Donald Trump delivered Monday a defiant closing argument during a five-state swing, predicting a victory and urging supporters to vote on the eve of the election.
“You have one magnificent chance to beat the corrupt system that you’re witnessing today and deliver justice for every forgotten man, woman and child in this country,” Trump told a crowd at the J.S. Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. “You have one day until the election. It’s not even one day. Half a day, to make every dream you’ve ever dreamed for your family and your country to come true.”
Without a win, he said, “we’ve all wasted our time. They might say good things about us, as a movement. It don’t mean a damn thing, folks. We have to go out and have to win.”
While polls released Monday showed him trailing in key battleground states and in the national popular vote, Trump said “even our victory isn’t 100 percent. But it’s close. It’s close.”
Trump spoke earlier in the day at a Florida rally and in the evening in Pennsylvania and then New Hampshire. He also had a stop in Michigan.
At the rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Trump made an explicit appeal to Democrats, saying he’d stop corruption.
“Democratic voters in our country are thirsting for change like everyone else,” he said. “Hillary Clinton is the last stand of Wall Street and special interests.”
He also launched attacks on the “dishonest” media, causing the crowd to twice break out in chants critical of CNN.
At the Florida rally, he held up a rubber mask of his own face, joking about what nice hair it had.
And in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump read an endorsement letter from New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and said quarterback Tom Brady called to say he had voted for Trump.
“Tomorrow the American working class strikes back,” Trump said.
In North Carolina, Trump rejected the decision by FBI Director James Comey to not reopen an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server when she served as Secretary of State. He said “the director” was “obviously under tremendous pressure. They went through 650,000 emails in eight days? Yeah, right.”
The crowd — many wearing Trump shirts and hats and waving signs including “Comey you’re fired” — began a chant of “Lock her up!”
Trump criticized Clinton for appearing with Jay Z and Beyoncé, whose lyrics he said were lewd. He said he didn’t need their help to draw a crowd.
North Carolina is key to Trump’s path to victory, experts said.
“North Carolina is a must or very nearly must win for the Trump campaign,” said Don Levy, director of Siena Research Institute. A New York Times Upshot/Sienna College poll of North Carolina released Monday found Trump and Clinton tied at 44 percent each.
Clinton scheduled a midnight rally in Raleigh with former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton.
In the popular vote, averages of final polls released Monday had Clinton beating Trump. She was up an average of 2.4 percent, according to Real Clear Politics average of polls and up three percent, according to the website 538.
Voters at the rally had mixed feelings about which way the election would turn. Many were more confident that North Carolina would support Trump, but unsure about the national tally.
Jason Johnson, an independent 39-year-old from Raleigh, said, “I think he’ll totally win North Carolina.” He voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, but is now backing Trump. Democrats, he said, have divided the country.
“Democrats are completely dishonest. The media is dishonest, too,” he said. “Trump supporters are not terrible people.”
Tom Valley, 63, of Maine, wore a blue “Make America Great Again” T-shirt as he walked into the rally. He was anxious about Election Day. “I think this is going to be a tough one,” he said, pointing to recent national polls. A friend suggested they’d move out of the country if Clinton was elected. “They say America, love it or leave it,” Valley said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Many at the rally looked forward to the election being over. That included T-shirt vendor Chris Foran selling shirts half-off and giving away buttons and bumper stickers. “It’s time to get rid of the inventory,” said Foran, 56 of Destin, Florida. He said he has made “six figures” selling Trump merchandise at rallies since January. “These won’t be worth a plug nickel after today.”
He said after months of “biting my tongue” he could admit at the last event he didn’t support Trump. Trump, he said, “has given people false hope, people who are vulnerable.”