines from nomination to approval in U.S. history, and the fastest at this level of distance from an election. According to The Washington Post a current issue for voters is the protection of the supreme court ruling of Roe v. Wade, on the legality of abortion.
Litigation[edit source | edit]
The 2020 election has been noted for the number of legal cases related to it, with several hundred cases related to the election having been filed by September 2020. About 250 of these have to do with the mechanics of voting in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Supreme Court ruled on a number of these cases, primarily issuing emergency stays instead of going through the normal process due to the urgency. In October 2020, there were speculation that the election might be decided through a Supreme Court case, as happened following the 2000 election.
General election debates[edit source | edit]
On October 11, 2019, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced that three general election debates would be held in the fall of 2020.
The first, moderated by Chris Wallace took place on September 29, and was co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. The debate was originally to be hosted at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, but the university decided against holding the debate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden was generally held to have won the first debate, with a significant minority of commentators stating that it was a draw.
One exchange that was particularly noted was when President Trump did not directly denounce the white supremacist and neo-fascist group Proud Boys, which explicitly engages in political violence, instead responding that they should "stand back and stand by". On the next day, Trump told reporters that the group should "stand down", while also claiming that he was not aware of what the group was. The debate was described as "chaotic and nearly incoherent" because of Trump's repeated interruptions, causing the Commission on Presidential Debates to consider adjustments to the format of the remaining debates.
The vice presidential debate was held on October 7, 2020, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The debate was widely held to be subdued, with no clear victor. One incident that was particularly commented on was when a fly landed on vice-president Pence's head, and remained there unbeknownst to him for two minutes.
The second debate was initially set to be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but the university withdrew in June 2020, reportedly over concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The debate was then relocated to take place on October 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, but due to Donald Trump contracting COVID-19, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced on October 8 that the debate would be held virtually, in which the candidates would appear from separate locations. However, Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate, and the commission subsequently announced that the debate had been cancelled.
The third scheduled debate took place on October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The changes to the debate rules resulted in it being generally considered more civil than the first debate. Biden was generally held to have won the debate, though it was considered unlikely to alter the race to any considerable degree.
|P1||September 29, 2020||9:00 p.m. EDT||Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland, Ohio||Chris Wallace||Donald Trump
|VP||October 7, 2020||7:00 p.m. MDT||University of Utah||Salt Lake City, Utah||Susan Page||Mike Pence
|(P2)[lower-alpha 11]||October 15, 2020||9:00 p.m. EDT||Arsht Center (planned)||Miami, Florida||Steve Scully (planned)||Donald Trump
|P2||October 22, 2020||8:00 p.m. CDT||Belmont University||Nashville, Tennessee||Kristen Welker||Donald Trump
The Free & Equal Elections Foundation held two debates with minor party and independent candidates, one on October 8, 2020, in Denver, Colorado, and another on October 24, 2020, in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
General election polling[edit source | edit]
Endorsements[edit source | edit]
Campaign issues[edit source | edit]
COVID-19 pandemic[edit source | edit]
The COVID-19 pandemic was a major issue of the campaign, with Trump's responses being heavily criticized. The president spread mixed messages on the value of wearing face masks as protection, including criticizing Biden and reporters for wearing them, but has also encouraged their use at times. During the campaign, Trump held many events across the country, including in coronavirus hotspots, where attendees did not wear masks and were not socially distancing; at the same time, he mocked those who wore face masks.
Biden advocated for expansion of federal funding, including funding under the Defense Production Act for testing, personal protective equipment, and research. Trump has also invoked the Defense Production Act to a lesser extent to control the distribution of masks and ventillators, but his response plan relies significantly on a vaccine being released by the end of 2020. At the second presidential debate, Trump claimed that Biden had called him xenophobic for restricting entry from foreign nationals who had visited China, but Biden clarified that he had not been referring to this decision.
