Democratic nominee Joe Biden has clinched enough states to win the 270 electoral votes needed to become president, The Associated Press declared on Saturday, a day after Decision Desk HQ also called the race for Biden. His victory was cemented after Pennsylvania was called for the two-term former vice president under Barack Obama.
Various news outlets report that Biden is also ahead of President Donald Trump in Georgia and Arizona, two states that voted in Trump's favor in 2016. (Georgia's secretary of state says the state is headed to a recount.) With several states still counting ballots, Biden leads Trump by about 4 million votes nationwide as of Saturday morning.
Trump has refused to concede. Shortly after Decision Desk HQ called the election in Biden's favor Friday morning, Matt Morgan, the Trump 2020 campaign general counsel, released a statement claiming the election is "not over."
"The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final," Morgan said in a statement, referring to Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
Trump's campaign filed legal challenges to contest the election results in three battleground states. Judges in two of those cases — in Michigan and Georgia — tossed out the lawsuits because the campaign failed to provide evidence that laws were broken. A federal judge also denied the campaign's request to stop counting votes in Philadelphia, but ordered election officials to expand the number of people allowed in the room. The president's campaign seeks to intervene in another pending Pennsylvania case stemming from mail-in ballots received after Election Day but before Friday's deadline.
The Nevada Republican Party also asked the Department of Justice to investigate its baseless allegation that thousands of nonresidents cast ballots in the state. A DOJ official is reviewing the claim, USA Today reports.
Biden, meanwhile, projected confidence throughout the week. On Twitter, he said he and his campaign "continue to feel very good" and urged his supporters to stay calm. Friday night as his margins expanded in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada, he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, spoke to supporters in Wilmington, Del. Biden stopped short of declaring victory but said: "We're going to win this race."
A Biden win would be historic: Not only did Biden break the record for the most number of votes cast for any presidential candidate, but if Democrats take the White House, Harris would be the first woman and first person of color to become vice president.
Decision Desk and The Associated Press called the election for Trump days after Trump prematurely — and falsely — declared victory in the election. On Thursday night, as polls showed the gap in vote totals narrowing in Georgia and Pennsylvania, the president spoke in the White House briefing room, saying "it's amazing how those mail-in ballots are so one-sided" in favor of Democrats. (His statement came after the president spent months discouraging Republican voters from voting by mail, with the exception of Florida, and baselessly sowing doubt about the validity of those votes. Trump won Florida in both 2016 and 2020.)
Trump, who won Texas on Tuesday by roughly 6 points after winning by 9 in 2016, also railed against pre-election polls, saying they amounted to voter suppression — without explanation or proof.
And he doubled down on calls to end vote counting in states where the vote count at the time showed him in the lead while encouraging election officials to continue where he trailed Biden.
After speaking Thursday, Trump left the briefing room without taking questions. His claims followed a similar speech early Wednesday morning. In that speech, held inside the historic East Room of the White House, Trump falsely claimed victory in states in which millions of ballots had not yet been counted. He proceeded to allege without any evidence that Democrats are stealing the election by continuing to count votes already cast and threatened to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.
If you are a committed, grunge-wearing resident of the Pacific Northwest, it is easy–almost automatic–to look at Texas as an extraordinarily dry, hot and culturally oppressive place that is better to avoid, especially in the summer. Our two granddaughters live with their parents in Portland.
Recently we decided to take the older girl, who is 15, to Dallas. Setting aside the summer heat, a Portlander can adjust to the vibes of Austin without effort. So let’s take Texas with all of its excesses straight up. Dallas, here we come.
Our 15-year-old granddaughter and her sister, 12, have spent summer weeks with us, usually separately so that we could better get to know each individually. In visits focused on Austin and Port Aransas, the girls seemed to be developing an affection for Texas.
Houston and Dallas are two great American cities, the 4th and 9th largest, each loaded with cultural treasures, each standing in glittering and starchy contrast to Austin’s more louche, T-shirts and shorts ways.
Three hours up I-35, Dallas loomed before us as a set of gray skyscrapers in a filmy haze, accessed only through a concrete mixmaster of freeways, ramps and exits. I drove with false confidence. Be calm, I said to myself, it will all end in 10 minutes under the hotel entrance canopy. And it did.
