Special Feature by Priyanka Chaturvedi who is currently in the United States asa part of the American Council of Young Political Leaders. She reflects on the sentiment on the ground complete with humour, frustration and ironies of this landmark election in the US.

My introduction to the US President Elections, on arrival to America as a delegate of the prestigious American Council of Young Political Leaders was through a television ad with Presidential nominee Donald Trump saying ‘Ab ki baar, Trump Sarkaar’ . Would these words work for Trump we will know within this week itself as the race to the White House only gets tighter and heart achingly closer than it seemed ten days ago. [Feature Image Credit: USAPolitics]

In Washington, as the election date nears there is frenzied activity on both sides of the party campaigns— initiatives include getting the voter to go out and vote on the day of the election , social media engagement, on ground campaigning especially in swing states. Post the FBI reopening Clinton email investigation, polls suggest that her lead over Trump has reduced considerably, though she still has an edge over him. It is the swing states that both parties are now heavily invested in, Florida where Trump campaigned this week being one of them also Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire, Georgia, Wisconsin, Utah and Arizona.

The funds being spent by both sides is mind boggling. As part of the program, fund raisers, managers and legal experts have explained how both parties have been raising funds for their candidates’ campaign. However experts have suggested that there are several loopholes that exist in terms of transparency of the funds utilised in the campaign, especially the Super PACs that have emerged as all powerful group for candidates to co opt their campaign initiatives. Craig Holman from Public Citizens is actively working to legally undo the super PACs as his research into their funding suggests that  super PACs are usually funded by a handful of individuals that contribute to it & could lead to governance getting compromised in favour of a few. He also believes that the time has come for ethics and campaign finance reforms as money in some cases dark money  is turning out to be a big influencer in political outcomes. Then there are controversial yet legitimate contributors such as National Rifle Association that has pumped in approx $26 million in their support for Trump.

Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar? Or Will Clinton Win : On Ground US Elections with Priyanka Chaturvedi

For the US citizens however there is a sense of wariness, they want the election over and done with so as to move on to other topics of conversation that concern them. Some experts believe with both candidates equally disliked (as Gallup rankings suggest) and public perception of politics and politicians being at an all time low could see low voter turnout. The voter turnout has never been as large as in India yet it could go lower than ever. What is indeed refreshing to watch these elections up close is the frank and honest assessment of the elections by various people who are part of the electioneering process in the United States. The broadcast and print media which is as polarised as the campaign itself is under attack on their biased role, however it is important to note the difference from back home, here there is an acknowledgment of the bias and the need to reassess their roles.

Social media has developed tools to urge the voter to come out and vote by helping them identify their polling booths.

Not to be outdone even the social media has developed tools to urge the voter to come out and vote by helping them identify their polling booths. If one were to think that it is only the political parties that are on their toes equally busy are the civil rights activists who are ensuring voters right to vote is upheld and protecting the same. With different states following different set of voting rules it is a tough task indeed!

The penultimate week is here, the result of this election is closely being watched and awaited by the world. Of the 125 million registered voters at least 33 million votes have already in early voting till now. This amount represents about 25 percent of the total votes expected nationwide if turnout is similar to 2012. Whatever the outcome it would be a tough ride for whoever does end up with the keys to the White House. For Hillary Clinton it would be tough to enact and push reformative policies as she may end up facing a Republican senate and Republican house and for Trump with whatever little one has heard of his policies it would be tough call to win support. Truly a historic election in America and perhaps a tipping point for the people of the country.