/ 5 November 2016

Condoms handed out at Trump rally, Clinton enlists megastars ahead of US election

Hillary Clinton speaks during the presidential town hall debate with Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University.
Hillary Clinton speaks during the presidential town hall debate with Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University.

“Bomb the s*** out of ISIS,” “Protect yourself from Trump … if [he] had his way, abortion would no longer be safe or legal in America.” “If Trump has his way, Mexican-American or American Muslim? You wouldn’t be able to be a federal judge.” 

These are some of the messages written on T-shirts and condom packs distributed at the campaign rallies of United States presidential candidates Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump ahead of Tuesday’s election. 

With only a few days left, Clinton, Trump and their surrogates have been fanning out across key battleground states in a bid to garner support in what is expected to be a closely contested election. 

The 2016 US election campaign is perhaps the most polarised in American history, with the two candidates hardly missing opportunities to air out dirty linen against each other in public. 

Trump has painted Clinton as “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency” after the controversy over her private email server while secretary of state, the millions she reportedly earned from speeches to Wall Street banks and corporations, and the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of donations from regimes that oppress women and LGBTI people. 

Clinton, on the other hand, has used several platforms in the past few months to lambast Trump – who faces a string of sexual harassment allegations, saying he was unfit to be president. 

About 200 million people have registered to vote for the first time in US history. In what appeared to be a well-calculated strategy to drum up support among black Americans and the youth ahead of Tuesday’s elections, Clinton last night enlisted some star power on Friday with a concert featuring Jay-Z and Beyonce, Chance the Rapper and Big Sean. 

More than 20 000 people attended the Clinton event in Cleveland. About 200km away, Trump held his election campaign rally at Wilmington, Ohio, where he expressed his confidence in winning the White House. 

Trump promised to send 20 000 to 30 000 combat troops to fight Isis in the Middle East, build a wall on the border with Mexico, punish women who have abortions and ban Muslims from entering the United States if he wins the election. 

But Sarah Inskeep from a local reproductive health care organisation, Planned Parenthood, is adamant that the Stop Toxic Trump campaign started by her organisation few months ago, would go a long way to stop him from taking over the world’s most powerful position. 

“We started distributing the condoms at the Republican National Convention in June. They [the condoms] got a lot of attention because the messaging on them is very strong. 

“If you vote Trump, he’s going to take away access to affordable contraceptive and preventative services. All the essential basic health care things will be stripped away,” said Inskeep. 

Ohio Republican Party communications director Brittany Warner earlier told journalists Trump did not enjoy the support of prominent Republican leaders in Ohio, including Governor John Kasich. 

However, she believed he stand a goods chance to win Ohio, which is considered the most important swing state in the US. 

The Clinton campaign team has also claimed she would emerge victorious in Ohio. Both Jay-Z and Beyonce urged their fans to go out in numbers to support Hillary Clinton’s ambition to become the first woman president in the US.