The race for the White House is only getting intense with Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat challenger Joe Biden fighting a closely contested battle to clinch 270 Electoral College votes. All depends on the five battleground states—North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin—where counting is still on. As per reports, President Trump leads by slender margins in North Carolina and Georgia, while Biden is ahead in Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Interestingly, President Trump first claimed victory and then cried hoarse that he was earlier “leading, often solidly, in many key states” in the 2020 presidential polls but “they started to magically disappear”.

Biden opened up narrow leads in Wisconsin and Michigan, according to Edison Research, as the two Midwestern battleground states that Trump won in 2016 continued to count mail-in ballots that surged amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Together with Nevada, another state where Biden held a small advantage with votes still left to be tallied, those states would deliver Biden the 270 votes needed in the state-by-state Electoral College to win the White House. But Trump still had a path to victory with those states officially undecided.

Though opinion polls had given Biden sizeable lead over Trump, the vote did not produce that kind of overwhelming verdict in favour of Democrats.

Taking to Twitter, Trump said, “Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run and controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely & historically wrong!” This came hours after he had alleged “major fraud” in the 2020 presidential election and said he will be going to the Supreme Court over the same.

Addressing his supporters from the White House, Trump said, “We want voting to stop… We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 in the morning and add them to the list… As far as I’m concerned, we’ve already won.”

Earlier in the day, he had claimed victory in the 2020 presidential elections and thanked the American people for their tremendous support and said the results of polls have been ‘phenomenal’. “I thank the American people for their tremendous support. A very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people and we will not stand for it… The results tonight have been phenomenal… We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election,” he said.

while addressing a crowd, many of whom were without masks, from the White House.

Biden, on the other hand, said in the early hours that he was confident of winning once the votes were counted, and urged patience. “We feel good about where we are,” Biden said in his home state of Delaware. “We believe we’re on track to win this election.”

Voting concluded as scheduled on Tuesday night, but many states routinely take days to finish counting ballots. Huge numbers of people voted by mail because of the pandemic, making it likely the count will take longer than usual.

The close election underscored the political polarization in the United States. The next President will take on a pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 Americans and left millions more jobless at a time not only of gaping political divisions but of racial tensions and differences between urban and rural Americans.

The trio of “blue wall” states that unexpectedly sent Trump to the White House in 2016—Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—remained too close to call. Officials in Nevada said they would not update the count until Thursday. Two Southern states, Georgia and North Carolina, were also still in play; Trump held leads in both. A win for Biden in either one would narrow Trump’s chances considerably.

Biden’s victory in Arizona, which had previously voted for a Democratic presidential candidate only once in 72 years, so far remained the only state to flip from the 2016 results.

Trump’s most likely path requires him to win Pennsylvania as well as at least one Midwestern battleground and both Southern states.

With agency inputs