Clinton, Trump battle it out to the bitter end on eve of election
White House rivals Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump duelled yesterday for a handful of must-win states in an end-game election frenzy, capping a historically divisive campaign.
Clinton, the front-running Democrat, aimed to nail down her narrow lead with stops in three battleground states, as President Barack Obama covered for her elsewhere, before they join up at a star-studded grand finale in Philadelphia.
Trump, the billionaire Republican nominee, was setting out from must-win Florida on a five state swing, the culmination of a dramatic run for the presidency as a right-wing nationalist vowing radical change in America’s relationship with the world.
The billionaire Republican contender, who has whipped up a populist grassroots movement among largely white male voters, landed in Sarasota, Florida, yesterday and was met by an enthusiastic crowd.
The 70-year-old was later due to fly to rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, before ending with a late event in Michigan.
In Virginia on Sunday, he stoked supporters at a post-midnight rally with stock attacks on his rival, branding her the most corrupt candidate ever to seek the office of the presidency.
Yesterday afternoon Clinton, 69, pledged, if elected, to unify a country divided by one of the bitterest presidential campaigns in American history, as she began making her closing arguments to millions of voters.
“I have some work to bring the country together,” the Democratic nominee said as she boarded a plane for the first of four final-day rallies.
“I really do want to be the president for everybody, people who vote for me, people who vote against me.”
On Sunday she had a note of optimism mixed with warnings of the threat posed by Trump.
“I really want each and every one of us to think for a moment about how we would feel on November 9, if we were not successful,” she said.
“When your kids and grandkids ask you what you did in 2016, when everything was on the line, I hope you’ll be able to say you voted for a better, stronger, fairer America.”
The world has looked on aghast as Trump’s sensationalist reality television style became a driving force propelling him towards the most powerful political post in the world.
Global financial markets were rocked when the renewed FBI probe threatened to sink Clinton’s chances, but were boosted by news of the FBI’s closure of the affair.
But commentators said the renewal of the e-mail scandal, which dominated one of the last news cycles ahead of the election today, had already damaged the Democratic former first lady’s chance of succeeding Obama. Clinton’s lead dropped from 5.7 to 2.9 percentage points in the week since the scandal returned, according to influential data website FiveThirtyEight.com.
Trump is predicting a ballot upset on par with Britain’s shock vote to quit the European Union, or what he called: “Brexit plus, plus, plus.”
“The rank and file special agents of the FBI won’t let her get away with her terrible crimes,” Trump told a rally in Michigan, a state Obama won comfortably in 2012.
For Trump and his supporters, Clinton symbolises the corruption of the Washington elite.
“Right now she’s being protected by a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system. I’ve been saying it for a long time,” he declared, as his supporters chanted: “Lock her up!”