Divided states of America poised for historic election

When Ed McGinty pitched his Biden sign up outside his clapboard home in The Villages retirement complex in Florida, he worried what his Republican neighbours might say.

Never before had he thought twice about displaying his allegiance to the Democrats, but the political climate was different.

First came the snide comments, then one day the lawn sign went missing. Now he no longer speaks to people he had long counted as friends. “It was clear that we couldn’t be civil knowing the other was voting for a man we detested,” he told me. 

I met Mr McGinty earlier this month while out reporting on the US election for this paper. His story was by no means unique. Everywhere I went, from Illinois to South Carolina, Texas to Wisconsin, people had tales of marriage breakdowns, sibling fallouts and estrangements from friends.

As America goes to the polls on Tuesday in one of the most important elections in its history, the country has never felt more polarised. 

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