…As Americans go to polls
By Emma Emeozor
Americans are voting today to elect the 45th president who succeeds Barack Obama on Friday, January 20, 2017. It has been a fierce battle between the two main candidites, Republican candidate Donald Trump and Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Both candidates are confident of victory. However, it is too close to call as the election polls show the two candidates running neck-to-neck.
Economy, terrorism, foreign Policy, immigration gun policy, trade policy, Supre Court appointments and social security were top issues during the campaign.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is going to the poll, confident that he has the support of hundreds of American voters to win. He is confident that he will become the 45th president of United States. He has said winning the White House is probably the only way he will get to heaven.
“I want to just say that whatever you can do…this will be an election that will go down in the history books and for evangelicals, for the Christians, for everybody, for everybody of religion, this will be maybe the most important election that our country has ever had,” Trump told the crowd of more than 700 evangelical pastors in Orlando, Florida at an event hosted by the American Renewal Project.
“So go out and spread the word and once I get in, I will do my thing that I do very well. And I figure it’s probably maybe the only way I’m going to get to heaven. So I better do a good job. Okay? Thank you. Thank you very much,” Trump added, drawing laughs from the audience.
But can the controversial candidate transform from Commander-in-Chief of his Campaign organization to Commander-in-Chief of the United States today?
Londoner puts £200,000 on his victory
Hours to the poll, he still trails behind his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton with 46.9 to 44.3, according to RealClearPolitics Poll. Yet, his supporters remain upbeat as demonstrated by a Londoner who has put £200,000 on his victory. London Mirror, yesterday, quoted ITV as saying “one optimistic Londoner has put down £200,000 on a Donald Trump win”
Connor Campbell, Financial Analyst at Spreadex, said: “The US election is now our single biggest betting event ever and we are seeing some huge bets being placed, including one customer who has staked £200,000 on a Trump victory.
“With the US in the closing stages of the campaign and the polls seeming to change almost hourly, it should make for a very interesting few days in the lead up to the election.”
Expressed presidential ambition first in 1998
He first expressed presidential ambition in 1998 on the platform of the Reform Party though he did not run. He would keep the dream alive till 2000, when he runs, still on the platform of the Reform Party. He withdrew from the race, even after winning the party’s California primary.
He, again, expressed a presidential bid in 2004 but did not run.
Born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York City in New York, the controversial politician, businessman and television producer is a political prostitute, having been a member of the Reform Party, the Independent Party, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. He is the fourth of five children and a 1968 graduate of Economics. A billionaire, Trump made fortune from inheritance and real estate business. Records say he “was a builder, and real estate developer who specialized in constructing and operating middle income apartments.”
He would become the “Chairman and president of the Trump Organization which is the principal holding company for his real estate ventures and other business interests.”
With the campaign slogan: ‘Make America Great Again,’ he crisscrossed the 50 states of the United States, garnering the support of the people, particularly the conservatives. Desperate moves made to stop him failed. At the National Republican Party Convention, those opposed to his candidacy unsuccessfully tried to force a vote on the convention ground that would throw open the contest again. Precisely, what the anti-Trump forces did was “to push the Republican National Convention’s Rules Committee for a vote on freeing delegates to back whomever they wish, rather than being bound to Trump.” This move would have resulted in the emergence of a third-party (or substitute) candidate who would have taken over the part. At the heat of the move, the pro-Trump forces stood their ground and were able to sack the anti-Trump forces from the convention ground.
In spite of the strong internal forces, he remained resilience and ruggedly fought his way through the primaries to become the party’s presidential candidate. Today, his candidature has split the party with a cross section of its hierarchy either abstaining or not voting for him. Yet, he believes he is the right candidate of the party.
