Since Election Day, no state has caused as much consternation for the Trump administration as Arizona. Last Tuesday night, Fox News quickly called the state for Joe Biden despite razor-thin margins there, changing the narrative of the evening and infuriating the president and his team, who viewed the decision as premature and Arizona as still winnable. (The head of Fox’s Decision Desk defended his call on air.) The AP joined with Fox in calling the state for Biden that night. Election analysts criticized both outlets for doing so too early, though they didn’t think Trump would ultimately catch Biden there.
For a period after Election Day, it looked as though Trump still had a chance in Arizona, given the number and makeup of the outstanding ballots remaining. But as those ballots began to be tabulated, it quickly became clear that he was not doing well enough to catch up to Biden, who currently leads by about 11,000 votes. It has been clear for several days that Biden would ultimately win the state, but several major news organizations held off on calling it, perhaps wary of the reaction to their premature brethren.
Finally, on Thursday night, much of the rest of the mainstream news media joined in. NBC, ABC, CBS, the New York Times, and the Washington Post all called Arizona for Biden, lending even more credibility to his victory there.
The Trump administration already had an all-but-impossible road ahead with its Hail Mary legal strategy to swing the election back to the president, and Arizona being decisively taken out of the “tossup” category won’t help. To make matters worse, campaigns are not allowed to request recounts in the state, and Biden’s current margin puts him out of the automatic-recount zone. Trump advisers can simply pretend their boss won the election all they want, but it won’t change reality on the ground.