On Saturday, a new calm set in.“I don’t think I need the Wellbutrin anymore — no more antidepressant for me,” said Ruth Briggs, 65, who was skipping down Arch Street in Philadelphia. “Four years of depression, just four years. It’s been horrible. And it’s lifted.”In his first address to the nation as president-elect, Mr. Biden admitted his surprise at the spontaneous celebrations in the streets, which he called “an outpouring of joy, of hope, of renewed faith that tomorrow will bring a better day.”An unseasonably warm day across much of the industrial Midwest and Pennsylvania, with bright sun and temperatures climbing into the 70s, only added to the sense of euphoria. People poured into the streets of downtown Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy and a city not known to not take credit (“Gritty Did It” read a homemade sign paying homage to the city’s, well, unique hockey mascot). They celebrated reclaiming a system of government that they believed had been fundamentally at risk.“It felt like every half of every ’80s movie where the bullies are just winning and winning and winning, and you just don’t know if the world was the way you thought it was when you were a kid,” said Tom O’Connell, who, with his wife and three children, was among those downtown. “But it’s the second half now.”If Mr. Biden were to carry the last two uncalled states where he is now leading, Georgia and Arizona, he would win exactly 306 Electoral College votes — the same number that Mr. Trump carried in 2016, which the president has long characterized as a “landslide.”Still, the 2020 election results tell a more complicated story for Democrats than a simplified Hollywood script. Mr. Trump lost, but Republicans gained seats in the House and kept control of the Senate for now with runoff elections looming for two Senate seats in Georgia. And Democratic hopes to make gains in statehouses were mostly dashed. The margins were razor-thin even pre-election, though some polls had Democrats dreaming (Texas! Ohio! Iowa!) of an emphatic repudiation of Trumpism that did not arrive.
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