This belief gave him (among others) the impetus to participate in the presidential debate. The thinking was that his performance at the debate will convince the ‘doubting Thomases’ both within and outside the Republican Party, who have declined to support him. It was a tale of woes as he performed poorly. His attitude was that of ‘never mind’ more so as he did not accept the poll survey that gave the winning card in all the three debates to his opponent, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Those who will vote for him
His family members are solidly backing him. Others are: die hard Republicans, those who hold one grudge or the other against Clinton, those who believe Trump will change as a president, those who believe there is flight of jobs and contract and the trend should be stopped, those who believe white men are oppressed, those who have no problem with violence such as the gun runners, NRA and the White Power Movement.
Republicans who will not vote for him
Party solidarity is key to winning elections. But this may not be the situation in the case of Trump. The party is in disarray and many top leaders have declared they will not vote for him. Some of the party leaders have even vowed to vote for Clinton. The list is too long to exhaust here. But here are some big names:
Others are former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former presidential candidate John McCain and former Republican National Convention chair Mel Martinez. Though House Speaker Paul Ryan has said he will tow party line and vote for him, he has remained a fierce public critic of Trump. At a point during the campaign, he said he “cannot and will not defend Trump any longer” and “instead focus on trying to save Republican control of Congress.
Why Trump stinks even before party members
Never in the recent history of American history has a high degree controversial and loquacious presidential candidate like Trump emerged. Throughout the campaign period, he exhibited a demeanor not expected of a president of a nation, thereby driving fear into well meaning leaders and citizens within and outside the United States. He has been vitriolic in his campaign, hitting hard on various segments of the American community, including members of the international community: China, Latin Americans, and Africans. He has been proven to be no respecter of women, immigrants, name it.
If he wins
The chances of Trump winning the election are slim. But giving the possibility of swing votes, anything could happen. Already, there is apprehension within and outside America. Founded on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia, the former British colony is known to represent the following ideals: liberty, justice, and humanity. U.S. is an unrepentant apostle of “freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.” Over the years, it has upheld Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy: “A government of the people, by the people, for the people.” People are worried what will happen to these ideals if Trump wins the election. Republican U.S. representative from Connecticut, who has endorsed Clinton, aptly summarized the concern of the people when he said: “I think many Republicans know Donald Trump could cause great damage to our country and the world at large, and still plan to vote for him. But not me.” He said he backed Clinton not reluctantly but with “strong conviction.”
If he loses
Speaking to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein, George Will a Pulitzer Prize–winning conservative journalist who ripped up his Republican card this year after Donald Trump’s nomination, said a narrow GOP defeat would be “the worst conceivable outcome” for the party. According to him, “Until the Republican Party gets right with minorities in this country,” Will said, “it’s never going to win another presidential election.” He may be right. But Trump has warned that there will be riots across the country if he is denied the presidency. Already, he has raised the alarm that he is being rigged out even when the election has not held. And in anticipation of a losing the election, “Three Percent Security Force have mobilized for rifle practice, hand-to-hand combat training and an impromptu campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump,” Reuters reported on Wednesday, six days to the election.Part of the Reuters report read: “How many people are voting for Trump? Ooh-rah!” asks Chris Hill, a paralegal who goes by the code name “Bloodagent.”
“Ooh-rah!” shout a dozen militia members in response, as morning sunlight sifted through the trees last weekend.
“As the most divisive presidential election in recent memory nears its conclusion, some armed militia groups are preparing for the possibility of a stolen election on Nov. 8 and civil unrest in the days following a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton. They say they won’t fire the first shot, but they’re not planning to leave their guns at home, either.
“Trump’s populist campaign has energized militia members like Hill, who admire the Republican mogul’s promise to deport illegal immigrants, stop Muslims from entering the country and build a wall along the Mexico border. Trump has repeatedly warned that the election may be “rigged,” and has said he may not respect the results if he does not win. At least one paramilitary group, the Oath Keepers, has called on members to monitor voting sites for signs of fraud.”
She was the First Lady of Arkansan state, First Lady of United States, 67th Secretary of State and member of the national security team that brought the dreaded Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden to justice in 2011.
