Closing Arguments: Trump urges voters to ‘deliver justice,’ Clinton appeals for unity

 

Donald Trump on Monday resumed his breakneck race through the country to make a final appeal to voters to help him “drain the swamp” in Washington, while Democratic rival and front-runner Hillary Clinton also stuck with her closing argument — that electing her as president can help unite a divided country.

The candidates made their respective cases on the eve of Election Day and one day after the FBI concluded a revived probe into Clinton’s personal email use as secretary of state, lifting a cloud off her campaign in the final hours.

Before embarking on her last campaign swing through three battleground states, Clinton told reporters Monday that she has “some work to do to bring the country together” and that she wants to be president for those who vote for her and those who don’t.

Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, will visit Pittsburgh; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Philadelphia before closing with a midnight rally in Raleigh, N.C.

A Fox News poll released Monday morning showed Clinton leading Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, by 4 percentage points, 48-to-44 percent.  

Meanwhile, the latest Fox News Electoral Scorecard shows Trump’s prospects improving in four key states – Arizona, North Carolina, Iowa and Utah.

See the Fox News 2016 battleground prediction map and make your own election projections. See Predictions Map →

“Our country is a laughing stock all over the world. If we win, the corrupt politicians and their donors lose,” Trump said in Saratoga, Fla., the first of his five rallies Monday. “Hillary Clinton is being protected by a totally rigged system. And now it’s time for the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box.”

Trump will make stops in battleground states Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan.

The first-time candidate and his outsider campaign have essentially trailed Clinton from the start, except for a brief period after the Republican National Convention, in late July, when he had a 1-percentage-point lead, according to the RealClearPolitics polls average.  

The former reality TV star shocked the country’s political class this spring when he defeated 16 major candidates in the Republican primaries, among them several senators and governors.

On Sunday, Trump and running-mate Mike Pence held events in seven states, with the last starting after midnight in Virginia.

“I set a record,” Trump said in Florida. “It’s time to reject the political elite and the media that have bled this country dry.”

While victories in the so-called battleground states, which have a mix of voters who could go for either major party candidate, Pennsylvania has become essentially a must win for Trump.

The state has not elected a GOP presidential nominee since 1988 in the candidates’ race to get 270 Electoral College votes.

Trump still expressed optimism Monday about winning Pennsylvania while acknowledging the path to victory will be the Philadelphia suburban and the female vote that decidedly favors Clinton, who if elected would become the country’s first woman president.

“Are you watching what’s happening in Philadelphia,” Trump asked, with polls showing him trailing in the state by about 2 percentage points. “We are going to win.”

The public transit system in liberal-leaning Philadelphia will be running in time for Election Day, after a weeklong strike, which is good news for Clinton and other Democratic candidates on Tuesday’s ballots.

City officials were worried that the strike could affect turnout at the polls. Pennsylvania does not offer early voting, so Election Day turnout is key.

Early voting in other battleground states suggests Clinton is leading among Hispanics, a key voting bloc. However, the African-American vote does not appear as strong for her as it was in 2008 and 2012 when black voters helped elect and re-elect Barack Obama. 

The Justice Department said Monday that it will send more than 500 staffers to 28 states on Election Day to monitor the polls. That’s a 35 percent reduction from the number four years ago, amid Trump’s persistent warning about potential voter fraud at polling stations.

Department officials say personnel will be sent to 67 jurisdictions to watch for potential civil rights violations. The announcement also came amid rising concerns about voter intimidation, particularly aimed at minorities.

The Department has said its poll-watching presence has been curtailed by a 2013 Supreme Court opinion that gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said Monday on NBC’s “Today” show that the staff has not stopped Trump from tweeting despite a report suggesting otherwise. 

Many of Trump’s most inflammatory comments during the campaign were made on Twitter. But he has exhibited unusual restraint on social media in the final days of the campaign.

After days of attacks on Trump’s qualifications and temperament, Clinton this past weekend cast herself as the candidate of “healing and reconciliation,” despite being one of the most divisive figures in American politics.

Overshadowing the flurry of last-minute campaigning was FBI Director James Comey’s latest letter to Congress, informing lawmakers the bureau had found no evidence in its hurried review of newly discovered emails to warrant criminal charges against Clinton.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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