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Hip-hop rally: Trump says no need for stars; Clinton hangs with Beyoncé

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are throwing everything, and every one, they have into their campaigns as they sprint to the finish locked in a race that has tightened considerably in recent days.

world Updated: Nov 05, 2016 23:26 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
Beyonce (left), Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Jay Z appear on stage during a Get Out The Vote concert at Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio, on Friday. (AFP)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are throwing everything they have into their campaigns as they headed into a fierce final weekend of campaigning.

Jay Z and Beyonce opened for Clinton in battleground state Ohio on Friday, and Stevie Wonders in Pennsylvania, another key swing state. And she had assorted other celebrities — including President Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Trump jetted around, on the other hand, mostly all by himself, abandoned by leading Republicans, politicians or celebs — no Clint Eastwood, who is backing the Republican nominee, or even the empty chair he made famous in 2012.

But Trump turned into an opportunity. “By the way, I didn’t have to bring J. Lo or Jay Z — the only way she gets anybody,” he told supporters in Pennsylvania. “ I am here all by myself. Just me — no guitar, no piano, no nothing.”

With just 72 hours left to polling on November 8. the two nominees are barnstorming battleground states consolidating gains and encouraging supporters to vote early where early voting is still on; it closed in some states Friday.

But other states will continue right up to election day. More than 33 million of the 146 million registered voters (out of 218 million Americans eligible to vote) have already voted so far, with many more expected to before it closes.

Democrats have claimed an edge in early voting in battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina and Nevada, saying it was part of a strategy to “build a firewall” of support for Clinton that would be impossible for Trump to overcome.

Republicans have pushed back citing Florida as an example of Democratic overreach. More Republicans, numbers showed, have voted in that swing state so critical to the race so far, although by an extremely slim margin.

But that’s the nature of this race. Clinton leads Trump by 1.6 points in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls; and Trump has continued to improve his chances of winning in the FiveThirtyEight forecast to over 35% on Friday.

Jay Z, Beyonce and Stevie Wonders are not mere props used to warm up the audience for Clinton. She needs them to rally millennials, one of the major component of her support base, or the “Clinton Coalition”, as her campaign is calling it.

Beyonce performs on stage during a Get Out The Vote concert in support of Hillary Clinton at Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio, on Friday. (AFP)

Others in the coalition, as laid out by Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on a conference call with reporters, are Hispanics/Latinos, African Americans, suburban women (college-educated white women, in other words) and Asian Americans.

Indian Americans, who form a large chunk of the last category, are indeed voting for Clinton overwhelmingly — 67% according to a poll does weeks ago, with only 7% saying they are voting for her Republican rival, Trump.

Trump’s strategy at this point, for the large electorate, is it flip any of Democratic-leaning states — such a s New Hampshire, where he has begun doing well lately — and focus on rural votes, according to reports, to build up his own firewall.

First Published: Nov 05, 2016 23:21 IST