Economy[edit source | edit]
Trump claimed credit for the consistent economic expansion of his presidency's first three years, with the stock market at its longest growth period in history, and unemployment at a fifty-year low. Additionally, he has touted the 2020 third quarter rebound, in which GDP grew at an annualized rate of 33.1%, as evidence of the success of his economic policies. Biden responded to Trump's claims by repeating that the strong economy under Trump's presidency was inherited from the Obama administration, and that Trump has aggravated the economic impact of the pandemic, including the need for 42 million Americans to file for unemployment.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which lowered income tax for most Americans, as well as lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, were an important part of Trump's economic policy. Biden and the Democrats generally describe these cuts as unfairly benefiting the upper class. Biden plans to raise taxes on corporations and those making over $400,000 per year, while keeping the reduced taxes on lower income brackets, and raise capital gains taxes to a maximum bracket of 39.6%. In response, Trump said Biden's plans will destroy retirement accounts and the stock market.
Environment[edit source | edit]
Trump and Biden have significant differences in environmental policy agenda, with Trump stating at times that climate change was a hoax, although he has also called it a serious subject. Trump has condemned the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas reduction, and began the withdrawal process, while Biden plans to rejoin it, and announced a $2 trillion climate action plan. However, Biden has not fully accepted the Green New Deal, a progressive climate policy promoted by Sanders and other politicians on the left. Biden does not plan to ban fracking, but rather to outlaw new fracking on federal land; yet in a debate, Trump claimed that Biden wanted to ban it altogether. Trump's other environmental policies have included the removal of methane emission standards, and an expansion of mining.
Health care[edit source | edit]
Health care was a divisive issue in both the Democratic primary campaign and the general campaign. While Biden, as well as other candidates, promised protection of the Affordable Care Act, progressives within the Democratic party advocated to replace the private insurance industry with Medicare for All. Biden's plan involves adding a public option to the American healthcare system, and the restoration of the individual mandate to buy health care which was removed from the Affordable Care Act by the 2017 tax cut bill, as well as restoring funding for Planned Parenthood. Trump announced plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, calling it "too expensive", but has not said what would replace it. At the time of the election, the Trump administration and Republican officials from 18 states had a lawsuit before the Supreme Court, asking the court to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Racial unrest[edit source | edit]
As a result of the killing of George Floyd and other incidents of police brutality against African Americans, combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of protests and a wider period of racial unrest erupted in mid-2020. Many peaceful protests took place, but riots and looting have also occurred. Trump and the Republicans have suggested sending in the military to counter the protests, which was criticized, especially by Democrats, as heavy-handed and potentially illegal. Particularly controversial was a photo-op Trump took in front of St. John's Church in Washington D.C., before which military police had forcefully cleared peaceful protestors from the area. Biden condemned Trump for his actions against protestors; he described George Floyd's words "I can't breathe" as a "wake-up call for our nation". He also promised he would create a police oversight commission in his first 100 days as president, and establish a uniform use of force standard, as well as other police reform measures.
State predictions[edit source | edit]
Most election predictors use:
- tossup: no advantage
- tilt: advantage that is not quite as strong as "lean"
- lean: slight advantage
- likely: significant, but surmountable, advantage (*highest rating given by CBS News and NPR)
- safe or solid: near-certain chance of victory
Voting process and results[edit source | edit]
Election night[edit source | edit]
Election night, November 3, ended without a clear winner, as many state results were too close to call and millions of votes remained uncounted, including in half a dozen battleground states. In a victory declared after midnight, Trump won the swing state of Florida by three percentage points, an increase from his 1.2 percentage point margin in 2016, having seen significant gains in support among the Latino community in Miami-Dade County.
Shortly after 12:30 a.m. EST, Biden made a short speech in which he urged his supporters to be patient while the votes are counted, and said he believed he was "on track to win this election". Shortly before 2:30 a.m. EST, Trump made a speech to a roomful of supporters, falsely asserting that he had won the election and calling for a stop to all vote counting, saying that continued counting was "a fraud on the American people" and that "we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court." The Biden campaign denounced these attempts, claiming that the Trump campaign was engaging in a "naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens".
