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Trump v Clinton: What Stateside Scots think of the big presidential race

(Ethan Miller & Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
(Ethan Miller & Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

OUTGOING President Barack Obama has warned “the fate of the world” is at stake in one of the most bitter and dramatic US election races in decades.

Both camps have had to deal with lurid and dramatic headlines during a controversial campaign.

The hoopla is as far removed from a dreich Scottish by-election as it’s possible to get.

So – with the polls putting Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump neck-and-neck – what do Scots in the US think?

And who are they backing?

We spoke to a range of ex-pats to gauge their views.

Ken Donnelly, 60, moved from Bellshill, Lanarkshire, to Connecticut 35 years ago.

Trump, he said, had won the hearts of Americans looking for a change in the status quo.

“He is the best choice to grow the economy,” Ken told The Sunday Post last night. “We have been stagnating for the last few years.

“Trump has had his ups and downs but he’s the better candidate.”

Ken’s two grown-up children also plan to vote for Trump.

The investment banker said his neighbours in Connecticut had been mindful of other people’s opinions during the campaign.

“All Americans respect the office of president,” he added. “They take it very seriously. They fully engross themselves and think about the candidates’ proposals.

“People will always be polarised.”

Carole Zeichick, 53, moved from Glasgow to Phoenix, Arizona, 34 years ago.

She said that people were reluctant to speak about the election in public because the issues were so divisive.

“It’s very tense,” said Carole. “I’ve never seen anything like it. So many friendships have broken up over it.

“Families avoid talking about it. I’ve even heard of marriages breaking up over it.”

Carole cannot vote, as she is not a US citizen, but added: “If I could, I would cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. While she is far from perfect, she is the best qualified person to run for the office.

“Those who are for Trump refuse to see him for what he is – a narcissist who only thinks of himself; ignorant and unwilling to learn.

“It’s all about him and how marvellous he is. He has incited hatred.

“Many immigrants are fearful of what he might do.

“And to threaten to prosecute his opponent is something that happens in non-democratic countries; not here. It’s utterly terrifying.”

Jim McLennan, 50, moved from Forres, Moray, to Phoenix, Arizona, 16 years ago.

The former Sunday Post newspaper boy said the country was “on fire” with election fever.

IT manager Jim said: “Best friends fall out. Husbands and wives argue and it’s got to the stage where no one dares mention it at parties or gatherings.

“I can’t vote because I am still a UK citizen but would opt for Trump if I could.”

Jim felt exhausted by the campaign.

“Like most folk over here I can’t wait for it all to be over,” he said.

“It’s caused so much ill-feeling between people who would normally be friends. It’s brought out the worst in folk.

“Think of Brexit and multiply it several times over. Then you’ll get an idea of what it’s like to live here at the moment.”

Michael Gillespie, 33, moved from Greenock to Florida in 2012.

The stay-at-home dad said his neighbours had set up CCTV cameras in case their signs in support of Trump were stolen.

“That’s how tense it is out here,” said Michael.

“If he loses, Trump supporters are really going to be angry. It’s been brewing for a long time.

“Trump is very aggressive, with quite a terrifying following.

“They are terrified about their guns being taken away. There are lots of confederate flags and slogans like ‘take the country back’.

“They are very, very aggressive and Trump has very cleverly tapped into that.”

Michael lives with his American wife, a utilities officer, and their two-year-old daughter.

He said: “My wife is a Democrat and my in-laws are Republicans, so there’s been some arguments there.”

Most young people, he said, shunned Trump.

“Younger people here are much more inquisitive and connected to the outside world,” said Michael.

“It is clearly a much older generation who support Trump.”

Alex Murray, 62, moved from the west of Scotland to Ohio in 2004.

The business consultant said people were scared to air their opinions in the swing state, adding: “Other Scottish folk around here can’t wait for it to be over. It is becoming unbearable. Many people don’t want to express an opinion.

“Over the last six months people openly expressed their beliefs but now people are worried about saying what’s on their mind. Either they’re ashamed or scared of other people’s reactions.”

Alex had worked in the US for 25 years before moving there permanently. He plans to vote for Clinton, despite not liking either candidate. “Somebody said that it’s similar to being offered a choice between being shot or being poisoned,” he said.

“I generally go along with that. At least it’s possible to recover from poison.”

Oluf Marshall, 23, moved from East Lothian to New York in September this year.

The former UKIP Westminster candidate condemned the actions of some Clinton supporters he’d seen in the Big Apple.

He said: “I feel Hillary Clinton supporters are a lot worse than the Trump camp.

“They tend to get quite violent towards Trump. It’s mostly young Hillary supporters shouting all kinds of abuse calling them Nazis, racists, fascists. It’s disgusting behaviour.

“I wouldn’t vote for either of these two candidates.”

East Lothian-born Oluf stood in last year’s UK election but subsequently left the party.

He decided to move to the US to study screenwriting at the New York Film Academy.

He said: “People are scared of Trump because he’s coming out with insanely radical ideas, whereas Clinton has got a lot of baggage.

“Trump’s language is typical of American college frat boys.”

Lindsay Razaq in America: It’s a sad fact, but it’s a win-win for triumphant Donald Trump – click here to read more


ELECTION Day in the US falls every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

This year the election will be held on Tuesday November 8.

Even though this is the biggest day for voting in the US, polls opened in some states in early October.

Only US citizens can vote in the election.

Although the presidential frontrunners are Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, voters can also cast their ballots for Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green candidate Jill Stein or Independent Evan McMullin.

Swing states that will help to decide the election include Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio.

On Tuesday US citizens will go to the polls to cast their vote for their favourite candidate. In each state the candidate with the most votes will become the person that the state puts forward for president.

The presidency is then decided in the electoral college. 538 electors sit in the college and a candidate needs 270 electors to win.

Each state has the same number of electors as they do senators. This can range from three to 53 electors. Forty-eight states have a winner-takes-all system where they only send electors that support the winning candidate in their system.

The others have a proportional system which reflects the balance of votes.

The number of electors are added up and the candidate who has at least 270 electors in support wins the presidency.

This means that a candidate could become the president even if they don’t get the most votes.


VIDEO: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ‘perform’ Dirty Dancing duet