She was first in all the three presidential debates leading to the presidential election. She earned the applause of Americans as the first Secretary of State to impose the toughest sanctions in history on Iran. If she crosses the threshold today, 69- year-old Hillary Clinton would be the first woman to become president in America’s history.
As at the time of this report, she was leading her Republican rival Donald Trump by 4 points in the latest Fox News poll. That’s the third poll that puts the Clintons back in the White House by three or four points, the Mirror said.
Of course, this is not her first shot at the presidency. On January 20, 2007, she announced her decision to run for the 2008 presidential election but lost to incumbent President Barack Obama in the primaries. She won more than 18 million votes. She would later serve in the Obama administration as Secretary of State.
Though the law professor announced her decision to run again for the presidency on April 12, 2015, her first major rally was held on June 13, 2015. She became the sole candidate of the Democratic Party after her main rival Senator Bernie Sanders stepped down due to poor performance in the primaries.
Unlike her Republican rival, Donald Trump whose candidacy split his party, Clinton enjoyed the overwhelming support of her party leaders, including President Obama.
Her strategy was to adopt a liberal stance on burning national issues, the way Obama did during his campaign. If it worked for Obama, why not her too. That was the thinking. But selling her to the electorate has not been an easy task. No thanks to her Republican rival and his supporters who continually poked her ferociously throughout the campaign season.
Odds against her
Those opposed to her presidency say she may not have respect for law and order. They point to the emails scandal. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) queried her management of her official emails. Clinton admitted using her private email server for official communication, citing “convenience” as reason whereas “The Federal Records Act requires agencies hold onto official communications, including all work-related emails, and government employees cannot destroy or remove relevant records.” Over 650,000 emails were involved. But strong as the offence is, American watchdog groups say “she may not have violated the text of the law, but they argue she violated the spirit of it.” This is because “the law was amended in late 2014 to require that personal emails be transferred to government servers within 20 days. But that was after Clinton left office.”
There were high hopes in Trump camp that she would be charged over the email abuse. But barely 24 hours to polling, FBI Director James Comey announced there will be no charges against her, thus clearing the last hurdle for her. Expectedly, the FBI announcement has elicited the rage of Trump and his supporters.
A look at history shows that tradition of changing America’s ruling parties every eight years may have been established, consciously or unconsciously. Obama is ending his two terms of eight years under the Democratic Party. Will the electorate allow another Democrat succeed Obama? That is the ‘big’ question.
The last time the same party won 3 elections in a row was with the Republican Party nearly 30 years ago, with George H.W. Bush following Ronald Reagan. Before that, it wasn’t until FDR in 1940.
The mood in America today is not the same when Obama won the presidency. America seems to be grumbling over everything: poor economy, high cost of living, lack of jobs, dearth of productive industries, and influx of immigrants, terrorism and general insecurity. Americans wants a tough leader who will return the country to its “lost glory.”And this thinking, especially among the jobless and white colour groups seems to pose a challenge to Clinton. For example, she insists on accommodating immigrants whereas her opponents tell the angry jobless White Americans that he will fence off immigrants and thereby protect their jobs.
Though results of early voting were in favour of Clinton, there is the possibility that she could lose votes in states that allow early voters to change their minds. Such states include: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Trump seems confident that there would be swing votes in his favour though this hope may have dimmed following the decision of the FBI not to charge Clinton over the email issue.
A cross section of Americans believes Clinton lacks the stamina to wade through the rigours of the White House. Recent revelations about her health status immediately increased the fears of this group. The After Clinton collapsed during the 9/11 Memorial event in New York City, her personal physician Dr. Lisa Bardack had disclosed in his report that she was recovering from a “mild non-contagious bacterial pneumonia.”
But above all, the question the international community is eager to see answered at the poll is also the question Americans, particularly the senior citizens are nursing in their minds. And that is: Is America ready for a female president?
Her chances of winning
By every standard, she is qualified for the presidency and every American agree, except her opponents who had either used the email issue or her support for Iraqi war as campaign weapons against her. Also, she has the experience, considering the fact that she had been a Senator and a Secretary of State in addition to other public engagements she had held over time. Many Americans have given her the nod, including President Obama.
