By Arab News
By Ray Hanania and Ephrem Kossaify
Millions of Americans will vote on Tuesday in what President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden both described as “the most important election in our lifetime.”
Final polls on Monday showed Biden clearly ahead nationally, but tightening races in some of the key “swing” states that will actually decide the election, including Pennsylvania and Trump’s adopted home state of Florida.
On the last day of campaigning, Trump maintained the frenetic pace that has been a hallmark of his bid to remain in the White House, with rallies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
“You elected an outsider as president who is finally putting America first,” he told a crowd in Fayetteville, North Carolina. “Get out and vote, that’s all I ask.”
Trump’s final rally was in Grand Rapids, Michigan — where he also delivered the closing speech of his victorious 2016 campaign, and where he hopes he will once more defy the polls. “I watch these fake polls,” he said. “We’re going to win anyway.”
Biden closed his low-key campaign with socially distanced events in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home,” he told supporters in Cleveland, Ohio.
“We’re done with the chaos. We’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility.”
Arab Americans, who consistently have among the highest voting turnouts of US ethnic communities, will play a key role in deciding the election.
Samir Khalil, president of the Arab American Democratic Club and a Biden supporter, said that for the first time Arab Americans believed they would finally be taken seriously.
“Too often we have been pandered to by all of the parties and the candidates. They want to use us and get our votes but, in the end, we really have not received what we have asked for,” he said.
“We have asked that elected officials include our community.”
Polling suggests that 59 percent of Arab Americans support Biden and 35 percent back Trump.
However, American Muslim support for Republicans and Trump increased from 13 percent in 2018 to 30 percent in 2020.
In New York, where there has been early voting for the first time in a general election, a long line of voters stretched up the block and around the corner at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, one of 88 early-voting locations.
“I wanted to vote early and save a space for someone else on election day,” 24-year-old Lilly told Arab News. Outside, canvassers were distributing sample ballots, urging people to vote for Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.
Many people welcomed the opportunity to vote early in person, and some regretted not having voted in 2016, when turnout was one of the lowest in US history.
“I learned my lesson,” Omar Mente told Arab News. “You just can’t sit at home and run your mouth. You’ve got to come and put pen to paper.”