Next leader of the free world ‘lesser of two evils’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Jefferson Count

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Jefferson County Fairground. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci - Credit: AP

Ohio's Republican Party should have been cock-a-hoop. A poll on Friday morning gave Donald Trump a five point lead in the crucial swing state.

Yet their spokeswoman Brittany Warner did not speak with any enthusiasm or conviction about the Republican presidential candidate becoming the next leader of the free world.

In a sign of just how extraordinary this election has become, her Republican governor John Kasich – who was the second last man standing in the contest for Republican nomination against Donald Trump – announced that he had written senator John McCain onto his ballot paper – a clear rejection of the man on the ticket under his party colours.

It felt familiar. A little like talking to a Labour MP who does not believe in Corbynism. When Brittany was asked why on earth she was endorsing Trump, she explained it was the democratic will of party members and they were uniting to keep out Hillary. She also pointed to the fillip in their membership in the wake of the Trump nomination. New grassroots supporters – some of who have not been voters before - made up for disillusioned long-serving members who had downed tools in the presidential race (if not local races) in frustration and embarrassment.

Yet even the lukewarm mood of Donald Trump's only party is failing to send people to the Democrats. I would be a rich woman if I had a pound for every time I have heard the phrase 'the lesser of two evils' over the last 48 hours.

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Among those in election agony were students at Columbus University, where we spent five hours in lectures on Thursday. And not all believed Clinton is the lesser evil.

Voting is well underway – there are 27 days of early voting in Ohio – yet it is clear there are still many yet to make up their minds.

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No wonder both candidates are pumping millions of pounds into television ads – it is hard to turn on television without being told how crooked Clinton is, or what a danger Donald Trump is. And they are living and breathing the political buzzword of the week 'get out the vote' – or GOTV in shorthand.

At the Democrats headquarters there is a countdown clock to help aid the panic.

Both sides are talking their own game and believe they have victory in their sights in the state which has always been too close to call. Yet both knows in this extraordinary election, it is anybody's guess what will happen next.

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