US election 2020: We put Republicans and Democrats in a group chat

By Marianna Brady, Sam Cabral and Silvia Martelli
BBC News, Washington


It started off cordially.

As Americans went to the polls, we put 12 Biden voters and 13 Trump voters in a group chat for a virtual watch party.

The Democrats (D), Republicans (R) and Independents (I) all agreed that this election campaign has been "the race that never ends". But then the results started to come in, and tensions flared.

Indiana goes to Trump

Within minutes of the first polls closing, Indiana was called for President Donald Trump.

Momentum builds among Republicans

The text group started buzzing when Mr Trump took the lead in Florida. But not everyone shared the happiness.

Eyes turn to states in the upper Midwest

As the polls closed in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin - states which Mr Trump took in 2016 - the races were all too close to call.

Andrew, an independent voter from Michigan who was undecided until the last minute and ultimately cast a vote for Biden, said he thought the president would lose in there.

Trump momentum sends Democrats to bed

Then a "red wave" of projections suggested wins for Republicans across the southern US.

Republicans in the chat shared photos of their watch parties, including one voter, Eliana, who said she was at a party indoors with 500 people.

Image caption,
Gabriel (R - New York), Eliana (R - Florida) and Taylor (R - Texas) attend election night watch parties.

The conversation that followed a few of the networks projecting Florida for Trump sent some weary and frustrated Democrats to bed.

Biden speaks, Trump tweets

The two candidates then told supporters that the fight would go on into Wednesday.

Just after midnight on the east coast, Joe Biden took to the stage in his home state of Delaware.

And when the president tweeted, most folks were already asleep. But of those who were still awake, Republicans supported him and, once again, Democrats called him a liar.

Jim ended the night by saying what everyone else was feeling.

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