The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has injected a volatile new element into the last stretch of a turbulent U.S. presidential race, potentially shifting the focus away from the coronavirus pandemic and the stagnant economy into a political battle over her successor.

The sudden vacancy on the nation's high court means the November election has become much more than a battle between President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden for the White House and control of Congress, political strategists say.

Now, they say, it is an existential fight over civil rights, abortion, immigration, and the future of health care for millions of Americans that will further galvanize voters and activists in both parties in a contest that had already reached a fever pitch.