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As Trump Refuses to Concede, G.O.P. Remains Divided

As Trump Refuses to Concede, G.O.P. Remains Divided
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

As the Trump campaign continued to pursue long-shot legal challenges and top Republicans remained split on whether to congratulate President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on his projected victory, Democrats took steps on Sunday toward planning for a Biden administration.

Mr. Biden unveiled his official transition website as he prepared to unleash a series of executive actions on his first day in the Oval Office aimed at unwinding Mr. Trump’s domestic agenda and signaling a wholesale shift in the United States’ place in the world.

On the website, buildbackbetter.com, Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris pledged to be ready on Day 1 to tackle four main priorities for the new, Democratic administration after four years under Mr. Trump: Covid-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change.

“A Biden-Harris administration, propelled by the foundation laid by the transition, will lead a just and equitable recovery that rebuilds a strong, inclusive middle class and builds an economy for the future,” they said on the website.

In the first hours after he takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, Mr. Biden has said, he will send a letter to the United Nations indicating that the country will rejoin the global effort to combat climate change, reversing Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord with more than 174 countries.

He has also vowed that on Day 1 he will move rapidly to confront the coronavirus pandemic by appointing a “national supply chain commander” and establishing a “pandemic testing board,” similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime production panel.

He has said he will restore the rights of government workers to unionize. He has promised to order a new fight against homelessness and resettle more refugees who are fleeing war. He has pledged to abandon Mr. Trump’s travel ban on mostly Muslim countries and to begin calling foreign leaders in an attempt to restore trust among the United States’ closest allies.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Biden repeatedly said that he was campaigning as a Democrat but would govern “as an American.” But he and members of his party are eager to systematically erase what they view as destructive policies that the president pursued on the environment, immigration, health care, gay rights, trade, tax cuts, civil rights, abortion, race relations, military spending and more.

Some of that will require cooperation with Congress, which may remain divided next year. But Mr. Biden may be able to achieve some of his goals with nothing more than the stroke of a pen.

He has signaled that his top priority will be demonstrating a much more muscular federal approach to the pandemic than Mr. Trump’s leave-it-to-the-states strategy.

Aides said he would use the power of his office to invoke the Defense Production Act — the Korean War-era law that allows the president to order businesses to manufacture products necessary for national defense — to build up supplies more aggressively than Mr. Trump had. He has also said that he will require masks on all federal property and on “all interstate transportation.”

The president-elect has also repeatedly derided Mr. Trump’s lack of ethical standards, accusing him of waging an extensive assault on Washington’s norms and traditions. Mr. Biden’s response to that will probably take the form of an ethics pledge to impose tough new requirements on the people who serve in his government.

Mr. Biden has also made it clear that he will immediately begin using the levers of executive authority to re-establish former President Barack Obama’s agenda of environmental regulations that Mr. Trump systematically shredded during his tenure.

Credit…Mark Ralston/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As top Republicans remained divided Sunday over congratulating President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and declaring the election over, President Trump’s closest advisers continue to brief him on possible “legal remedies,” according to a White House official.

That path has been encouraged most strongly by Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, while most other Trump advisers have said privately that the chances of changing the results of the election through various court challenges are exceedingly slim.

Mr. Trump’s campaign announced on Sunday that Representative Doug Collins of Georgia will lead its recount team in the state, where the effort will begin as soon as the canvassing of ballots has concluded.

Some within the Republican Party have made it clear that it was time for the president to concede. On Sunday, former President George W. Bush became the highest-profile Republican to publicly declare the election over in defiance of Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept the results.

“I extended my warm congratulations” to Mr. Biden “and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night,” Mr. Bush said in a statement released after he spoke with Mr. Biden by telephone. “I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency. Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”

Although Mr. Bush said Mr. Trump had “the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges,” his statement made clear that he did not think those efforts would succeed. Mr. Bush’s position could encourage other Republicans to speak out and increase pressure on Mr. Trump to stop fighting the results with unsubstantiated claims.

“The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair,” Mr. Bush said. “Its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”

Mr. Trump has falsely asserted that the election was stolen without any evidence, leaving his party in the awkward position of following a president refusing to accept the reality that other Republicans have, even if they do not say so out loud.

Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have refused to publicly acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory without necessarily embracing Mr. Trump’s wild claims. Many of them have either remained silent or have straddled the line with statements calling for all legal votes to be counted, suggesting that the president should be permitted to file any lawsuits or call for any recounts allowed under the law.

