Everything has been said. Political pundits and armchair analysts have covered every scenario, every possibility and called every possible outcome. Ergo, someone has got it correct. Even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day.
Fact is no one can guess the outcome or even go beyond an educated fling at the target that there will be a close race. Never in the history of American politics have there been two presidential candidates who are as flat-lined as these two, not even in the case of George Bush Jr.
If I were to bet my money on this and since somebody has to be declared a winner (go with a gut feeling rather than the niggardly signposting available) I’d say Hillary will lead not because she speeds up or has a second wind but because Trump will fade away gradually as the electoral college is voted in and its pledges made public. The top seven betting agencies internationally are offering an average of 4 to 1 odds for Trump and evens for Hillary. Ladbrookes, for example, is offering an 83 percent chance to Clinton's win.
With the popular vote counting for a whistle in the wind and the pledges already recorded, it doesn’t matter how many people vote for Trump or Hillary, if the electors stand by their promise which, by convention, they must.
Most people haven’t figured out that people do not directly elect a president. It is the 538 electors who get to do it and they will be casting their vote for several days ahead.
With 36 hours to go for this electoral college to gain votes from the public to nominate the 45th president, are there any sudden bump ups on the cards? The gun scare that took Trump off the stage temporarily and then saw him return to complete his speech in Reno may have underscored his guts but the John Wayne bravado didn’t really fly as a story and fell from charts. But his blunt name-calling of Hillary as a crook and guilty of being corrupt may well have stuck in people's mind.
Meanwhile, the exquisitely timed back-off by the FBI on Hillary may be a little too late what with over 40 million votes already cast and certain to be a contender for the possible but improbably call for a ‘mistrial’ in case she loses.
It also looks like a set up.
In the interim the terror alert would have had more impact but even then as things stand Hillary seems to be well positioned to be a lesser ‘loser’ of the two.
Neither the American people nor the world at large views either as a winner. There is no 'Kennedyesque' charm and glamour, no ruthless 'Reaganism', no 'LBJ' crassness of power, not even any 'Nixonlike' skulduggery or even a touch of 'Obama rhetoric'.
Battered and bruised in the past six months neither Trump nor Hillary are coming bright eyed and bushy tailed into the Oval office. The grubby legacies of their campaign and what they stood for and how they spoke will not fade away that easily and Senate and the House will give this next Presidency a very hard time.
Come Tuessday/Wednesday a new era will take over. No brief, shining moments, no grand spot, no pennants for 'Camelot', simply two weary and bar brawled candidates staggering into victory and defeat and a tired nation relieved that for better or worse the embarrassing soap opera is over.
So much for the most powerful person in the world.
First Published On : Nov 7, 2016 19:45 IST