Election 2016: Donald Trump makes his last stand in Michigan

For his farewell campaign stop, Trump chose one of the bluish states he’s been blitzing in recent days, hoping to scoop up the few remaining Rust Belt votes that might swing it his way

Tim Walker
US Correspondent
Tuesday 08 November 2016 08:18 GMT
US election: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump hold their final rallies

When Donald Trump trundled down that infamous gold escalator at Trump Tower in New York last June, many of the supporters there to see him launch his presidential bid turned out to be professional extras, paid $50 each to cheer while the reality TV star called Mexicans rapists and insisted he was the man to Make America Great Again. It seemed like a joke. Except it wasn’t.

Last night, Trump took the stage in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the far end of a 17-month campaign that has approached the accepted norms of American politics like a Humvee running over a housecat, propelling the property developer first to the Republican nomination, and now to within p****-grabbing distance of the White House.

Trump has a habit of overestimating the size of his crowds, just as he overestimates the size of his fortune and his hands, but there’s no doubt this one was in the thousands – and none of them were actors. Since that June day at Trump Tower, he has gathered a vast, noisy coalition that runs the gamut from poor, white working-class voters to rich, white Fox News hosts.

US election night: Everything you need to know

For his final campaign stop, Trump chose one of the bluish states he’s been blitzing in recent days, hoping to scoop up the few remaining Rust Belt votes that might swing it his way. Hillary Clinton spent the evening with Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga; Trump’s warm-up acts were Ted Nugent and Mike Pence.

Taking the stage in Michigan shortly after midnight, Trump played his greatest hits at what might turn out to be his farewell show. Immigration: “We will build a great, great wall.” African-Americans: “The inner cities are unbelievably dangerous.” Trade: “We are living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world.”

The property developer insisted his administration would “stop the jobs leaving America, and… stop the jobs leaving Michigan.” In fact, Michigan’s unemployment rate is better than the national average, which has been decreasing steadily since halfway through Barack Obama’s first term.

And that wasn’t his only fib of the evening. “We’re up in New Hampshire,” he declared – not true. “Today,” he added, “we’re going to win the great state of Michigan.” Michigan has voted for the Democrat at the last six presidential elections, by an average margin of close to 10 per cent. Clinton is up there by an average of 3.4 points.

In the closing weeks of his candidacy, Trump has taken to calling his campaign “the greatest movement in the history of the United States.” Greater, we are led to assume, than the abolitionist movement or the civil rights movement. The greatest thing about those other movements, though? They won.

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