US Presidential Election: Clinton, Trump in marathon race for last-hour campaigns
With the election day looming on Tuesday, the U.S. leading presidential candidates Democratic Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump engage in a marathon race over the weekend in the final battle for the White House.
The campaigns by both Clinton and Trump have become very frantic with Clinton and Trump crisscrossing the country’s battleground states that are seen critical to cause an electoral upset.
The electioneering witnessed exceptional rancour through of the last several months of Clinton’s contest with Trump while her email scandal has seen her early two-digit lead tightened to the Election Day.
Trump had five campaign stops in five states on Sunday and had been to more than a dozen states since Friday as he made frantic efforts to flip Democratic states as he battled Clinton for the White House.
With the entire 18-month race boiling down to the last two days, Trump covered nearly 4,800 kilometres on Sunday as he hovered around the battleground states of Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida.
Of those battleground states, however, only Iowa is currently leaning Republican, but Trump is making a last-hour effort for the Democratic territory to score a historic upset.
The Republican nominee also stayed on point in his message at each rally on Sunday that “it’s now or never to reject America’s corrupt establishment.”
“This is a marathon today. We’ll call this the midnight special speech. You have to get everyone you know to the polls.
“We are going to have one of the great victories of all time. This is going to be Brexit times 50,’’ Trump said.
Trump also warned about a Somalis immigrant population, who had left their war-ravaged country and settled in large numbers around Minneapolis in Minnesota.
“You don’t even have the right to talk about it. You don’t even know who’s coming in. Clinton’s plan will import generations of terrorism,” Trump warned.
Clinton began her day Sunday by campaigning in Philadelphia after attending a get-out-the-vote concert in the city on Saturday night.
She will also return to the state for two rallies on Monday, a sign that the state is among the battlegrounds where her lead over Trump has dwindled in recent days.
Clinton campaigned in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Hampshire with musical, sports and political celebrities including Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and LeBron James, aimed at appealing to young voters and minorities.
She is also using the closing days of the race to try to shore up support in battleground states like Michigan and Ohio where she has been leading and tip the balance in other swing states.
The Democratic nominee currently has a lead in the national polls and has several more paths available to win in the Electoral College on Tuesday.
She also stayed on point in the rallies to argue that Trump has a “dark and divisive” vision of the country and that she is offering something more hopeful.
“I want an America where everyone has a place, where everyone is included and I know there is a lot of frustration, even anger, in this election season.
“I see it, I hear it, you know, I’m a subject of it. I get it. But anger is not a plan. Anger is not going to get us new jobs,’’ she appealed to voters in her “get-out-the-vote” message.
Sunday’s rally event was Clinton’s last scheduled visit to Ohio, where she trailed despite the heavy emphasis on turning out black voters in Cleveland.
Clinton was scheduled to cap her day Sunday with an appearance in Manchester, New Hampshire, where folk star James Taylor was warming up the crowd.
Both Clinton and Trump also scrambled to gain an advantage in some newly competitive battleground states as well as lock down others where they have held leads.
In an attempt to garner the 270 electoral votes needed to win, Trump pounced on new targets in his sights in historically Democratic states including Michigan, Minnesota and New Mexico.
Michigan, once thought to be safe for Democrats, has become a last-minute battleground with Clinton heading to there on Monday.
Former president Bill Clinton made a stop in Michigan town of Lansing on Sunday after visiting churches in Flint, another Michigan town.
Clinton also deployed a full slate of high-level surrogates around the country on Sunday, including President Barack Obama, who appeared in Florida town of Kissimmee.
Obama urged Hillary Clinton’s supporters in this critical battleground state to cast votes and “help finish what we started eight years ago”.
“Now here’s the thing, though, Florida: All the progress we’ve made goes out the window if we don’t win this election and we win this election if we win Florida”.
“If we win Florida, it’s a wrap. We win Florida, it’s over. So we’ve got to work our hearts out these next two days as if our future depends on it.
Obama cited his economic accomplishments in office, praised Clinton’s work ethic by calling her “the Energizer bunny;” and urged the electorates to vote for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy.
“You can’t stick her with a Republican Congress that behaves the way they’ve been behaving with me.”
Obama also denounced Republican candidate Donald Trump on multiple fronts, saying “our democracy is on the ballot” and Trump’s character makes him uniquely unqualified to serve as commander-in-chief.
“Now, if somebody can’t handle a Twitter account, they can’t handle the nuclear codes,’’ Obama said.
Clinton campaign said on Sunday that the race was effectively over and that the campaign believed the Democratic nominee would hold on to Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Clinton’s campaign announced that rock star Bruce Springsteen would join her at a Philadelphia rally that would also include Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
Obama will also campaign in the Michigan state’s city of Ann Arbor on Monday.
“We think we have this race over. This week, we’re going to get over our 270 electoral votes,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said on Sunday.
As the campaign closes on Monday, nationally, the ABC/Washington Post tracking poll shows Clinton ahead by five points, with 48 percent to Trump’s 43 per cent.
The final NBC/Wall St. Journal poll also showed Clinton ahead by four points, with 44 percent to Trump’s 40 per cent.
A final poll by Morning Consult for Politico found Clinton leading by 45 per cent to Trump’s 42 per cent nationally.
However, the USC/L.A. Times “Daybreak” tracking poll, which consistently has shown a stronger result for Trump than any other major survey, showed him with a five-point lead of 48 per cent and to Clinton’s 43 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign continues to use its huge financial advantage over Trump to press its case to swing voters on the airwaves.
The campaign on Sunday released two national ads appealing to moderate and Republican voters to reject Trump and embrace Clinton.
Both ads feature straight-to-camera testimonials from Republican military veterans who say they cannot vote for their party’s nominee, citing Trump’s comments about women.
Another two-minute ad was set to air Monday night, aimed at reaching about 20 million people, according to a campaign aide.
Trump also released a closing campaign ad, a two-minute spot tying Clinton to the “failed and corrupt political establishment” and “global special interests.”
The ad, which features images of piles of cash along with Jewish corporate and financial leaders, including Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, was sharply criticised by the Anti-Defamation League for anti-Semitic overtones.
With the announcement on Sunday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) clearing Clinton over email scandal that plummets her ratings and tightened her lead over Trump, Clinton’s campaign has maintained a more optimistic look at her victory.