America goes to polls today

In whirlwind campaigning across battleground States, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump have the same message to their supporters in the last hours ahead of polling in the United States–the country is at a crossroads, and their opponent is the worst presidential candidate in history.

"This is a moment of reckoning…It is a choice between division and unity, between strong, steady leadership and a loose cannon who could put everything at risk,” Ms. Clinton said in New Hampshire on Sunday. “Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States, and if she were to win it would create a constitutional crisis like no other,” Mr. Trump said in Virginia. “This is your last opportunity to take back your country.”

Thirty-seven million Americans have already voted, and between 70 and 80 million are expected to vote on Tuesday. The final results are expected by 11 pm Eastern Time in U.S, which will be IST 9.30 am on Wednesday.

The surge in Hispanic participation in early voting, and a decision announced Sunday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that it stood by its earlier decision to not press charges against Ms. Clinton for mishandling classified information have given a boost to the Democrats in the final hours. Multiple opinion polls that appeared on Monday also indicate that Ms. Clinton holds a modest but steady lead over Mr. Trump nationally.

Ms. Clinton’s campaign will end in North Carolina, a State that both candidates have an equal chance of winning. Earlier on Monday evening she is scheduled to make the final pitch in Pennsylvania, where husband Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea Clinton and Michelle and Barack Obama would join her. Iconic American singer Bruce Springsteen would perform at the event. Mr. Obama will be campaigning in Michigan and New Hampshire also on Monday.

Mr. Trump held seven rallies on Sunday. He reads out from prepared text of late, but continues to question the conventional wisdom that guides presidential campaigns. On Sunday, well past midnight he addressed his final rally of the day in north Virginia, a Democratic hub in the suburbs of Washington DC that outvotes the Republican strongholds in the rest of the State. Virginia is not counted as a battleground State by the Clinton campaign or election pundits, but Mr. Trump is trying to open a fight here too in the last 48 hours. He will campaign in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan on Monday. The final rally will be in Michigan, a State that symbolises the collapse of manufacturing in America and an issue at the heart of Mr. Trump’s politics.

The formal campaign to the elect the 45th President of the United States will end on Monday but the racial, religious, and class divisions it created over more than one year will take long to heal, and the questions it raised will linger.

Mr. Trump’s hyper nationalistic political agenda, particularly questioning the existing U.S policies related to immigration and trade, have unsettled the domestic consensus in the U.S that shaped the global order of the last three decades.

The unconventional agenda set by Mr. Trump has pushed Ms. Clinton also into a corner, forcing her to abandon her own earlier positions on global trade. She has repeatedly disowned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal during the campaign.

Should she win tomorrow, Ms. Clinton will have to rework the domestic social contract in the U.S in order to assuage the middle class, while sustaining the country’s supremacy globally, which is increasingly under threat.

Both campaigns have launched massive television and social media campaigns for the last 48 hours. Ms. Clinton, who could only partly stick to a positive message in the last weeks, is trying to do it through a social media campaign, a mini documentary titled, The Story of Her being shared with 20 million people on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This, “chronicles Hillary Clinton’s lifetime of work for women and families – from a commitment to her Methodist faith, through her career of public service, and her conversation with the country during this campaign. The documentary is narrated by Hillary Clinton using her speeches throughout the campaign,” a promo for it said.

In a two-minute ad running in nine battleground States, Mr. Trump makes his final pitch to “take back the country.” “It's a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities," Mr. Trump says in the ad that shows Ms. Clinton, Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton at global forums. Billionaire George Soros, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein feature as villains in the Trump ad. Some commentators saw an anti-Semitic undertone in the ad, as all the three are Jewish Americans.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 8:17:22 AM |

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