Only a few well-known Republicans, like Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have congratulated Mr. Biden.

Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota lashed out at Democrats and the news media on the ABC program “This Week,” insisting that “computer glitches” and reports of “dead people voting in Pennsylvania” were examples of widespread fraud.

“When you break the process on which we elect our leaders, you will break America forever,” Ms. Noem said, even though voting went smoothly and it is Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede that flouts the normal process.

Senator Roy Blunt, the Republican from Missouri who will oversee planning for the inauguration at the Capitol on Jan. 20, referred to Mr. Biden as the former vice president, not the president-elect, and insisted that preparations are underway to make sure “that the person who is sworn in on inaugural day sees it as a great day.”

Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican and a friend of Mr. Trump’s, said on ABC that his party’s reluctance to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory was a result of the president’s behavior.

Mr. Christie urged Republicans to embrace the message he had delivered to Mr. Trump: “If your basis for not conceding is that there was voter fraud, then show us. Show us. Because if you can’t show us, we can’t do this. We can’t back you blindly without evidence.”

Credit…Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

President Trump and his allies continued to raise baseless claims of fraud and irregularities in the election as they pushed ahead on Sunday with an aggressive fund-raising, media and legal campaign, which proceeded with no apparent recognition of his successor’s efforts to start planning a smooth transition.

From midnight until noon on Sunday — after President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s victory speech on Saturday night — the Trump campaign sent out a flurry of solicitations to supporters asking for money to fund its legal battles. The emails went out at the rate of almost one every hour, reflecting the growing desperation among the president and his close aides and associates as they refuse to concede defeat.

The emails contained the same bellicose language and unsubstantiated charges that the president has used, and called on Trump supporters to come to his defense. “We need YOU to step up,” one email demanded.

The occasional digital message remained the only way the president has communication with the public since news organizations called the race for Mr. Biden on Saturday morning.

Mr. Trump continued to get pushback Sunday on his preferred medium, Twitter, which flagged several of his messages as factually disputed. One of Mr. Trump’s tweets cited Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally who was the former Republican speaker of the House, as saying of Democrats, “These people are thieves.”

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory was especially sweet for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who served as a national co-chair of his campaign and was on Mr. Biden’s short list for vice president. Four years after voting for Donald Trump, her state gave Mr. Biden a win. With most of the votes counted on Sunday, the president-elect had a lead of more than 145,000.

Ms. Whitmer talked with The New York Times about the path to the presidency and her hopes for the new administration.

What are your thoughts on Mr. Biden’s win?

I have two daughters and the fact that for eight years of their life, we had Barack Obama as our president and now watching Kamala Harris, on the national stage, these are things that I never saw as a young woman and the incredible change and optimism really gets you in the gut.

What was the difference in Michigan?

I always said the road to the White House runs through the state of Michigan. And you can’t get on this road without going through the city of Detroit. And I loved how Joe Biden last night acknowledged how important African-American voters were in this election. And how Kamala Harris recognized how important female voters were in this election. This was a coalition that I think came together because of the personal stake every one of us has come to appreciate we have in this moment.

How do you keep Michigan blue?

Joe Biden is a very experienced leader. He has worked with people on both sides of the aisle. He understands the challenge ahead of us in terms of Covid-19 and our economy, the climate crisis, the health care crisis, so he is the perfect person at this moment in American history. I believe that they will be able to get some very important things done because of the experience he brings to the table.

How do you avoid overreaching with a progressive agenda?

The most important thing our leaders can do is to have an agenda that really addresses the dinner table issues for the people they serve. Whether it is infrastructure, which Joe Biden cares a great deal about, which is wonderful news for us, or it’s health care, or it’s the pandemic that is threatening our lives and our livelihood, these are the dinner table issues of 2020. And I do believe by staying focused there, you meet the needs of the majority of people on both sides of the aisle.

Credit…Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the “America First” landscape that President Trump created, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was an outdated romantic trans-Atlanticist. So there is relief in Europe about having a well-disposed friend in the White House who is more likely to support than to berate, harangue and insult.

A former French ambassador to Washington, Gérard Araud, said that “every single European leader has had an appalling conversation with Trump.” Referring to the German chancellor and the former British prime minister, Mr. Araud said: “He insulted Angela Merkel, he insulted Theresa May. He attacked them. It was surreal. And it’s over.”

