Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump traded barbs in their final pitch to voters as the curtain came down on the ugliest campaign in US history and voting began Tuesday in the knife-edge polls that will elect America’s first woman president or put a political outsider in office. Fighting for every single vote at stake, Democratic nominee Clinton and her Republican rival Trump made their last minute forceful argument before the American people with their own vision for the world’s largest economy.
Clinton, 69, was joined by husband Bill as she addressed a massive rally in Raleigh in the key battle ground state of North Carolina, which was entertained by Lady Gaga. Trump, 70, made a last minute scheduled stop in Michigan to address thousands of his supporters hoping that he might be able to swing this state from the Democrats. The two rallies ended around 1AM (local time), just six hours before opening of the polling booths in the East Coast.
An estimated 200 million people are eligible to cast their votes to elect the country’s 45th president along with hundreds of Congressmen and members of state legislatures and local civic bodies. More than 42 million have already voted using the “early voting” provision of the American electoral system.
Clinton and Trump crisscrossed several stops in key battleground states on the final day of campaigning which the US media has termed as the “ugliest” and the most divisive till date.
This election is basically between division and unity in our country. It’s between strong and steady leadership or a loose cannon who could put everything at risk. It is between an economy that works for everyone or one that is even more stacked for those at the top. – Hillary Clinton
“None of us, none of us, want to wake up on Wednesday morning and wish we had done more,” she said, which she repeated in her other election rallies including the one in Philadelphia, which was also addressed by US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle. “Years from today, when your kids and grandkids ask what you did in 2016, when everything was on the line, I want you to be able to say that you did vote, you voted for an inclusive, big-hearted, open-minded country and a future that will make sure that we all keep moving together,” she said.
“Because I do believe we are stronger together; and you voted for an America where we build bridges, not walls; and, maybe most importantly, you voted in great numbers to demonstrate conclusively, once and for all, that, yes, love trumps hate. Let’s get out and vote,” Clinton said.
Latest poll indicated that while the election seems to have tightened in the last few days, Clinton maintains a slight lead over Trump. Almost all major polls are predicting a victory for Clinton, but Trump appeared confident of winning some of the key battleground states and thus wrest the White House from the Democrats after a gap of eight years.
Do you want America to be ruled by the corrupt political class. Or do you want to be ruled by you, the people. – Donald Trump
Promising to end “years of betrayal,” tear up free trade deals, seal the border, halt the drug trade and exclude all Syrian refugees, Trump told his supporters: “I am with you and I will fight for you and we will win.”
Trump’s campaign spooked world markets seeking stability after the recent global slowdown.
Last week, US stocks as measured by the S&P 500 index fell for nine straight days for the first time since 1980, only to recover a little when the FBI confirmed Clinton would not face prosecution over her emails.
Asian markets were up slightly on Tuesday as the world remained on tenterhooks for the result.