Here we go into who knows what. With tensions running high and citizens on edge, America braced itself for Tuesday's presidential election, one of the most contentious races in the history of the country.
Fearing violent demonstrations, businesses in cities such as San Francisco and New York boarded up their windows as states prepared to deploy National Guard soldiers in serious numbers should angry supporters of either candidate take to the streets.
President Donald Trump, in last-hour stumps across several key states, continued his vitriolic rhetoric, promising not to accept defeat and to call in lawyers should voting not go his way. On Sunday, the Texas Supreme Court rejected Republican efforts to invalidate more than 127,000 votes in Democrat-leaning Harris County.
State GOP officials had claimed drive-in polling sites were illegal. Trump also promised to file lawsuits in Pennsylvania, before voting counts are finished, where the president and Democratic candidate Joe Biden are running neck-and-neck in recent polls.
“We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” Trump said Sunday.
The president, in a late-night Florida rally that stretched into the early hours of Monday, ramped up tensions about the election and downplayed the coronavirus pandemic, which has recently spiked in record numbers and claimed the lives of more than 231,000 Americans.
Trump suggested to screaming supporters that he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top epidemiologist and the person Americans trust most to tell the truth about the deadly virus.
"Let me wait until a little after the election," Trump responded to shouts of "Fire Fauci!" The president, in recent days, has falsely claimed the country has "turned the corner" in fighting the epidemic, even as the numbers of confirmed cases continued to rise.
As early voting ended Monday, Trump continued his hardline attack on the nation's voting system, saying it is rife with widespread fraud, despite the absence of evidence supporting that rhetoric. Americans fearful of contracting COVID-19 have voted early, or by mail, in staggering numbers. As of Monday, more than 95 million votes had already been cast, a record-breaking number that constitutes 69% of the entire voter turnout for the 2016 election.
The latest polls, as the country hurtles toward Tuesday's election, showed Biden ahead.
He leads in the Northern battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well as in Florida and Arizona, according to a poll of likely voters conducted by The New York Times and Siena College. In the battleground state of Wisconsin, Biden has a majority of the vote, leading Trump by 11 points, 52% to 41%.
Asked Sunday to react to Trump's claims of a rigged voting system in America, Biden responded: “The president is not going to steal this election.”