President Donald Trump has once again defied polls and predictions, with a strong showing across the Sun Belt in early results appearing to significantly shrink Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s path to victory.

Trump’s leads in North Carolina, Georgia, and – most significantly – Florida appeared to foreclose the chances of a wave election that Biden could ride easily to the White House. The president’s ability to chip away at support among Latino and Black voters – while encouraging more of his White, rural base to come out to the polls – denied Democrats hope that the coronavirus pandemic and president’s sagging approval ratings could make for an early night.

There are still ways for Biden to win – principally by reclaiming the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that have been the centerpiece of his campaign. And a victory in Arizona – where Biden held a substantial advantage in early vote totals reported Tuesday night – could provide the former vice president with crucial breathing room and tilt the contest back in his favor.

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