Election night aftermath[edit source | edit]
By the evening of November 4, the Associated Press reported that Biden had secured 264 electoral votes, with the closely contested states of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Nevada remaining uncalled as votes were being counted. Results were delayed in these states due to local rules on counting mail-in ballots. In Pennsylvania, where the counting of mail-in ballots began on election night, Trump declared victory on November 4 with a lead of 675,000 votes, despite more than a million ballots remaining uncounted. Trump also declared victory in North Carolina and Georgia, despite many ballots being uncounted. Fox News projected Biden would win Arizona at 11:20 p.m. EST on election night, and the Associated Press called the state at 2:50 a.m. EST on November 4; however, several other media outlets concluded the state was too close to call. As of November 5, Biden had a 1% lead in Nevada, and a 2.3% lead in Arizona; if Biden wins Nevada and Arizona, it will bring him to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.
On November 5, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Trump campaign to stop vote-counting in Pennsylvania. The Trump campaign had alleged that its observers were not given access to observe the vote, but during the hearing, its lawyers admitted that its observers were already present in the vote-counting room. Also that day, a state judge dismissed another lawsuit by the Trump campaign that alleged that in Georgia, late-arriving ballots were counted. The judge ruled that no evidence had been produced that the ballots were late. Meanwhile, in Michigan a state judge dismissed the Trump campaign's lawsuit requesting a pause in vote-counting to allow access to observers, as the judge noted that vote-counting had already finished in Michigan.
On November 6, Biden assumed leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia as the states continued to count ballots. Due to the slim margin between Biden and Trump in the state, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced on November 6 that a recount would be held in Georgia. At that point, Georgia had not seen "any widespread irregularities" in this election, according to the voting system manager of the state, Gabriel Sterling.
By November 6, several prominent Republicans had publicly denounced Donald Trump's claims of electoral fraud, saying they were unsubstantiated, baseless or without evidence, damaging to the election process, undermining democracy, and dangerous to political stability.
Election calls[edit source | edit]
On November 6, election-calling organization Decision Desk HQ forecast that Biden had won the election, as it had forecast that Biden had won Pennsylvania and thus would receive over 270 electoral college votes. Decision Desk HQ's partner organizations, Vox and Business Insider, also called the race at that time. On November 7, ABC News, Associated Press, CNN and Fox News all called the election, based on Biden being forecast to win Pennsylvania after polls showed Biden leading outside of the recount threshold (0.5%).
Election protests[edit source | edit]
- For further information, see 2020 United States election protests
Protests against Trump's challenges to the election results took place in Minneapolis, Portland, New York, and other cities. Police in Minneapolis arrested more than 600 demonstrators for blocking traffic on an interstate highway. In Portland the National Guard was called out after some protesters smashed windows and threw objects at police. At the same time, groups of Trump supporters gathered outside of election centers in Phoenix, Detroit, and Philadelphia, shouting objections to counts that showed Biden leading or gaining ground. In Arizona, where Biden's lead was shrinking as more results were reported, the pro-Trump protesters mostly demanded that all remaining votes be counted, while in Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Trump's lead was shrinking as more results were reported, they called for the count to be stopped.
OSCE election monitoring[edit source | edit]
On the invitation of the US State Department, the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which has been monitoring US elections since 2002 (as it does for major elections in all other OSCE member countries), sent 102 observers from 39 countries. The task force consisted of long-term observers from the ODIHR office (led by former Polish diplomat Urszula Gacek) deployed to 28 states from September on and covering 15 states on election day, and a group of European lawmakers acting as short-term observers (led by German parliamentarian Michael Georg Link), reporting from Maryland, Virginia, California, Nevada, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was scaled down to a "limited election observation mission" from the originally planned 100 long-term observers and 400 short-term observers.
