The ins and outs of the US elec­tion trail

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - TRACEY WATKINS

It’s the fi­nal, drama filled stretch in the US elec­tion cam­paign and I’ve joined it.

I flew into Florida Mon­day (late Sun­day evening US time) and the land­scape had changed, even on the flight over.

My plan was to fo­cus on Florida as a key bat­tle ground state but the shock waves from the FBI di­rec­tor, James Comey, re­open­ing the probe into Hil­lary Clin­ton’s emails has thrown ev­ery­thing up into the air.

Repub­li­can can­di­date Don­ald Trump is now mak­ing a barn­storm­ing run through states where he can sniff a wind change, in­clud­ing Michi­gan and Wis­con­sin.

In New York mean­while the city went from bask­ing in un­sea­son­ably warm weather to a mas­sive weather bomb which seemed to suit the po­lit­i­cal mood per­fectly.

One thing is clear after just a few hours on the ground, Amer­i­cans are torn over this elec­tion. Those who were vot­ing for Clin­ton as the bet­ter of two evils are hav­ing to re­assess their views again.

As a glum bor­der con­trol of­fi­cer con­fessed at Hous­ton, ‘‘there’s good and bad in both of them’’.

He still hadn’t made up his mind.

‘‘Maybe I’ll be mov­ing to New Zealand,’’ he told me.

So what are the polls do­ing? Most agree it’s too soon to know if Clin­ton has taken a hit.

But there’s this re­port in US News. ‘‘A Wash­ing­ton POST-ABC poll found that the FBI move hasn’t changed the opin­ion of 60 per cent of likely vot­ers re­gard­ing who they will sup­port. But about 30 per cent say it makes them less likely to back Clin­ton.’’

Polling guru Nate Sil­ver has made this as­sess­ment.

Trump is pumped by the FBI probe and even suggest­ing they can­cel the elec­tion and hand it to him.

The Chicago Tri­bune seems to have a sim­i­lar take, call­ing on Democrats to oust Clin­ton.

Trump is trail­ing in the pop­u­lar vote, but the big­ger hur­dle is that he is trail­ing in a num­ber of the key swing states that he must win to take the elec­tion.

But I think there’s an equally big story in this small piece that ran in USA To­day this morn­ing.

Dana Perino, a for­mer White House press sec­re­tary for Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush, is a life­long Repub­li­can and aide to Repub­li­can of­fice hold­ers but she’s not vot­ing for Don­ald Trump on elec­tion day.

Perino sums up Trump’s ‘‘woman prob­lem’’ - Perino tells USA To­day she feels adrift from the Repub­li­can Party

‘‘You sort of feel like, ‘I don’t know if I be­long any­more.’’

Perino is not alone. Polls show Trump trails among col­lege ed­u­cated women, and Repub­li­can women in­clud­ing for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice have come out strongly against Trump.

Some may vote for Clin­ton, but oth­ers - like Perino - just won’t vote, es­pe­cially after the lat­est email scandal.

So what’s the likely im­pact on the cam­paign?

It will turn nas­tier, uglier and even more per­sonal.

There are claims that the FBI are sit­ting on ex­plo­sive claims ty­ing Trump to Rus­sia.

Clin­ton’s cam­paign ads are now fo­cused on strik­ing fear into the hearts of those who be­lieve Trump may un­leash nu­clear weapons. Co­in­ci­dence? Prob­a­bly not. The lat­est ad­ver­tise­ments fea­ture a 1964 ad of a lit­tle girl count­ing petals on a daisy be­fore it turns into a nu­clear mis­sile countdown.

The Clin­ton camp have even dug up the lit­tle girl (now a woman) who starred in that ad.

Don­ald Trump de­bates Hil­lary Clin­ton.

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