It’s two days after the US presidential election, and a winner still eludes us. As the ballots from more than 160 million Americans continue to be counted, however, a picture is starting to come into focus.

Now that Michigan and Wisconsin have been projected for Biden, the national race is boiling down to Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

It’s 253 electoral college votes to Biden and 214 to Trump, with the White House in their grasp if they reach 270.

Here’s what the candidates need to happen in order to win the White House.

How Biden can win

To put it simply, Democrat Joe Biden simply has to maintain the lead he currently holds in Arizona and Nevada (light blue states on the map). If he does that, he hits 270 electoral votes – the bare minimum needed to take the White House.

If you can’t see the map click or tap here.

In Michigan, Biden pulled ahead of Trump in the early morning hours as mail-in ballots were counted in heavily Democratic Detroit – and by late afternoon he was projected to win the state. In neighbouring Wisconsin, the trend there has been decidedly in his favour too. Republicans are talking about a recount.

Biden has maintained a steady lead in Arizona with more mail-in ballots to be counted. The margin in Nevada is just a few thousand votes, but all election-day votes – which have tilted Republican – have been counted and only mail-in ballots, which have typically favoured Democrats, are left.

For the moment, Biden seems to have the path of least resistance to the presidency.

How Trump can win

Like Biden, to retain the White House Trump has to hold on in the remaining key states where he has a lead. In his case, that’s Pennsylvania and Georgia (light red on the map above). Then, the Republican has to peel away at least one of those aforementioned states where Biden is on top.

Nevada is very, very close. It wouldn’t take much of a shift to move the state into Trump’s column. If the late-arriving mail ballots – postmarked on election day but can be delivered after – turn out to be from Trump-leaning independents or Republicans, not Democrats as expected, the picture for the president could brighten considerably.

Arizona is another possible flip for the president. Like Nevada, there are only mail-ballots left to be tabulated. The state has a more established tradition of postal voter, however, and Arizona Democrats haven’t shown the same kind of advantage in those ballots as they have in Nevada. Biden’s lead in Arizona is much larger than his margin in Nevada, but there is also the possibility of bigger shifts.

As for Wisconsin, it is heading in the wrong direction for the president. While Trump may be holding out hope in this Midwest battleground, the numbers are moving away from him.


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