Clinton and Trump scram­ble to fin­ish

The Myanmar Times - - World -

DON­ALD Trump and Hil­lary Clinton packed their sched­ules with last­minute cam­paign events yes­ter­day, two days out from an elec­tion that has gripped the world.

Ms Clinton is bank­ing on star power to lock in her nar­row poll lead, host­ing back-to-back week­end pop con­certs with Bey­once and Katy Perry and book­ing a date with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

Mr Trump, in turn, has em­barked on a cross-coun­try odyssey through Iowa, Min­nesota, Michi­gan, Penn­syl­va­nia, Vir­ginia, Florida, North Carolina and New Hamp­shire.

The lat­est ma­jor sur­vey, the ABC/ Washington Post tracker re­leased early yes­ter­day, gave Ms Clinton a five per­cent­age point, 48-43 lead. Polling av­er­ages how­ever are closer.

In the lat­est sign of the mount­ing ten­sion and ugly mood of the cam­paign, Mr Trump was briefly hus­tled off stage in Reno, Ne­vada, in a false gun scare.

Mr Trump was un­ruf­fled, although his son retweeted a mes­sage im­ply­ing it was an “as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt”. The Se­cret Ser­vice said that agents found no weapon.

Ms Clinton’s camp mocked the 70-year-old ty­coon’s scat­ter­shot ap­proach to the elec­toral map as a sign of panic.

But the 69-year-old for­mer sec­re­tary of state her­self added an ex­tra planned stopover in Michi­gan, a state that fel­low Democrat Obama won eas­ily in 2012.

The fi­nal 48-hour pro­grams re­leased by both cam­paigns sug­gest that op­er­a­tives be­lieve the race is closer than ei­ther side ad­mits.

Whether or not he is feel­ing the pres­sure as the cam­paign comes to the end, the bil­lion­aire pop­ulist’s rhetoric re­mained tri­umphal­ist.

“In three days we are go­ing to win the great state of Colorado and we are go­ing to win back the White House,” Mr Trump promised sup­port­ers in Den­ver, Colorado.

“You’re go­ing to be so happy. We’re go­ing to start win­ning again,” he said, urg­ing vot­ers to cast their bal­lots in per­son to avoid the risk of fraud in postal vot­ing.

He hit his key themes: prom­ises to tear up trade agree­ments, ex­pel un­doc­u­mented mi­grants, re­build an al­legedly de­pleted US mil­i­tary and purge Washington of cor­rup­tion.

His fans roared back the same three­word chants: “Build the wall!”, “Drain the swamp!” and “Lock her up!”

Ms Clinton’s cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook was scathing, telling re­porters, “It looks like he’s just try­ing to go ev­ery­where all at once.”

Mr Mook ar­gued that Mr Trump’s packed sched­ule was sign of panic that he has failed to break through into Demo­cratic ter­ri­tory.

But Ms Clinton’s late de­ci­sion to head to Michi­gan with Mr Obama and to add a mid­night rally in North Carolina as elec­tion day begins raised eye­brows.

Mr Mook dis­missed sug­ges­tions that Ms Clinton is bid­ding to shore up her crum­bling fire­wall in the north, and pre­dicted she would over­turn Mr Trump’s opin­ion poll lead in Florida.

“Don­ald Trump has to win all of these bat­tle­ground races,” he said. “If we win Penn­syl­va­nia and Florida, he just has no path.”

The cam­paigns’ claims and coun­ter­claims re­sound far beyond the United States.

US al­lies are fear­ful that a can­di­date who has threat­ened to review treaty al­liances is within strik­ing dis­tance of the White House.

There was scorn in Bri­tain, where Mr Trump ef­fi­gies were burned in­stead of lo­cal hate fig­ures on the tra­di­tional Novem­ber 5 Bon­fire Night.

And in Ger­many, lead­ing news weekly Der Spiegel on its front page de­picted both can­di­dates cov­ered in the mud of a dirty cam­paign.

US foes like Rus­sia and Iran have not hid­den their mirth at the tur­moil rock­ing US democ­racy.

Global mar­kets fear that an

in­ex­pe­ri­enced dem­a­gogue with a pro­tec­tion­ist bent could plunge the United States or even the world econ­omy back into re­ces­sion.

The polls are un­clear. Ms Clinton still en­joys a nar­row na­tion­wide ad­van­tage, a 2.1 per­cent­age point lead ac­cord­ing to a poll av­er­age by tracker RealClearPol­i­tics.

But the elec­tion will be won or lost in the US elec­toral col­lege, and per­haps a dozen states are in play. Mr Trump’s camp be­lieves it can pick off enough of them on Novem­ber 8.

His cam­paign has been tor­pe­doed and holed but not yet sunk by al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault and the can­di­date’s own off-colour out­bursts.

Mean­while, the long-run­ning saga of Ms Clinton’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate use of a pri­vate email server – fed by an­nounce­ments and leaks from FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors – con­tin­ues to cast a cloud over her pitch as the com­pe­tent pro­fes­sional.

As the race comes down to the wire, Ms Clinton has tried to pierce through the pes­simism with an up­beat mes­sage, bring­ing in heavy­weight sup­port from Mr Obama and me­gas­tars like Bey­once and her hus­band Jay-Z.

“We are see­ing tremen­dous mo­men­tum, large num­bers of peo­ple turn­ing out, break­ing records in a lot of places,” Ms Clinton de­clared at a rained out rally in Florida.

“Let’s vote for the fu­ture!” she added through the down­pour, urg­ing those who had al­ready cast their bal­lots to help get their friends to the polls. –

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