An interim report published by the OSCE shortly before the election noted that many ODIHR interlocutors "expressed grave concerns about the risk of legitimacy of the elections being questioned due to the incumbent President’s repeated allegations of a fraudulent election process, and postal vote in particular". On the day after the election, the task force published preliminary findings, with part of the summary stating:
The 3 November general elections were competitive and well managed despite legal uncertainties and logistical challenges. In a highly polarized political environment, acrimonious campaign rhetoric fuelled tensions. Measures intended to secure the elections during the pandemic triggered protracted litigation driven by partisan interests. Uncertainty caused by late legal challenges and evidence-deficient claims about election fraud created confusion and concern among election officials and voters. Voter registration and identification rules in some states are unduly restrictive for certain groups of citizens. The media, although sharply polarized, provided comprehensive coverage of the campaign and made efforts to provide accurate information on the organization of elections.
Link stated that "on the election day itself, we couldn’t see any violations" at the polling places visited by the observers. The task force also found "nothing untoward" while observing the handling of mail-in ballots at post offices, with Gacek being quoted as saying that "We feel that allegations of systemic wrongdoing in these elections have no solid ground" and that "The system has held up well". The OSCE's election monitoring branch is due to publish a more comprehensive report in early 2021.
Candidate table[edit source | edit]
Candidates are included in this table if they received any electoral votes, more than 0.05% of the popular vote, had ballot access to more than 15 electoral votes, or had ballot access in more than one state and had ballot plus write-in access in most states. Candidates are sorted first by electoral votes, then popular vote, then ballot access, then by their party's electoral vote in the 2016 election, and then alphabetically.
Results by state[edit source | edit]
|States won by Biden/Harris|
|States won by Trump/Pence|
|†||At-large results (for states that split electoral votes)|
Note: Two states (Maine and Nebraska) allow for their electoral votes to be split between candidates by congressional districts. The winner within each congressional district gets one electoral vote for the district. The winner of the statewide vote gets two additional electoral votes.
Viewership[edit source | edit]
Total television viewers
Total cable TV viewers
Television viewers 25 to 54
Cable TV viewers 25 to 54
See also[edit source | edit]
- 2020 United States gubernatorial elections
- 2020 United States presidential election in Guam
- Social media in the 2020 United States presidential election
Notes[edit source | edit]
- Trump's official state of residence was New York in the 2016 election but has since changed to Florida, with his permanent residence switching from Trump Tower to Mar-a-Lago in 2019.
- The previous two female vice presidential nominees were Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008.
- The previous instance was Democrat Bill Clinton's defeat of Republican George H. W. Bush in 1992.
- The previous was John F. Kennedy in 1960, losing Ohio to Republican nominee Richard Nixon.
- The first was Richard Nixon in 1968.
- Candidate did not appear on any ballots.
- Candidates in bold were listed on ballots of states representing most of the electoral college. Other candidates were listed on ballots of more than one state and were listed on ballots or were write-in candidates in most states.
- In some states, some presidential candidates were listed with a different or no vice presidential candidate.
- In some states, some candidates were listed with a different or additional party, a label, or as independent or unaffiliated.
- Andrew Johnson received votes during the 1868 Democratic National Convention, four months after having been impeached.
- Following the cancellation of the planned second debate on October 9, both candidates held separate but simultaneous televised town hall events on the intended date of October 15. Trump's was broadcast on NBC, moderated by Savannah Guthrie, while Biden's was on ABC, moderated by George Stephanopoulos.
- Tossup: 50%–59%, Lean: 60%–74%, Likely: 75%–94%, Solid: 95%–100%
- The original vice presidential candidate was Leonard Peltier, who withdrew but remained listed on the ballot in Illinois and Minnesota, and as a write-in candidate in Texas.
- In Florida, where Jade Simmons only had write-in access, Melissa Nixon was listed as her vice presidential candidate.
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