Will the US presidential election come down to four swing states?

And will there be a court battle over Pennsylvania?

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Former vice president Joe Biden, faced with an opponent who said, over the course of the campaign, that he would take ballot counting to court and that he might not accept the results of the election, needed a blowout.

He will not get a blowout. It is looking increasingly likely that President Donald Trump will get many of the swing states, which, because our president is elected by electoral and not popular vote, means that it is, still, a tightly contested race. Trump will win Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina. It seems possible that he will also win Georgia. At time of writing, Biden is looking at Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to eke out a victory.

The issue here, of course, is that we will not know Pennsylvania's result until at earliest tomorrow — counting of early votes in Pennsylvania is extremely limited ahead of election day — and Republicans in Pennsylvania are suing to temporarily block votes from those who corrected mail in ballot mistakes. The president is primed to claim fraud in Philadelphia. It is thus possible that, as feared, this election will come down to a court battle, or at least to one side crying foul, and so to an attack on the legitimacy of America's elections. 

[See also: Hispanics in Florida shift to Trump on US election night]

Emily Tamkin is the New Statesman’s US editor. 

She co-hosts our weekly global affairs podcast, World Review

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