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Ugliest-ever US campaign ends...now the verdict

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump traded barbs in their final pitch to voters as the curtain came down on the ugliest campaign in the US history and voting began on 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 vision for the world’s largest economy.

Clinton, 69, was joined by husband Bill as she addressed a rally in Raleigh in 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 1 am (local time), six hours before the opening of 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,” Clinton told a cheering crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“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 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.

The 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 win for Clinton, but Trump appeared confident of sweeping some of the key states. 

Major Controversies

1. Hillary Clinton’s email scandal: Despite the State Department releasing thousands of pages of e-mails, controversy still shrouds Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server over assigned departmental servers during her tenure as Secretary of State. While Clinton claimed its use as for convenience, detractors are suspicious that she may have deleted e-mails that belong in the public domain. Clinton herself has admitted to deleting e-mails that she regarded as personal
  
2. Assault charges against Donald Trump: Many women came out of the closet and acused the Republican candidate of sexual assault. Also, Trump wanted everyone to believe that he was just boasting when he talked in a leaked recording from 2005 about the way he treated women

Record 46.2 mn polled in early voting

A record 46.2 million of the estimated 200 million voters have exercised their franchise in the 2016 US presidential elections before the official voting day, surpassing the 2012 record when 32.3 million people had voted in advance.

Experts said the massive turnout in 2016 elections in early voting reflects the change in the voting patterns of Americans. “Some voters are clearly changing as they opted to vote early instead of the election day,” said Michael McDonald, an early-voting expert who runs the elections project.

He, however, said high level of early voting may also be a sign of increased overall turnout. McDonald said there were signs that Clinton would benefit from early voting. “You can look at the demographics of these folks. I can tell you for sure it is not a surge of older white men making up the unaffiliated,” he said.

“In comparison to 2012, there are more white women than white men among unaffiliateds, and African-Americans, there are some, and other persons of colour. Don’t think of these as monolithically white males, that’s wrong, don’t think of them as independents, because independents tend to break more Republican than unaffiliateds,” he said. 

Show of Strength

1. Pop diva Lady Gaga closes out Hillary Clinton’s star-studded campaign with a call for reconciliation with Donald Trump’s supporters after one of the most divisive presidential election campaigns in memory
  
2. President Obama’s popularity rating has hit a new high at 56 per cent, according to a latest poll, just before the polls to elect his successor
  
3. Hillary Clinton has 70% chance of winning the White House race 

Indian-American women making mark in 2016 polls  

Indian-American women politicians are making a mark in this year’s general elections in the USA with two Democratic leaders Kamala Harris and Pramila Jayapal all set to make history.

Kamala, 51, is all set to be elected as the first Indian- American Senator from California while Pramila, 51, is all set to enter the US House of Representative from Washington State.

This is seen as a direct effect of Clinton, 69, the first-ever woman candidate of a major political party and also a result of political success of two-term South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who as the first Indian-American woman governor has made an impact at the national level.

Two top positions in the Clinton campaign are held by Indian-American women.

Neera Tandon

Neera Tandon, who heads the Center for American Progress, a top American think-tank, has been appointed Co-Chair of the Clinton Transition team. She is highly being speculated as a potential Cabinet nominee in a Clinton administration. She was a key member of the Democratic Platform team.

Huma Abdein

Clinton’s closest personal aide Huma Abdein, whose father was from India and mother from Pakistan, is the vice-chairwoman of the Clinton Campaign. She is considered as one of the most powerful individual in the Clinton Campaign.

Mini Timmaraju

Mini Timmaraju, who once served as chief of staff of Congressman Ami Bera, is women’s vote director at Hillary for America. She was also the women’s outreach director for Clinton Campaign.

Others

Maya Harris is one of the key policy advisors to the Clinton Campaign. 

Based in California, Shefali Razdan Duggal is a key player in Clinton’s national financial team. She is Democratic National Committee’s National Finance Committee and is a Co- Chair for the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum.

Indian-American women are also not far behind in the Republican party. California-based Harmeet Dhillon is the National Committee woman in the Republican National Committee. 

Trump beats Clinton in Google searches 

Donald Trump might be trailing in surveys, but the Republican nominee is more popular than his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in Google searches in the US.

Data released by Google shows Trump dominating search in 38 states till Monday, including in the battleground states of Florida and Michigan.

Google data also show that immigration is the top Trump-related search topic, followed by abortion and race issues, Fox News reported.

“If you take a deeper look at the information, you’ll see that the top five related searches to Mr Trump are immigration, race, abortion, ISIS, and the economy – all hot button issues throughout this campaign,” social media expert and President of JRM Comm Jason Mollica was quoted as saying.

“When it comes to Mr Trump, people still want to know more. It also means that potential voters want to read what he said in the last 24-48 hours,” he said.

Mollica noted, however, that the search data from Google should not be seen as a surge of voting for Trump.

“It does mean that people are actively gathering and reading information in the last hours before Election Day,” he said. 
Agencies

Agencies

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