John McCain's Former State, John Lewis's Ex-district May Deliver Election for Biden

While President Donald Trump casts desperately around for conspiracy theories and excuses to explain away his slipping grip on the White House, counting is continuing in the key swing states that may well hand this week's election to former Vice President Joe Biden.

The president again claimed Thursday night that the election was being stolen from him by officials engaged in fraud, though presented no evidence to support the assertion. His campaign has filed multiple lawsuits to try and stop vote counting in the uncalled states, though so far these appeals appear to have little evidence behind them.

Trump held an impressive early leads in Georgia—which hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992—and the campaign was bullish about its chances in Arizona despite an early Fox News projection that the state would go to Biden.

But as more and more absentee mail-in ballots have been counted, Biden has steadily eaten into the incumbent's lead in Georgia and extended his advantage in Arizona.

The coronavirus pandemic means there is an unprecedented number of mail-in votes to count, and Trump's constant and baseless criticism of the mail-in process is part of the reason that these votes have been breaking disproportionately for Biden.

The fact so many are coming in from Democratic strongholds in urban areas and suburbs is compounding the pain for Trump, particularly in Georgia and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

It will be further salt in the wound for Trump to know that many of the votes that might yet sink his hopes of a second term are coming from areas formerly represented by late Sen. John McCain and late Rep. John Lewis; two legendary lawmakers who faced repeated attacks from the president to the horror of the Washington, D.C. establishment.

McCain was a senator from Arizona for nearly 40 years and unsuccessfully ran for president twice. The former Vietnam War POW was widely respected and ever present on Capitol Hill, though his reputation took a hit in his later career thanks to his hawkish foreign policy, his full throated support for the disastrous war against Iraq and his subsequent suggestions for military action against Iran.

Trump attacked McCain multiple times as he exerted his control over the GOP, despite concerns it could cost him support in Arizona. As of Friday morning, Biden was still ahead of Trump by a slim margin in Arizona, on course to be the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1996.

The president famously dismissed McCain's military record, saying: "He was a war hero because he was captured...I like people who weren't captured."

McCain died in 2018 from an inoperable brain tumor, but even in the last stages of his illness came back to Congress to vote against Trump's proposed healthcare reform, earning him more presidential ire. Trump said McCain: "Let Arizona down" with his vote.

Trump even held onto the grudge after McCain's death. "He was horrible," Trump said in a Fox News interview. "I'm not a fan of John McCain and that's fine."

In Georgia, Biden is closing in on Trump's very slim lead, hoping to be the first Democratic candidate to turn the state blue since President Bill Clinton. Absentee mail-in ballots from urban areas including Atlanta and its sprawling suburbs appear to be pushing Biden over the line there.

Many of these votes are coming out of Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties around Atlanta. Georgia's 5th District, represented by Lewis in the House for 17 terms, is spread across this area. More than 70 percent of the votes from these three counties has so far gone to Biden, with more than 80 percent in DeKalb and Clayton.

Trump attacked Lewis after the civil rights activist accused him of being an illegitimate president. "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk—no action or results. Sad," Trump tweeted.

The president was widely criticized for attacking Lewis, who was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement and was beaten and arrested several times while fighting for equal rights.

Trump tweeted earlier this year he was "saddened" by Lewis' death, and said he was sending his prayers to Lewis' family.

2020 election, John Lewis, JOhn McCain, Georgia
Fulton County election workers examine ballots while vote counting, at State Farm Arena on November 5, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP via Getty Images/Getty