- The Washington Times - Monday, November 7, 2016

It is a tale of two election nights. After almost 600 days of campaigning, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be in very close proximity on Tuesday night, separated by a few New York City blocks as they settle in to await the results of the 2016 election. Ah yes, the election. The event itself has assumed an almost surreal quality after all these months — a symbol which will reveal either a nation in change, or one reclaiming its most potent founding values. The election has become so fraught with anxiety that some Americans appear to have nostalgia for those cheerful, halcyon days of yore when 17 Republicans and 5 Democrats skirmished during the primaries.

But now, fate awaits the two remaining hopefuls. This is it.

Mr. Trump has joined his family in a purposefully low-key election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown, a choice that prompted some scorn from critical observers who say the 50-year-old site does not seem swanky enough for a billionaire’s tastes. Perhaps the critics are overlooking the fact there’s some gritty Big Apple political tradition here; presidents dating back to John F. Kennedy have been among the throngs assembled in the hotel’s 24,000-square-foot ballroom over time. And Mr. Trump is, after all, a New York native.

Mrs. Clinton, meanwhile, has rented out the “Crystal Palace” within the Jacob Javits Center, which covers six city blocks on the Hudson River and boasts 33-foot glass ceilings, custom built stages and gargantuan sound systems. Very glitzy. There was supposed to be a barge full of fireworks to punctuate the evening, but both the U.S. Coast Guard and New York Police Department confirmed Monday that those plans have fizzled. The Clinton campaign has canceled the display — a decision that drew global press coverage.

“Do they know something they’re not admitting to?” asked The Daily Mail.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Trexit”

— Term coined by Las Vegas oddsmaker and commentator Wayne Allyn Root, should Donald Trump win the election.

“I’ve stuck with my prediction through thick and thin, through derision, through laughter, through polls showing Hillary leading by 13 points, through every expert predicting a Hillary landslide up until only two weeks ago,” Mr. Root writes in a lengthy rationale for Brietbart.com, citing a parallel with Britain’s recent popular vote to leave the European Union.

“All the ingredients have fallen perfectly into place for ‘Trexit,’ our own version of Brexit starring Donald Trump,” declares Mr. Root.

FOR THE LEXICON No. 2

“Occupy the Polls”

— Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson’s plea to his followers for Tuesday. “Help Gary Johnson occupy the polls,”” the campaign advises. “Spend an hour or spend all day at your favorite polling location. Bring signs, wear your Johnson campaign shirt and remind voters to vote for Gary Johnson.”

FOR THE LEXICON No. 3

“Vote while you float.”

— A longtime NASA directive to astronauts in space at election time. The federal space agency announced Monday that U.S. astronaut Shane Kimbrough had done just that, in orbit 220 miles above Earth and circling the planet at 17,500 mph. “A 1997 bill passed by Texas legislators sets up a technical procedure for astronauts, nearly all of whom live in Houston, to vote from space,” NASA noted.

RAUL LABRADOR GETS SPRUCED UP

In a day of alarming headlines, we pause for news of Rep. Raul Labrador and Sen. Mike Crapo. The two Idaho Republicans were there when the future U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree took off Monday from the Gem State on a 4,000-mile journey to the nation’s capital. The 80-foot Engelmann spruce was felled six days ago with an old school crosscut saw in the Payette National Forest in the western part of Idaho; use of the traditional tool was meant to honor the region’s loggers. The mammoth spruce now is riding in style aboard an 80-foot red trailer emblazoned with the motto “From Tree to Shining Tree,” making 15 stops along the way before it is righted, covered with ornaments and lit on Dec. 6 by the Capitol.

Many resources and much time was donated to the cause. Mr. Labrador cited volunteer driver Gary Amoth, founder of a trucking company and owner of the fancy trailer. He’s driving the tree to D.C. himself, accompanied by a second company truck bearing “companion trees” and 18,000 ornaments crafted by Idahoans which include miniature mining cabins and designs based on local cattle brands.

The lawmaker notes that Mr. Amoth started his company as a driver with a single truck three decades ago; now he has 130 trucks and 150 employees — and credits his family and staff for the company’s good fortune.

“I don’t get out in the truck much anymore and they think it’s really cool I’m able to do this,” Mr. Amoth observes.

TREETOP VIEWING

Broadcast and cable networks have just about reached the zenith of their intense election coverage. For those seeking an alternative: EarthCam is offering a special Election Day collection of live, high-definition cameras sited, the technology company says, on “some of the busiest locations around the U.S. where people will be gathering to await the election results.”

There are multiple locations in the nation’s capital, plus peeks at Times Square in New York City, Las Vegas, Hollywood Boulevard in, yes, Hollywood, California, and other pertinent spots. … EarthCam has also included links to election centers at Fox News, CNN and other broadcasters, just in case. Find it all at EarthCam.com.

POLL DU JOUR

56 percent of Americans say that federal officials cannot be trusted “to act in a politically neutral way”; 59 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

17 percent say the officials can be trusted; 17 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 21 percent of Democrats agree.

42 percent overall say it was right for FBI director James Comey to inform Congress that his agency might reopen the investigation of Hillary Clinton; 82 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent overall say it’s wrong Mr. Comey made the announcement; 8 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 2,574 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 2.

Huzzahs, weary sighs to [email protected]

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