Election drama increases potential for violent unrest
An undecided or challenged election is a nightmare scenario for many Americans.
If a legal fight progresses through the courts there is every chance it ends up before the Supreme Court, newly rebalanced in Republican favour.
This is what happened when the 2000 race came down to a Tallahassee recount and is the outcome that liberals were so exercised about during the brief confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
If the uncertainty lingers, so too does the potential for violent unrest.
"This is going to be a nail-biter!" declared iconic Fox reporter John Roberts, a solid rock of the Washington DC press corp who garners nearly as much adoration at Trump rallies as the man himself.
It was just past 1am on the east coast.
This election has not delivered the clear and decisive outcome Democrats wanted and there is little doubt Donald Trump will now pursue court challenges against early and postal voting.
It's potentially so close that the election may not be called this year.
When the Fox News commentators started arguing among themselves at about 11.30pm NY time, it was obvious that the most unpredictable election of all time still had some surprises in store for the world.
Anchor Bret Baier challenged colleague Bill Hemmer, who was showing viewers the electoral map and showing how Trump could reach the magical number of 270 electoral college votes.
"Why did you make that call?" Baier asked tersely.
As the night drew on, Trump continued to cling onto power as votes were counted in Wisconsin, Michigan and a handful of other midwestern states.
The race to 270 electoral college votes was excruciatingly close and commentators controversially called Arizona for Mr Biden very early, with still 25 per cent of the vote to count.
The results have been up and down all night, with Mr Trump performing better than the polls suggested in almost every state, except potentially Arizona. If the disputed call in Arizona stands, then it's the first time its gone blue since Bill Clinton won it in 1996.
Pennsylvania is likely to be the last state standing.
Counting of that state's early votes only started today.
Philadelphia has stopped counting mail-in ballots for the night - a move that could skew Tuesday night's preliminary results in Pennsylvania toward President Trump.
Full unofficial results could take until Friday, election officials have said.
And US commentators said the result showed yet again that the "shy Trump vote" should not be dismissed.
Originally published as Election drama increases potential for violent unrest