Hawaii voters decisively picked former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in Hawaii’s general election.
Biden beat Trump by securing 63.2% of the vote to the president’s 33.9%, according to results from the Hawaii Office of Elections. The Associated Press called the race for Biden as soon as the polls closed.
The win will give the state’s four electoral votes to Biden.
Nationally, a winner has yet to be declared as votes are still being counted in key battleground states, including Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
After Biden narrowly took Wisconsin — a key state in his bid for the White House — the Trump campaign said it would demand a recount.
The Aloha State is made up mostly of Democratic voters and in the 2016 presidential election the state went overwhelmingly for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Biden was vice president to Hawaii-born President Barack Obama, who is still popular in the islands. Only two Republicans have won Hawaii since statehood — Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Trump’s showing in 2020 was better than it was in 2016 by nearly 70,000 votes, and he increased his share by nearly 5% from his showing in 2016 when he secured only 29.4% against Clinton.
Biden has spent decades in Washington and has promised to bring a sense of decency and normalcy back to the presidency after four years of near constant turmoil.
Trump is a brash billionaire who’s peddled in falsehoods, stoked racial tensions and argued that he would “drain the swamp” while appointing his own friends and family to key government posts and refusing to divest from his own business dealings.
To win the presidency, Biden or Trump must win 270 or more of the nation’s 538 total electoral votes.
“The Trump administration is about as much of a repudiation of Hawaii values as you can get by not being inclusive, not being diverse and not wanting to promote harmony and aloha.” — Andy Winer, former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz
The contest has seen clashes by two very different opponents and polarized the nation.
“The decisions that voters are making are not just about the people running for president, but about the fundamental direction of the country,” said Hawaii Congressman Ed Case. “We really are at a fork in the road. America, our country, is changing fast and our world is changing fast around us.”
Hyper-partisanship has only deepened the divisions in America, Case said, and there’s little consensus about what direction the country should take on issues, such as racial and economic inequality, foreign policy and climate change.
Even the so-called American Dream, he said, is little more than an apparition to many living here today.
“There are a lot of questions out there that hundreds of millions of Americans are being asked to answer today and they need to be answered,” Case said. “We need to have an answer from us about which way to go. That’s what makes this so very consequential.”
There’s a lot of stake for Hawaii, and it goes beyond the top of the ticket.
Andy Winer, who’s the former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and a longtime D.C. political expert, looks at the election from both a pragmatic and spiritual point of view.
“The Trump administration is about as much of a repudiation of Hawaii values as you can get by not being inclusive, not being diverse and not wanting to promote harmony and aloha,” Winer said. “Trump is basically the anti-Obama in terms of the way Hawaii is as a state and as a culture.”
If Biden wins and Democrats can take the majority in the Senate, Winer said, there’s also the potential for very real policy changes that could benefit Hawaii, whether its increased spending on infrastructure, legislation to address climate change or a renewed focus on affordable housing.
“It’s about treating diverse members of our community fairly and that’s across the board,” he said.
Results will begin to trickle in over the next several hours, but it’s entirely possible a winner will not be declared for days as every vote is counted.
Already officials in Washington were preparing for protests.
Non-scalable barriers were erected around the White House on Monday and are expected to stay up for several days as the nation’s votes continue to be tallied. Many of the nearby businesses have boarded up the windows with plywood.
Looming over the entire contest is a global pandemic that so far has killed more than 231,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country — and stark disagreements between both men about how best to respond.
The coronavirus outbreak has forced millions of Americans to reconsider how they cast their ballots, and all indications are that nationwide changes to mail-in and early voting combined with the political stakes of four more years of Trump have pushed turnout to historic levels.
In Hawaii, the move to all mail-in voting sparked a surge in voter turnout.
Before Tuesday, more than 531,000 ballots had been cast, which is more than any other election since statehood in 1959. Overall voter participation has already exceeded that of 2016 when only 42% of registered voters cast ballots.
Trump has repeatedly spread misinformation about mail-in voting and has vowed to launch a legal challenge to voting in Pennsylvania, saying over the weekend that “as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”
Trump and Republicans have spent many months trying to discredit mail-in voting and limit ballot access under the guise of voter fraud even though studies have repeatedly shown that it is exceedingly rare and non-consequential.
Republicans, including Trump’s campaign, have also mounted a number of campaigns across the U.S. to limit how many ballots are counted.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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