Civility will be restored, with Biden planning to rejoin the Paris climate accord and to remain in the World Health Organization. He will offer warm words about NATO and US. allies, and probably embark on early visits to Germany and possibly to Brussels, analysts close to the Biden campaign suggested. There will be less confrontation on trade, fewer punitive tariffs and an early effort, Mr. Biden himself has said, to create a kind of “global summit for democracy” — especially in the face of a rising China that is promoting its authoritarian capitalism — as well as a more unified stance against Russia.

David O’Sullivan, former European Union ambassador to the United States, said he looked forward to a renewal of American leadership — if not the hegemony of the past, then at least “America’s role as the convening nation” for multilateral initiatives and institutions.

But there will still be wariness among European leaders — about what Mr. Biden may ask of them, especially with the knowledge that he may be a one-term president and that the populist impulse that animated Trumpism has hardly gone away.

“What is difficult to repair is the fear that this could happen again,” said Stefano Stefanini, a former Italian ambassador to NATO. “If you worry about a one-term presidency, you hold back a lot, which is why Congress will matter. If a Republican Senate tries, as under Obama, to block everything Biden does, Europeans will say, ‘OK, Biden’s fine, but let’s be careful.’”

Credit…Mark Makela for The New York Times

DENVER — Karen Grube and her husband dutifully voted for President Trump, like more than 80 percent of the voters in their farming community of Mercer County, Ohio. But her heart wasn’t in it.

“People thought he’d be the savior for farmers, but he didn’t help,” said Ms. Grube, who keeps the books for the family farm while her husband, Charlie, rises before dawn to milk and feed the cows. “We’re still hanging on, but whether we’ll be here next year, I don’t know.”

Mr. Trump had promised to revive American farms, but years of trade wars with China and Europe, falling crop and milk prices, rising bankruptcies and the coronavirus pandemic took their toll. Farms went under even as the Trump administration plowed billions of dollars in federal aid into traditionally Republican agriculture belts in the South and Midwest.

Now farmers across the country who largely supported Mr. Trump’s re-election are expressing a mixture of hope and trepidation about the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr. Some worried that a Biden administration would tighten rules on water pollution and limit how they use fertilizer and chemicals to grow crops.

“We have a responsibility to care for our land and water and all the things we’ve been blessed with,” said Ray Gaesser, a Republican corn and soybean farmer in Iowa who voted for Mr. Trump. “But we also need to make a living. If the regulations are severe and drive our costs up, you’re going to put our small farmers out of business.”

But others in farm country celebrated Mr. Biden’s win, including groups that represent farmers of color, small farms and migrant workers. They expressed hope that Democrats would shift agriculture policies that they said were skewed to favor huge corporate farming operations throughout Mr. Trump’s presidency.

The National Farmers Union, whose members tend to run smaller farms, urged Mr. Biden to take action on climate change, expand rural internet service and confront racism in their industry.

John Wesley Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, had endorsed Mr. Biden and said he was gratified on Sunday as he prepared land to plant winter wheat. “Farmers like myself, I just don’t think we could have stood four more years of Trump,” he said.

Mr. Boyd said he wanted Mr. Biden to diversify the top ranks of the Agriculture Department, which has a long history of discrimination against minority farmers. Mr. Boyd said he has struggled to get equal access to federal programs and payments, and recently got a letter telling him he did not meet the standards for a new federal relief payment.

“We always manage to help large-scale white farmers,” Mr. Boyd said. “The relief programs are designed to help corporate farms. They’ve got to find a way to make sure the little guy can still stay on the farm.”

Credit…Zach Gibson/The New York Times

In late July 2011, with a Treasury default only a few days away and Congress flailing, Senator Mitch McConnell received a phone call on a Saturday from Joseph R. Biden Jr., then the vice president.

“I think it’s time we talk,” Mr. Biden told Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who was then the minority leader.

That opening, recounted by Mr. McConnell in his memoir, “The Long Game,” initiated the second in a series of one-on-one negotiations that produced agreements that rescued the government from imminent fiscal disaster while drawing mixed reviews from fellow Democrats.

President-elect Biden could be making a lot more of those phone calls in the years ahead.

Unless Democrats pick off two Senate seats in Georgia to be decided in runoff elections on Jan. 5, Mr. Biden will have to navigate a Senate narrowly controlled by Mr. McConnell. The two men have personal ties: Mr. Biden has a track record of working with the Senate leader to strike deals, and the Kentuckian has described Mr. Biden not only as someone he liked but also as a man of his word who understands how congressional negotiations work.

“There’s a reason ‘Get Joe on the phone’ is shorthand for ‘time to get serious’ in my office.” Mr. McConnell said in 2016.