The pool at the Crescent Court Hotel in Dallas. (Crescent Court Hotel)
We stayed three nights at the Crescent Court Hotel ($622 a night for two queens), a high-end hotel in Uptown, patronized by women in white blazers, business people in suits, and tall, lean professional athletes, their shiny Escalades and Corvettes darting in and out, and other celebrities like Bill Barr, the former attorney general who shoe-horned his ample self into a Toyota.
Each morning as I walked to Whole Foods for a cappuccino, a fellow identified by a bellman as Billy the Oilman arrived in his Rolls Royce Phantom. Where does he park? “Wherever he wants to. He likes the Starbucks here.”
We garaged our more modest set of wheels for the visit. We were chauffeured for tips by Matt Cooney and Alfonza “The Rev” Scott in the hotel’s black Audi sedan. They drove us to museums, restaurants and past the enclaves of the rich and famous. In Highland Park, The Rev pointed out the homes of the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman along with the family compound of the Hunts, oil and gas tycoons.
The Dallas Museum of Art’s “Cartier and Islam” exhibit (until Sept. 18) attracted an older crowd; the nearby Perot Museum of Nature and Science was a powerful whirlpool of kids’ groups ricocheting from the Tyrannosaurus Rex to the oil fracking exhibit. Watch your shins.
A Geogia O'Keeffe oil painting called "Ranchos Church, New Mexico" at the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art. (Rich Oppel)
For us, the best museum was the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth, a 50-minute, madcap drive away via a 75 mph toll lane along I-30. Don’t try it during rush hour. The Carter has an exquisite collection of Remington paintings and sculptures and an excellent array of 19th and 20th-century paintings as well. Pick one museum? The Amon Carter. Peaceful, beautiful, uncrowded, free admission and small enough to manage in two hours.
The Fort Worth Stockyards, a place of history (with a dab of schmaltz), fun and good shopping, filled one of our mornings. The 98 acres brand the city as Cowboy Town, with a rodeo and a twice-daily (11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) cattle drive. We shopped for boots, drank coffee and watched the “herd” of 18 longhorns. So languid was their progress that if this were a real market drive the beef would have been very tough and leathery before it hit the steakhouse dinner plate.
The cattle drive at the Fort Worth Stockyards. (Rich Oppel)
But we could identify: the temperature was 97. “I saw a dog chasing a cat today,” said the emcee, deploying a very old joke. “It was so hot that both were walking.”
With limited time, we chose three very different restaurants:
- Nobu, in the Crescent Court Hotel; Jia, a modern Chinese restaurant in Highland Park; and Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth. Nobu’s exotic Japanese menu set us back $480, with tip, for four (we had a guest), but it was worth it.
- Jia was an ordinary suburban strip mall restaurant, but with good food and a reasonable tab of $110 for four.
- Joe T.’s is an 85-year-old Fort Worth institution (think Matt’s El Rancho but larger), a fine Mexican restaurant where a meal with two drinks was $115.
Sushi at high-end restaurant Nobu. (Crescent Hotel)
It was all a splurge for a grandchild’s visit. Now we will get back to our ordinary road trips of Hampton Inns, where a room rate is closer to the Crescent Court’s overnight parking rate of $52. And to corner cafes in small towns.
Did Dallas change our 15-year-old’s view of Texas? “Yes. I think it’s a lot cooler than I did. The fashion, the food.” So, not only Austin is cool. Take Texas as a whole. It’s a big, complex, diverse and wonderful state.
Giga Texas, the massive Tesla factory in southeast Travis County is getting even bigger.
The company filed with the city of Austin this week to expand its headquarters with a new 500,000-square-foot building. The permit application notes “GA 2 and 3 expansion,” which indicates the company will make two general assembly lines in the building.
More details about the plans for the building are unclear. The gigafactory has been focused on Model Y production since it opened in April, but the company is also aiming for Cybertruck production to kick off in mid-2023.
While there is room for expansion on the 3.3 square miles of land Tesla has, this move comes after CEO Elon Musk’s recent comments about the state of the economy and its impact on Tesla.
In a May interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Musk said the gigafactories in Berlin and Austin are “gigantic money furnaces” and said Giga Texas had manufactured only a small number of cars.
And in June, Musk sent a company wide email saying Tesla will be reducing salaried headcount by 10%, then later tweeted salaried headcount should be fairly flat.
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