“We couldn’t face this for another four more years. It has given us back hope “

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Hundreds of Biden supporters congregate outside Philadelphia’s vote counting center and celebrate the end of the Donald Trump era

Towards noon, the calm and silent center of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) was filled with citizens aware that in this part of the country history had just been made. In the largest city in the State of Pennsylvania, located in the industrial belt of the north of the country, hundreds of citizens danced and drank champagne at the doors of the Convention Center, where tirelessly, for four days, they have been counted one by one the Votes missing for an epic Joe Biden comeback against Donald Trump thanks in large part to voting by mail. “Thanks, Philly [Gracias, Filadelfia]”, They chanted on this key site.

Pennsylvania has become the resistance of the Democrats in these dying days, in which an entire country watched in suspense as the victory of one or another candidate would be decided by a handful of votes. The last update of the count in Pennsylvania this Saturday morning (Washington time) certified Biden as the winner of that key territory and, with him, the winner of the elections. He had surpassed 270 electoral votes and Trump had just become the first president in the last 25 years to lose a reelection.

“This is too much. We couldn’t face this another four more years. It has given us hope. It is time to heal, ”said a 30-year-old who was celebrating with a crowd of hundreds of people in downtown Philadelphia. “It is incredible that it all ended here. Philadelphia is a city with a huge diversity and it is very important for us that the victory has finally taken place from here ”, added her friend to this newspaper, although the two preferred that her name not be published.

From loudspeakers at the door of the voting center, the appearance of Donald Trump could be heard live. But the accusations of “fraud” and “theft of elections” already sounded too far for these hundreds of people who were celebrating the end of an era with emotion. The president continued in his last words before giving up with a string of accusations without evidence, without any proof, as he has been used to for the last four years. But since this Saturday the country and its citizens have said enough.

“I don’t think the division will end here. The country is very divided and the followers of Trump are many millions of people, ”said Alice McCourt, 71, who was watching the celebration from a point away from the crowd. “I am really excited, I have been waiting for this for four years. He is the worst president in our history. But this not only ends here, there is much to do ”, he added.

The reconquest of Pennsylvania also returns to the Democratic Party one of its fundamental bastions for decades, seized by Trump in 2016. In this industrial zone, located in the so-called Rust Belt – which also includes Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio – the party found solid support in the working class before the Trump phenomenon. Four years ago, however, the region changed colors, weighed down by decades of decline and job losses transplanted to other parts of the world where labor is cheaper. The regions gave a vote of confidence to the atypical Republican candidate, who promised to defend all the forgotten of the rural area.

The change of direction of the vote does not mean that the rural population has changed their opinion. Many of these territories have supported Trump overwhelmingly. Urban areas, much more diverse and with more electoral weight, have turned in favor of Biden. It is estimated that what has made the difference may have been the participation data. The abstention of many Democrats in 2016 contributed to the Republican’s victory and mobilizing the vote this year has been a priority. So much so that Biden has become the most voted Democratic candidate in history with more than 70 million votes.

Voting by mail has been key in Biden’s victory. And Trump, aware that the electoral turnaround would happen with these ballots, tried to attack him for months, filing lawsuits in this State that have been raised to the Supreme Court. The president’s impatience deepened as more votes were counted for the Democrat, and he activated his party’s legal team to call for a count that was not in his favor to be stopped.

The outbreak of the pandemic led to the assumption that many citizens were going to choose to vote by mail, that there would be a very important increase in this form of suffrage. In 2016, about 266,000 Pennsylvanians used that method. But in these 2020 elections, more than three million votes have been processed, which, by law, had to be verified, processed and counted from the day of the election and up to three days later at the most. Finally everything has been decided this Saturday.

About fifteen feet from Saturday’s Democratic celebration in Philadelphia, a dozen Trump supporters held out with little success before the crowd. “Stop the robbery,” they insisted on their posters. His claims, however, were barely heard in front of the winner’s fans. “It’s not fair. Votes that are not legal are being counted. This is a sham, ”lamented a man in his sixties holding a sign that read“ fraud ”.

Trump’s words that his constituents repeat were fading here, in the face of the absolute reality of the Convention Center. Hoaxes and the spread of conspiracy theories probably won’t end with the result, but at least in this part of the north of the country, around noon on Saturday, it was almost inaudible.

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