Rohit Kumar, who once served as deputy chief of staff to Mr. McConnell, sat in on the three Biden-McConnell negotiations from 2010 to 2013. “My memory is that they actually get along reasonably well,” he said. “It helps that they speak the same language. They are senators.”

Much has changed in the Senate in the four years since Mr. Biden left public office, and even more in the decade since he left the chamber, where relations between the two parties are now hostile and Mr. McConnell has abandoned legislation in single-minded pursuit of the confirmation of conservative judges. When Mr. Biden suggested during the campaign that he could work with his old friend Mitch, many Democratic senators scoffed. And by Sunday afternoon, 24 hours after Mr. Biden had been declared the victor, Mr. McConnell still had yet to issue a statement congratulating the president-elect.

Mr. Biden’s allies say he is far from naïve about the state of the Senate and Mr. McConnell’s track record. But colleagues say he is not the sort to surrender before the battle begins.

For now, Mr. McConnell is not talking, declining interviews during a delicate period when President Trump is resisting the election results and control of the Senate remains unclear.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Denied a second term by voters, President Trump may now seek to return to a once-lucrative career in television. His family business will also be free to make up for lost time by once again looking overseas, where hotels and golf clubs helped drive its growth before his election in 2016.

Eric Trump and a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment on the business’s post-White-House plans, and the president put out a statement on Saturday disputing the outcome of the election, indicating that he did not believe he had lost.

But as Mr. Trump is poised to once again become a private citizen, here is the landscape for his family business:

Mr. Trump may begin selling his name again.

The fastest way for the Trump Organization to raise money is to flip the switch on its international deal machine, licensing the Trump name to real estate projects like hotels and residential towers. When Mr. Trump entered the White House in 2017, Trump Organization executives said the company had left behind more than two dozen such branding deals, including in China, Israel and South America.

His company, however, still faces legal scrutiny.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is investigating Mr. Trump and his company for an array of potential financial crimes and is seeking his tax returns. The New York State attorney general’s office is conducting a separate civil inquiry into suspicions that the company misstated its assets. The company has denied any wrongdoing, but it may be reluctant to provide the investigators with additional deals to scrutinize.

A polarized country and the pandemic could hamper a rebound.

Some of Mr. Trump’s most lucrative properties are in Democratic strongholds, like New York and Chicago, where he remains deeply unpopular. And his biggest revenue-generator, his Doral golf resort in Florida, has suffered from a drop-off in conference revenue as some big companies and organizations stayed away because of his divisiveness. Mr. Trump has tried to fill the gap, in part, through events booked at his properties by groups connected to him and Republican politics. It is unclear if that patronage will continue, or if Mr. Trump’s detractors will return to his properties. Additionally, it has been a tough year for the hospitality industry because of the pandemic.

There may be another presidential act for Mr. Trump or his children.

Mr. Trump has privately raised the idea of running again in 2024, which could have a chilling effect on his business in the intervening years. Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump may also hold future political aspirations, and that could curb some plans for growth.

Finally, there is Mr. Trump’s love for television.

A onetime reality TV star, Mr. Trump may instead return to television as a political pundit or in another role, those around him say. There have been preliminary discussions about acquiring or starting a Trump-branded network, for example. Paid speeches and a book deal could also await him.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. waited a long time to give the speech he delivered in Delaware on Saturday night. Not just the five days since Election Day but arguably the 48 years since he was first elected to the Senate, during which he ran for president three times. And at age 77, as Mr. Biden came trotting up the runway to an explosion of car horns and cheers, beaming and looking almost surprised by the ovation, it was clear that his moment had arrived.

The president-elect invoked his own spirituality and shared credit for the moment with his supporters and the people around him.

He quoted from a hymn, “On Eagle’s Wings.” He thanked his supporters: “I owe you, I owe you, I owe you everything.” He warmly praised Kamala Harris, his running mate, and celebrated the fact that she would be the first woman, let alone woman of color, to serve as vice president: “It’s long overdue, and we’re reminded tonight of all those who fought so hard, for so many years to make this happen.”

In every passage in his speech, the contrast between Mr. Biden and President Trump was bracing and notable.

Mr. Trump defined the tone of his presidency at his inauguration, with a dark speech in which he notably did not reach out beyond his base of supporters. The strategy had lifted him to a narrow victory in 2016 in the Electoral College (he lost the popular vote) and he sought to reprise it in his losing campaign this year.

Mr. Biden aggressively moved in the other direction.

