Analysis & Comment

A Good Night for Biden

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Good morning. Joe Biden has taken the lead in Georgia, and the vote counting continues.

Joe Biden had another good night in the vote counting and appears close to clinching the presidency. But the race is not over, and more ballots will come in today. Here is the latest:

In Georgia, Biden took the lead over President Trump just before 5 a.m. Eastern. It’s the slimmest of margins — fewer than 1,000 votes, as of 6 a.m., out of about 3 million cast — and is not guaranteed to hold up. But Biden appears to be a slight favorite in Georgia. If he wins the state — and holds on in Nevada, where he is in good shape — he has won the election.

In Pennsylvania, Biden still trails, but Trump’s lead shrunk throughout Thursday. It’s now below 19,000 votes, out of about 7 million cast, and election analysts say the remaining votes — perhaps 163,000 or so — appear to be heavily favorable to Biden. Pennsylvania officials have said they will announce more results today. If Biden wins the state, he has won the election.

In Arizona, Biden holds a narrow lead — just above 47,000 votes, out of about 3 million — but his situation looks weaker than in Pennsylvania. The Times’s Nate Cohn says the remaining ballots could favor Trump by enough to put Trump ahead, although the batch released last night was arguably good news for Biden: They did not close Trump’s deficit at quite the rate he needs. If Biden wins Arizona and holds on in Nevada, where he is in stronger shape, he has won the election.

In North Carolina, Trump remains favored to hold on to his lead.

To put this all together: Biden is a strong favorite to win the presidency because he remains a strong favorite in Pennsylvania. He doesn’t need Arizona or Georgia but could win either, as well.

Why is the vote count taking so long? In several states, including Pennsylvania, Republican legislators blocked attempts to allow election officials to begin counting mail ballots before Election Day, as Jamie Dupree of Cox Media Group has noted. States that did so, like Florida, were able to announce their results much more quickly.

In other election developments:

Trump, speaking at the White House last night, again lied about the results of the election and repeated several debunked internet rumors, as BuzzFeed News reported. “A presidency born in a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace appeared on the edge of ending in a lie about his own faltering bid for re-election,” Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman write in The Times.

Many Republican officials declined to echo Trump’s claims, suggesting they may see his cause as hopeless. Will Hurd, a Texas congressman who is retiring after this term, wrote on Twitter that Trump’s comments were “not only dangerous & wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon.” Others, though, repeated the falsehoods, including Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Facebook shut down a group called “Stop the Steal,” which became a hub for people falsely claiming that the election was being rigged against Trump.

More than 150,000 ballots were caught in U.S. Postal Service processing facilities and not delivered by Election Day, The Washington Post reports. As a result, some ballots could arrive after their states’ deadlines.

A dual runoff for Senate seats in Georgia is now likely, giving Democrats a narrow but real hope of regaining control of the Senate.

House Democrats yelled, swore and traded blame in a three-hour caucus phone call after their predicted gains in the election yielded to losses that weakened their majority. “We need to not ever use the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again,” said Representative Abigail Spanberger, who narrowly won re-election in Virginia. “We lost good members because of that.”

THE REST OF THE NEWS

THE VIRUS

The U.S. recorded more than 121,000 new virus cases yesterday, breaking the record of 100,000 from a day earlier. The resurgence is not confined to any one part of the country: 23 states have recorded more cases in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch.

An election official who supervised voting in a suburb of St. Louis despite having tested positive has died. Around 2,000 voters visited the site on Election Day.

A nasal spray that blocks the virus worked well in a study that tested it on ferrets. If it works in humans, it could be a new way to fight the pandemic, with a daily spritz up the nose.

Children infected with the virus appear to clear the infection much faster than adults, a new study found. The findings could help explain why many children don’t become seriously ill.

other big stories

The four former Minneapolis officers charged in the killing of George Floyd will stand trial together. A judge also ruled that the trial, scheduled for next spring, could be broadcast live.

On an online message board where New York City police officers go in secret to complain about their jobs, a user named “Clouseau” posted hundreds of racist messages. City investigators have linked the account to a high-ranking N.Y.P.D. official responsible for preventing workplace harassment.

Norway’s Supreme Court will hear a case over drilling for oil in the Arctic, on the basis that it violates citizens’ right to a healthy environment.

Hurricane Eta, which brought deadly flooding and mudslides to parts of Central America, is on track to hit South Florida early next week.

A team of astronomers believes it has pinpointed the number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy: as many as 300 million.

Morning Reads

Modern Love: The cook would arrive after midnight and whip up a Michelin-worthy spread. Which was great, until Rebecca Bohanan could no longer keep her eyes open at work.

From Opinion: Paul Krugman asks if America is becoming a failed state.

Lives Lived: As Rolling Stone’s first photographer, Baron Wolman captured enduring images of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and many others from 1967 to 1970. He died at 83.

The Times can help you navigate the election — to separate fact from fiction, make sense of the polls and be sure your ballot counts. To support our efforts, please consider subscribing today.

ARTS AND IDEAS

‘Baby Shark’ breaks records

The most-viewed YouTube video in history, as of this week, is a two-minute ode to a family of sharks. With nearly 7.1 billion views, the catchy children’s song “Baby Shark” broke the three yearlong run at No. 1 for the 2017 single “Despacito.” The song created an empire for its producer, the South Korean educational brand Pinkfong, that includes merchandise, a live touring show and an upcoming Nickelodeon TV series.

These facts may be unsurprising to anyone with young kids: The children-focused parts of YouTube are among its most lucrative. A Pew study found that videos featuring children received nearly three times as many views on average than other types of videos posted by high-subscriber channels.

Repetition is one reason. Children do not get tired of watching the same video over and over. Four of the top 10 most watched YouTube videos are children’s programming. And last year, the highest earning YouTuber was 9-year-old Ryan Kaji, who reviews new toys and games on his channel. He earned $26 million in 2019, Forbes reported.

“YouTube is the most popular babysitter in the world,” the C.E.O. of a management company focused on digital stars said in 2019. The pandemic has likely exacerbated this, with many families spending more time at home.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT, BAKE

What to Cook

Yes, a fuss-free doughnut recipe does exist: Try these baked apple cider doughnuts. The hardest step is simply acquiring a doughnut pan (but in a pinch, a muffin pan works too).

IN THE MOOD FOR STUNTS

Charlize Theron in “Atomic Blonde.” Danai Gurira in “Black Panther.” Melissa McCarthy in “Spy.” These (and more) female-driven action movies have shattered stereotypes. The Times’s film critic Manohla Dargis unpacks the history of women and stunts, which begins in the 1910s.

What to watch

This weekend: Two of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the N.F.L. will face each other in Phoenix on Sunday: Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals versus Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins.

Late night: Late-night host Stephen Colbert accused Trump of trying to “poison American democracy.”

For a jolt of joy: A snowball fight from 1897, on a loop.

Now time to play

The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was glamour. Today’s puzzle is above — or you can play online if you have a Games subscription.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Noncommittal response (four letters).

Or try this week’s news quiz.

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. The word “lipopeptide” — a type of molecule — appeared for the first time in The Times yesterday, as noted by the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.

You can see today’s print front page here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about Trump’s dangerous lies. On “The Argument,” lessons and takeaways from a nail-biter election.

Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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