Hillary Clinton campaigned on Friday in the company of friends and celebrities, first flanked by billionaire businessman Mark Cuban in Pittsburgh and Detroit, and then at a concert in Cleveland with Jay Z and Beyoncé. High-wattage political leaders fanned out for her around the country: Her husband, Bill, stumped in Colorado, as President Barack Obama rallied voters in North Carolina. By comparison, Donald Trump was a lonely figure.
In the final days of the Presidential race, Mr Trump’s political isolation has made for an unusual spectacle on the campaign trail — and perhaps a limiting factor in his dogged comeback bid. When it comes to bolstering Mr Trump, the Republican Party is not sending its best: As party leaders have disavowed him or declined to back his candidacy, Mr Trump has been left instead with an eclectic group of backup players to aid him in his last dash for votes. Though polls show Mr Trump drawing closer to Ms Clinton, the most prominent Republicans in key swing states still fear that his unpopularity may taint them by association.
Mr Trump acknowledged the relative bareness of his events at a rally on Friday night: In defiant language, he hailed the size of the crowd packed into an arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “By the way, I didn’t have to bring J. Lo or Jay Z — the only way she gets anybody,” he said. “ I am here all by myself. Just me — no guitar, no piano, no nothing.”
In every speech this week, Mr Obama has told his crowd the address of a nearby polling place; in Fayetteville, he notified them that there was an early voting location across the street. And Mr Obama appealed for calm when a man waving a Trump sign briefly interrupted the event, drawings boos before the man was ushered out of the arena at Fayetteville State University.
Mr Obama told the audience that the Trump supporter, who was wearing a beret and military-style coat with medals, deserved their respect because he appeared to be an older veteran.
“And don’t boo,” Obama said, as he was drowned out by thousands of people shouting “Vote!” in response.
Campaigning in New Hampshire earlier on Friday, Mr Trump did not appear with either Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican seeking re-election, or Chris Sununu, the Republican nominee for governor. Ms Ayotte withdrew her endorsement of Ms Trump last month, and Mr Sununu has kept an awkward distance from Mr Trump in his closely divided state. But Mr Sununu’s father, John, 77, a former governor known for his irascible temper, introduced Mr Trump with a crude joke about the Clintons. “Do you think Bill was referring to Hillary when he said, ‘I did not have sex with that woman?’” Mr Sununu cracked, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Ms Clinton, in contrast, has sought to overwhelm the political map with popular advocates for her campaign, deploying them to reinforce her support in the biggest states that will decide the election. Her surrogates have matched their schedules to voting deadlines across the country: In Fayetteville, North Carolina, Obama implored voters to turn out and cast ballots before the end of early voting on Saturday, and read a letter from Grace Bell Hardison, a 100-year-old North Carolinian whom local Republican officials recently sought to disqualify from voting.