You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Clinton campaign buoyed by high Latino turnout in election's final hours

The Guardian The Guardian 8/11/2016 Dan Roberts in New York, Ben Jacobs in Sarasota, Florida, Sabrina Siddiqui in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The US presidential campaign ended on Monday where the fiercest nomination battles began – in the rustbelt – as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent the last hours of a bitter election focused on the country’s deep economic divide.

Democrats gained a late confidence boost as a final series of national opinion polls confirmed a small but steady lead for Clinton. Early voting numbers point already to record turnout among Latino voters stirred into action by Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric.

But the continued risk of an upset that would send shockwaves around the world was underlined by state-level polling suggesting several possible paths to victory also remain for Trump. He hopes to galvanise white working-class anger over jobs and trade in the traditionally Democratic manufacturing regions, though also needs an almost clean sweep of battleground states including Florida and North Carolina to win outright.

Sensing possible danger, the Clinton campaign poured last-minute resources into the industrial midwest, a region where she struggled against a similar anti-establishment surge for Bernie Sanders during the primary election season. Both Clinton and Barack Obama held afternoon rallies in Michigan before planning to finish the night on stage together in Philadelphia with Bruce Springsteen.

Hillary Clinton walks back to a stage after a rally outside the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning on Monday. © AFP/Getty Images Hillary Clinton walks back to a stage after a rally outside the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning on Monday. Trump was also headed to Michigan where he planned to end the night, before returning to New York, where he will vote. The Republican candidate took aim at Clinton’s use of celebrities to amplify her final pitch to voters, with a loaded jibe at Jay Z and Beyonce: “Were they talking or singing?”

“What’s happening is a disgrace,” he told his first rally in Florida after the FBI confirmed overnight it would not be changing its decision not to charge Clinton over her private email use. “With what’s happening with our justice, our country is a laughing stock all over the world. They’re laughing.”

“We are going to bring back the jobs and the wealth that have been stolen from you,” Trump told a later rally in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We are going to bring back the miners and the factory workers.”

Under the crisp blue skies forecast for much of the country on election day, his opponent began her last full day of campaigning with a more personal moment: one that highlights the historic opportunity ahead of her to become the first female president and role model for a generation of young women.

Pausing beneath the plane that has carried her through the closing months of a sometimes interminable-feeling campaign, she stopped to show the scene to her two-year-old granddaughter Charlotte via her phone’s FaceTime application.

“I wouldn’t have worked as hard as I have over 18 months … if I did not believe in my heart that we can do this,” she later told supporters in Pittsburgh. “We don’t have to accept a dark and divisive vision for America. Tomorrow you can vote for a big-hearted America.

“Our core values are being tested in this election,” Clinton added. “I know a lot of people feel frustrated and left behind. There is fear and anger in our country, but anger is not a plan. We have got to start talking to each other again.”

Amid continued Democratic rancour over the late role of the FBI and Trump’s threat to refuse to recognise an election result he claims may be “rigged”, it will a tough battle whoever wins.

The Department of Justice announced on Monday that its Civil Rights Division plans to deploy more than 500 personnel to 67 jurisdictions in 28 states to monitor voting. There is particular concern that changes to voting rules in states such as North Carolina may have deliberately depressed African American turnout.

Though stock markets rebounded on Monday in the wake of better national polls for Clinton, Democrats fear the unnecessary cloud cast by the FBI could cost them control of Congress and prolong Washington gridlock even if she wins the White House.

“I think I have some work to do to bring the country together as I’ve been saying in these speeches in the last few days,” Clinton acknowledged to reporters on her plane. “These splits, these divides that have been not only exposed but exacerbated by the campaign on the other side are ones that we really do have to bring this country together.”

Obama urged Americans to focus on the big picture as he began his last day of campaigning warning that Tuesday’s election could be close-fought.

“I want you tune out all the noise and I want you to focus because the choice you face when you step into the voting booth could not be clearer: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief,” he told a rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Just think, over the weekend his campaign took away his Twitter account. Now, if your closest advisers don’t trust you to tweet, why should we trust you with the nuclear codes?”

Defending his economic record, and a Democratic sponsored bailout for the auto industry, the president reserved his harshest comments for the notion that a wealthy Manhattan property developer was portraying himself a blue-collar champion.

“Don’t be bamboozled. Don’t fall for the okey-doke,” blasted Obama. “I don’t think Trump knows any working people apart from the folks who work on his golf course and clean up in his hotel.”

Trump has spent his final days barnstorming throughout states that have long leaned Democratic such as Michigan and Minnesota in attempt to strike electoral lightning and pull off an upset as he kept up a frenetic schedule of rallies. The Republican nominee seemed aware the odds are were against him, telling a crowd in Virginia, a state that has long been considered to be safely in Clinton’s column that election day “will be Brexit times 50”.

Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Sarasota, Florida, on Monday. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

His closing message remained little changed from the themes which had defined his campaign since launch on 16 June 2015, railing against targets like immigrants and the media.

In Minnesota, home to the US’s largest Somali-American community, Trump took aim at that minority group to deafening cheers in a Minneapolis airport hangar. “Here in Minnesota, you’ve seen first-hand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval,” Trump told the crowd.

He added: “Everybody’s reading about the disaster taking place in Minnesota,” he added, before falsely claiming: “You don’t even have the right to talk about it.”

Trump has long made refugees from Syria targets of his scorn, using his pledge to prevent any from being admitted into the United States as a regular applause line at this rallies. However, adapting his message in a state which was last won by a Republican in a presidential election in 1972, he added Somalis to his target list.

The Republican nominee though seemed most energized by Jay Z and Beyoncé, who appeared in a concert on behalf of Hillary Clinton in Cleveland on Friday. He repeatedly bashed the two over weekend. Trump boasted that he didn’t need celebrities to draw a crowd. “I don’t need Beyonce and I don’t need Jay Z,” he told a cheering crowd in a late night rally in Denver on Saturday.

The Republican nominee, well known for a host of controversial and vulgar comments, including a leaked recording in October where he boasted of grabbing women “by the pussy” , also criticised the pop stars for the language in their songs. Trump told the crowd in Minneapolis: “Jay Z and Beyonce use the most filthy language you’ve ever heard,” while making clear, “I like Jay Z and I like Beyonce but the language is terrible.”

With the sound of far-harsher words from Trump ringing in their ears, Americans take the polls poised to banish his rhetoric from the political realm or usher in an angry four years.

More from The Guardian

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon