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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The fate of American democracy is in voters’ hands, President Barack Obama warned, as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s battle for the White House went down to the wire.
With six days until the election, the world looked on agog as an uptick in support for Clinton’s 70-year-old Republican rival delighted America’s foes, made its allies queasy and spooked financial markets.
“The fate of the republic rests on your shoulders,” the US president warned voters in North Carolina, one of a handful of swing states where the now tighter race will be decided.
“The fate of the world is teetering and you, North Carolina, are going to have to make sure that we push it in the right direction,” he declared, rallying support for the Democrat Clinton to become his successor.
“I am not on the ballot, but I tell you what. Fairness is on the ballot. Decency is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Progress is on the ballot. Our democracy is on the ballot.”
On Tuesday, Americans will chose between an elaborately-coiffed populist from the world of reality television and a Democrat vying with a contested record in government to become America’s first woman president.
The Trump-Clinton choice has left many US voters cold and polling numbers volatile, making it hard to predict who has a lock on the key states that will decide who wins the electoral college.
Clinton remains ahead in most forecasts, but on Tuesday an ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll gave Trump a narrow lead, sending shock waves through markets that fear a Trump victory would trigger recession.
Trump – a rambunctious real estate mogul – has been hit by scandals that would have sunk a less brazen showman:
accused of sexual assault, of not paying taxes and of ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the mob.
But renewed FBI scrutiny of Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state has helped mobilize the Republican’s raucous fan base and underlined public doubts about the Democrat’s trustworthiness.