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Trump hopes for a miracle

The polls have him down. The FBI cleared Hillary Clinton in her email scandal. And the early vote offers her promising signs.

It would take nothing short of a miracle for Donald Trump to convert his combustible campaign into a solid win, after having spent 17 months ripping apart the Republican Party, shocking America with his anarchic language and inspiring legions of voters who feel left behind by the economic recovery.

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Millions of Americans are heading to the polls Tuesday, casting their vote in an election of historic proportions. The choice before them is stark — a consummate Washington insider who would become the first female president, or a brash billionaire who built his campaign as the ultimate political outsider.

Going into Election Day, Clinton had a small but sturdy lead. The final national polls released on Monday showed the former secretary of state with a 3- to 6-point advantage, giving Clinton a more comfortable lead than President Barack Obama enjoyed in 2012.

Early voting trends were also breaking Clinton’s way. At least 42 million Americans cast their ballots ahead of Tuesday potentially one-third of the overall vote — and data showed Hispanics coming out strong for the Democratic nominee.

Trump vs. Clinton: Top moments of the 2016 general election

On a state level, though, polls showed the critical battlegrounds of Florida and North Carolina — which award a combined 44 electoral votes — on a knife’s edge, injecting a considerable level of drama into Tuesday’s final showdown between the two bitter rivals.

In the waning hours of the presidential campaign, the two candidates furiously crisscrossed the country, with both candidates eager to leave no votes on the table.

Trump managed to maintain a level of discipline, and his Twitter feed stayed on message, despite his aides pushing back against a New York Times report that included the juicy detail that they had pried away control of Trump’s social media account.

But the Republican nominee’s true stripes broke through — his final rallies included no shortage of bombastic claims, including the statement that he was responsible for the Obama administration’s disclosure of spiking Obamacare premiums and for the tanking of NFL game ratings during the election season.

He also continued hammering Clinton for her email scandal, despite FBI Director James Comey’s announcement on Sunday afternoon that new evidence in the previously assumed closed investigation into Clinton’s private email server proved to be a dud.

“Did you ever see a mess like this?” Trump asked Monday afternoon during a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Did you ever see? Of course, the FBI, the director, was obviously under tremendous pressure.”

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He also hinted that the FBI doesn’t need any additional evidence to convict Clinton of a crime.

“She still deleted them after getting a subpoena from Congress. I mean, that’s a crime!” Trump said. “What happened? That’s a crime! You don’t even need the new stuff. She shouldn’t be allowed to run.”

Clinton, ever the diligent if scripted candidate, took no chances in the final stretch. Her voice hoarse, she hit up Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — twice, as she enlisted both celebrity and political star power to boost voter turnout.

The Democratic nominee, long stung by her loss to then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, relied heavily upon her former rival and his dynamic wife to try to close the deal for her own presidential bid.

“I’ll be honest, I’ve had to bite my tongue after hearing some of the things people have said about Hillary Clinton,” Obama said during an impassioned address on Monday night in Philadelphia. “I am betting that tomorrow that you will reject fear and choose hope.”

For Tuesday night, both campaigns have scheduled victory parties in New York City — the town that made Trump a self-proclaimed billionaire and the same one that helped launch Clinton’s independent political career as a senator.

Trump vs. Clinton: Top moments of the 2016 general election

The setting of Clinton’s potential celebration has special significance. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan is an imposing glass structure — an on-the-nose reference to the “glass ceiling” that suffered 18 million cracks in 2008 but failed to break.

But Clinton and her campaign have been careful to not outwardly project overconfidence, especially because Trump has proven to be an X factor that rivals and political pundits have struggled to grasp.

And Trump has not definitely backed off his pledge at the final debate to keep America “in suspense” about whether he will accept a loss on Election Day — a stunning statement that upends decades of smooth transfers of democratic power.

Trump, for his part, cast the election in epic terms, telling supporters on Monday evening in Scranton, Pennsylvania, that he alone could give the American people prosperity and hope.

“We are just one day away from the change you’ve been waiting for for your entire life,” Trump said. “You got to go out and vote. Get everybody to vote. It will be the greatest vote you ever cast in your lifetime because together, we will make America wealthy again. We will make America strong again. We will make America safe again. And, yes, we will make America great again. Thank you, everybody.”

Source: POLITICO – TOP Stories

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