“Look, I know how hard this job can be. That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it,” he said. “In fact, I don’t think that there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” Obama said. Therefore, her qualification and experience should give her an advantage over Trump, even as Trump insists that his experience in business supersedes her experience.
Presidential debates are major parameters for judging the level of preparedness of America’s presidential candidates. They are opinion swingers. And that was what happened after the third and last presidential debate. Both Republicans and undecided voters who hitherto were unsupportive of Clinton switched over to her camp. And she has, since, maintained a steady solid lead over Trump.
The Independent newspaper gives an insight into winning chances of Clinton, “A survey from the Princeton Election Consortium has found that Hillary Clinton has a 99 per cent chance of winning the election over Donald Trump. Three days before the election, Ms Clinton has a projected 312 electoral votes, compared to 226 for Mr Trump. A total of 270 electoral votes are needed to win.
The report further said: “The probability statistic was found by the university’s statistical Bayesian model. The developer of the model, neuro and data scientist Princeton professor Sam Wang, correctly predicted 49 out of 50 states in 2012.
“Other polls were less bullish on a Clinton victory. FiveThirtyEight said the likelihood Ms Clinton would win was 65 per cent, while The New York Times upshot said there was an 85 per cent chance.”
Early voting result by TargetSmart
No fewer than 40 million Americans cast their vote in early voting on Friday. A notable American research firm came out with the following report: The TargetSmart study found that “39,697,817 voters had already turned in their ballots as of November 4. Considering that 126 million Americans voted in the 2012 presidential election, down from 131 million in 2008 with another drop-off expected for 2016, that early voting figure may represent more than one-third of all votes to be cast in the Trump vs. Clinton election.
“If so, Trump has his work cut out for him with the remaining two-thirds who have not yet voted. According to the TargetSmart study, which employs a statistical model to estimate how many early voters support each candidate, Clinton already holds a lead of nearly nine percentage points 8.9 points, to be exact among votes that have already been cast.
The study found “found that 47.5 percent of early voters were “likely” to have voted for Clinton, while only 38.6 percent “likely” voted for Trump. The one ray of hope for Trump comes in the percentage of voters “likely” to be “swing” voters that is, voters whose preference is impossible to determine because they fit neither the profile of a likely Clinton voter not a Trump voter, or they may have voted for an alternative candidate.
The TargetSmart Study “found 13.9 percent of early voters falling into the “likely swing” category. But Trump would require votes from 64 percent of those voters simply to even out the early voting results with Clinton.” All the figures put together, the TargetSmart said: “Trump would need to win roughly 55 percent of all remaining voters to overtake his Democratic foe.”
Her stand on major election issues
Clinton has promised to be champion of the middle class families. The middle class makes the bulk of voters. On health, she has said she embark on “universal, quality, affordable health care for everyone in America.”She hopes to focus on paid family and medical leave. According to her, “It’s time to guarantee paid family and medical leave in America. She plans to fight poverty such that “No child should ever have to grow up in poverty.”Responding to Trump’s programme of building a wall along the Mexico border, Clinton said: “We need comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship.”
While Trump has tacitly supported violence by his unwillingness to curb gun ownership, Clinton has said she will “adopt commonsense approaches to reduce gun violence. She has, also, promised “a fair tax system.”Climate change is another vexing issue she has promised to address.
Those who will vote for her
Those who have vowed to help Clinton keep Trump from the White House include: Majority of African-Americans, Latinos, Asian –Americans and Islanders, women, senior citizens (the elderly) and of course renegade Republicans.
Those who will not vote for her
Those who will not vote for Clinton include: Some dissidents in Senator Bernie Sander’s camp who have refused to accept Clinton’s candidacy, supporters of Syrian government, those opposed to Iraqi war, gun runners, the populist group, some Electorate voters such as Washington state elector Robert Satiacum who says Clinton has not done enough for Native Americans.