US elections: 'Superstitious' Donald Trump plans low-key party in hometown

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Wilmington, Ohio, US
 During this bitter presidential campaign, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have traversed almost every corner of the United States, appealing to America's heartland with messages that are worlds apart. But on Tuesday, they will end this race in almost exactly the same place: around 20 blocks apart in New York City.

Both candidates are holding election night parties in Manhattan, on either side of Times Square. It's known as the 'Crossroads of the World' - a symbolic location to be sure - but one that has the locals groaning. That part of the city is already a traffic nightmare, a terror target and a tourist trap, and that was before you threw the two most polarising figures in America into the mix.

The NYPD are bracing for a difficult couple of days, on high alert after a terror threat was received for the day before the election, and managing security around not one but two presidential parties, as well as Times Square itself, where many thousands of extra visitors are expected to head to watch the results.

Unlike most presidential candidates, who spend election night in the warm embrace of their hometowns, both Trump and Clinton have strange relationships to New York.

The grey cloud over Hillary Clinton has not lifted and voters know it
Clinton is an Illinois-born transplant with a Midwest accent, who still doesn't even live in the city, but has a warm relationship with it, winning two senate elections here and a strong endorsement in the primaries. Trump is a native-born son, who is literally part of the landscape, yet his politics have proved so repellent to this great melting pot, where a third of residents are immigrants and a quarter are black, that he couldn't even win his home borough of Manhattan in the primary race.

Trump is quintessentially New York in some ways of course - it's loud, brash and real estate-obsessed, just like him. From his accent to his exaggerated hand-guestures, he's unmistakably a local. One of his greatest supporters is a New York Mayor of another era, Rudy Giuliani, who will no doubt be by his side on election night at his invitation-only party.

Despite running his campaign from New York's Trump Tower and repeatedly hosting campaign events at Trump properties, on election night he's throwing a "victory party" at the Hilton Midtown - an unremarkable hotel owned by a different dynastic family. It will be fairly low-key by Trump standards because the candidate himself is "superstitious", a source told New York magazine.

But given how controversial a figure he is in his own hometown, it's little wonder perhaps he's throwing a discreet party.

"He's a New Yorker in terms of where he lives but he's out of step in terms of what this city is about," New York mayor Bill de Blasio, a progressive Democrat who does his press conferences in English and Spanish, said during the primaries.

"We're a city of inclusion, we're an immigrant city… it has been for generations. He does not reflect those values." (The loathing is mutual - Trump has called de Blasio the worst mayor the city's ever had.)

With the city's communities of colour in particular, the enmity towards Donald Trump runs deep.

He and his father's company was sued for discriminating against prospective black tenants in the 1970s and refusing to rent them apartments (they settled the case). In 1990, he took out full page ads in the local papers calling for the death penalty for five black and Latino teenagers - known as the 'Central Park Five' - who were convicted in a brutal rape case but later exonerated by DNA evidence.

Two years ago, I watched a documentary about the Central Park Five at a theatre in Brooklyn, New York, on Martin Luther King Day. This was six months before he kicked off his presidential campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, but the crowd's view of him was already well-formed. When his face came up on screen, the mostly black, older audience in the theatre began to boo.

"Bury Trump in a landslide: Restore US honour with a giant defeat of the fearmongering demagogue" the liberal-leaning tabloid New York Daily News proclaimed on its front page last month.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have traversed almost every corner of the United States, appealing to America's heartland with messages that are worlds apart.
On election night, not far from Trump's party, Clinton will host a bash of her own at the Javits Centre, a huge convention centre on Manhattan's west side overlooking the Hudson River. It has a literal glass ceiling, just like the metaphorical one she hopes to shatter on Tuesday.

She's not a New Yorker by any definition. She doesn't live in the city, she doesn't talk like a local and she supports the Chicago Cubs, not the Yankees or the Mets.

Her relationship to the city is more of a marriage of convenience, one that is distanced but entirely cordial.

In 1999 the Clintons needed to secure a residence in New York state so she could meet the rules to run for the senate here. Rather than buy a house in the city, the couple bought a large Dutch Colonial home in Chappaqua, a leafy hamlet in the affluent commuter suburbs north of the city. They moved in as soon as they left the White House.

During the Senate race, she was accused of being an opportunistic interloper, a carpetbagger with no connection the state, especially by one of her opponents in the race, Rudy Giuliani. "I think New Yorkers will elect a real New Yorker," he said, dismissively, during the campaign. She won, and was re-elected for a second term in 2006.

Long after she left the Senate, the Clintons have remained in the Chappaqua home, commuting into the city for work - her campaign headquarters is in Downtown Brooklyn and she has an office in the city, while Bill worked in the family's foundation offices for a decade in Harlem before they relocated to the Financial District.

Thanks to WikiLeaks we know she's embraced by Wall Street, but other stalwarts, sectors and communities in the city have supported her campaign too - the stars of Broadway held a major fundraiser, the LGBT community has rallied to her side and the campaign has been busing residents to the neighbouring swing state of Pennsylvania to knock on doors.

Clinton is already planning a fireworks display on the Hudson River on Tuesday night, according to The New York Post - a sign of confidence in not only her victory, but a belief that New Yorkers will want to celebrate with her. She may have betrayed the city's baseball fans by celebrating the Cubs' World Series victory on Wednesday night, but she's banking that when it comes to politics, she and New York are on the same team.
Source: Stuff

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