“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify — who doesn’t see red and blue states, but a United States,” he said on Saturday. “And who will work with all my heart to win the confidence of the whole people.”

To some extent, that reflects what Mr. Biden said during the campaign, but the approach will take on a new urgency as he becomes president.

There were many other notable passages in Mr. Biden’s speech, but one stood out. “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now,” he said.

And even as the nation faces one of the darkest periods in its history — a deadly pandemic, economic decline, political polarization — Mr. Biden was relentlessly optimistic, even cheerful. “We can do it,” he said. “I know we can.”

Credit…CNN

A day after the presidential race was called for Joseph R. Biden Jr., it was clear that the deep divisions within the Democratic Party would continue to play out even before the new administration takes office.

The tensions were encapsulated on the ABC program “This Week” in an exchange between former Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a centrist Democrat, and Yvette Simpson, the chief executive of the liberal group Democracy for America.

“They get concerned when they see radical ideas being introduced to completely upend the energy system,” Ms. Heitkamp said of conservative Democrats in her state. “There is a place that you can go in solving these problems that speaks to all sides and does not radicalize important issues in this country.”

Ms. Simpson took issue with Ms. Heitkamp’s description of left-wing environmental policies as “radical,” calling it “a Republican talking point.”

“You just called the base of the Democratic Party, progressives, ‘radical,’” she said. “If parts of our party, when we bring home the bacon as we did just yesterday, call us ‘radical’ like Republicans did, that’s not the starting place of a good family conversation.”

This conflict over what the Democratic base wants, and which policies helped or hurt Democrats electorally, spilled into the open this week in a postelection call among House Democrats, in which moderate caucus members like Representative Abigail Spanberger of Virginia blamed “socialism” and progressive ideas like defunding the police for the party’s losses in swing districts.

Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking Black Democrat in Congress, said on Sunday that slogans like “defund the police” provided fodder to opponents and pointed to his work in the civil rights movement as proof.

“Months ago, I came out very publicly and very forcefully against sloganeering,” Mr. Clyburn said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “John Lewis and I were founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. John and I sat on the House floor and talked about that ‘defund the police’ slogan, and both of us concluded that it had the possibility to do to the Black Lives Matter movement and current movements across the country what ‘burn baby, burn’ did to us back in 1960.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a leader of the young, progressive wing of the Democratic Party, criticized that sort of argument on CNN after doing the same in an in-depth interview with The New York Times.

“It is not to deny that Republicans led very effective rhetorical attacks against our party — that I believe is absolutely true — but I think one of the things that’s very important is to realize that very effective Republican attacks are going to happen every cycle,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said. “And so the question is, how do we defend ourselves against that?”

Progressives “have assets to offer the party that the party has not yet fully leaned into or exploited,” she added. “When we come out swinging not 48 hours after Tuesday, and we don’t even have solid data yet, pointing fingers and telling each other what to do, it deepens the division in the party. And it’s irresponsible.”

Credit…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

Progressives think President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s policies do not go far enough. President Trump has called Mr. Biden a Trojan horse for the radical left. Here is where he actually stands on several key issues: the coronavirus, health care, the economy, taxes and climate change.

Coronavirus

Mr. Biden’s plans to combat the pandemic include improved testing, expanded production of personal protective equipment, safe vaccine development and the safe reopening of schools. He has vowed to do “whatever it takes,” including lockdowns if scientists recommend them. He has also said he will ask governors to institute a mask mandate in their states; if they refuse, he will work with local officials to get mandates in place.

Health Care

Mr. Biden supports expanding the Affordable Care Act and creating a public option. He has denounced Republican efforts to overturn the health care law, and vowed that Americans with pre-existing conditions will continue to have access to health care. He does not support the single-payer proposal known as “Medicare for all.” He has endorsed lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 from 65.

Economy

Mr. Biden’s economic recovery plan promises to create millions of jobs. He has tied the economic revival to tackling climate change, racial equity and reinvestment in American manufacturing. Among his proposals are a $300 billion increase in government spending on research and development of technologies, like electric vehicles and 5G cellular networks.

Taxes

Mr. Biden would partially repeal the Trump tax overhaul, rolling back tax cuts for corporations and the highest earners. He has proposed increasing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, from 21 percent. But he would keep tax cuts in place for other households, including those in the middle class, and he has promised that no one making under $400,000 will pay higher taxes.

