Can Trump still win the US election?

Graig Graziosi and Danielle Zoellner
·3-min read

By Wednesday evening - day two of the 2020 US election - Donald Trump had failed to overtake Democrat Joe Biden's 264-214 lead in the electoral college.

Though both campaigns issued statements confident that their candidate would win - or, in the case of Mr Trump, had already won - the actual pathways to victory have narrowed to a few key states.

Despite Mr Biden's current lead, it is still entirely possible for Mr Trump to win the election.

The president's clearest path to victory relies on him winning Pennsylvania and three other states still up for grabs: Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina.

So if Mr Trump is able to pick up Pennsylvania plus three of the above states, he will win the electoral college.

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Until Wednesday afternoon, Michigan was also in play for the president, which would have increased his potential paths to victory. But that path went away after AP, CNN, and NBC all called Michigan for Mr Biden with 49.9 per cent to 48.6 per cent of the vote going in favour of the former vice president.

It should be noted Pennsylvania could not begin counting mail-in ballots until the state's polls closed on Election Day, and it's state Supreme Court allows ballots to be counted up to three days after Election Day.

Earlier on Wednesday, it looked as though Mr Trump’s path could rely on the Rust Belt battleground states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. But Wisconsin has since been called in favour of Mr Biden, removing that option from play.

The Trump campaign demanded a recount in Wisconsin shortly after Mr Biden’s victory was announced, but the state flipping back to the president remained unlikely.

Mr Trump and his team was also challenging the count in Michigan, but that effort would also likely be futile.

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A second route would put the state of Arizona back into play for the president, which is not an impossible scenario given how Mr Biden’s lead has diminished. The Trump campaign has remained adamant that there are enough votes out there to flip the state back in favour of the president, despite outlets like AP and Fox News calling it for Mr Biden.

If Mr Trump managed to flip the call on Arizona, he would need to pick up either a combination of Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina, or Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Democrats remain confident they will hold the state of Arizona as the final absentee ballots are tabulated.

Late stage come-from-behind victories for Mr Trump are unlikely - but not impossible - as the majority of votes still being counted were mail-in ballots. Republican opposition to mail-in voting and Democratic messaging ahead of the election urging supporters to vote early suggests that mail-in ballots will skew heavily towards Mr Biden.

Further, districts that are still counting votes and which anticipate vote counting well into Friday tend to be cities or other dense population centres, which tend to be Democratic strongholds.

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