Tomorrow, America will go to the polls to pick either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as the next president.And today, we know, at least this much: Tomorrow, the story of the 2016 presidential campaign will end and another story will begin.
Perhaps, the new narrative will be about the first woman president. Perhaps it will be about a brash billionaire, an outsider who shook up the establishment to become the president.
Either way, the day of reckoning is here after the nastiest and divisive race in the history of American politics.
Both candidates closed out their wildly unpredictable bid for the White House. Clinton and Trump tore through battleground states to make their last-minute pitches to energise and persuade voters.
President Barack Obama made an emotional plea to voters, asking the country to preserve his legacy and pass the baton to his friend and a fighter. He said if they propel Clinton to victory, they will be embracing a “hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted America.”
“I voted for Hillary Clinton because I am absolutely confident that when she is president, this country will be in good hands,” said Obama. She is “smart, strong and tested.”
This is probably the first time that a sitting president has campaigned so hard for a candidate. It’s not surprising given that Obama is hugely popular both in the country and in the Democratic party.
“America, I’m betting on you one more time. I am betting tomorrow you will reject fear and choose hope,” Obama said at a rally in Philadelphia, where he was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and Chelsea, Bill and Hillary Clinton. It was a star-studded event before huge crowds with rock stars Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.
Clinton is leading as the campaign ends. All polls have her ahead by at least five points.
“Every issue you care about is on the ballot… I regret how angry the tone of this campaign became,” said Clinton ending her campaign on a high note.
She acknowledged that voters face a “test of our time” and added that “the real question for us is what kind of country we want to be.”
|The Obamas are strongly behind Hillary Clinton. (Photo credit: India Today)|
Meanwhile, Trump is promising to “beat the corrupt system.” While he reminded crowds of how he came in as an outsider and was almost nostalgic about how “it’s been a long journey,” he remained aggressive in attacking Clinton up to the last minute, calling her the “face of failure.” He said his opponent was “protected by a totally rigged system.”
“You have one magnificent chance to beat the corrupt system and deliver justice,” said Trump. “Do not let this opportunity slip away."
Clinton came around with renewed vigour and confidence, after FBI director Jim Comey’s announcement that he would not recommend criminal charges against her following a new email review recently.
She is backing on the high turnout of a young, diverse coalition of voters to help her win. She has the Latino votes firmly on her side after Trump alienated them by calling Mexicans “criminals” and vowing to build a wall along the American/Mexican border. African Americans are also in her corner.
The two candidates have unwittingly exposed the deep economic and cultural divides in the country. Americans are in a dark mood. They are angry and disappointed both with the process and with the two candidates they have been offered to choose from.
Last week, a CBS News/New York Times poll found that 82 per cent of likely voters are more disgusted than excited about the election.
In another poll, voters said the best thing about the campaign is that it is finally over. It’s been a long one-and-a-half years.
But they are resolute and determined to do their duty and pick their candidate tomorrow. America, after all, is the greatest country in the world and the right to vote is a privilege and they take it seriously.
I think Trump summed it up best when he told voters, “Go vote. Or honestly we’ve all wasted our time.”