Climate Change

Mr. Biden would spend $2 trillion to develop clean energy and eliminate emissions from the power sector by 2035. But he has declined to support the Green New Deal, a plan embraced by progressive groups. Although Mr. Trump has accused Mr. Biden of wanting to “ban fracking,” Mr. Biden has repeatedly said he will not do so. He has proposed ending the permitting of new fracking on federal lands, but not a national ban.

Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

MARIETTA, Ga. — It took a lifetime for Angie Jones to become a Democrat.

As a young woman, she was the proud daughter of a conservative family that was active in Republican Party politics. Ten years ago, after a friend’s son came out as gay, Ms. Jones became an independent, though one who still watched Fox News. After the 2016 election, Ms. Jones, a stay-at-home mother in Johns Creek, a pristine wealthy suburb north of downtown Atlanta, became frustrated with seeing her conservative friends defend President Trump through scandal after scandal.

And this year, she voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr., after spending months phone banking, canvassing and organizing for Democratic candidates with a group of suburban women across Atlanta.

“I feel like the Republican Party left me,” Ms. Jones, 54, said. “It very much created an existential crisis for me.”

This week, the political evolution of voters like Ms. Jones drove Georgia to a breakthrough for Democrats: Mr. Biden, the president-elect, is on the verge of adding the state to his winning electoral margin, with a narrow lead that is headed for a recount but is nevertheless a drastic sign of the shifting politics in the South.

And two Democratic candidates, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, forced runoff elections on Jan. 5 that are expected to decide control of the Senate, and thus the fate of Mr. Biden’s agenda. With the November election barely over, the nation’s political focus will now turn to Georgia as much as the presidential transition in Washington, as both parties pour money and resources into what may be an epic, double-feature political battle, in a state that was considered safe Republican territory just a decade ago.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

President Trump’s already daunting odds for a change in the election result appeared to be dimming even further in key states in the ongoing vote counting on Saturday.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s 37,000-vote lead over Mr. Trump in Pennsylvania was just outside the state’s 0.5 percent-margin threshold for automatic recounts, and Mr. Biden’s team expected that number to grow by tens of thousands of votes before the state’s results are certified.

Pennsylvania election officials can force recounts with higher margins if they believe there have been sufficient irregularities, but even state Republican leaders have said they have not seen any evidence of widespread problems as of yet. A minimum number of three voters can request recounts in individual counties. Even if Pennsylvania or individual counties were to conduct recounts, Mr. Trump would have a huge deficit in the vote count to surmount.

In Arizona, though Mr. Biden’s edge over Mr. Trump tightened to just over 21,000 votes by Saturday afternoon, it was still greater than the 0.1 percent margin that triggers an automatic recount there.

In Nevada, any candidate can request a recount and must do so by Wednesday. But that candidate must pay for the process, and Mr. Trump would likely find it to be a poor investment: His deficit was in the 26,000-vote range with 97 percent of precincts reporting. There were more outstanding votes in blue counties than red ones, and recounts rarely if ever generate thousands of new votes for a losing candidate.

The one state where an automatic recount seemed almost certain was in Georgia. As of Saturday morning, Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump there by more than 7,000 votes.

Gabriel Sterling, an official with the secretary of state’s office, said that a pool of about 4,200 ballots, most of them absentee, remained to be tallied in four counties: Floyd, Cobb, Cherokee and Gwinnett, where the largest tranche is to be counted and which contains Atlanta suburban communities that have gone from leaning Republican to leaning Democratic in recent years.

The state must also deal with ballots from military and overseas voters, which will be counted if they arrived in the mail before the end of business on Friday and were postmarked by Tuesday. Mr. Sterling said that the unofficial tally of the votes could be completed by the end of the weekend.

Overall, in the 31 statewide recounts held in the United States since 2000, the average change in the number of votes was 430, or 0.024 percent of the entire vote, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Fair Vote.

But even if Mr. Trump were to ultimately win the state and snatch victory away from Mr. Biden in Arizona and Nevada, he would still fall well short of what he would need to claim the presidency in the Electoral College.

Credit…John Amis/Associated Press

As the dust settles from the presidential race, the eyes of the political world have already shifted to Georgia, where two runoff elections set for early January will almost certainly determine which party has control of the Senate.

The outcome of the contests, which will play out two weeks before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration, will either swing the majority to Democrats, handing the new president broad power to carry out his policy agenda and push through nominations as he sees fit, or leave Republicans in charge, allowing them to influence his plans.

In the weeks ahead, tens of millions of dollars in campaign cash are expected to pour into the state to fund a marathon of political advertising, while party leaders and interest groups on both sides train their attention on the races.

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