US election snippets: From Broadway to outer space

Supporters cheer as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Supporters cheer as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Broadway readies for a night of (offstage) drama, an early vote is cast in space, and Mr Donald Trump takes a ribbing from the man he hopes to succeed.

Here are some snippets from the White House race on Monday (Nov 7), the final day of the months-long showdown between Republican Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton:

Broadway takes a break to watch political drama

Much of Broadway will be taking the night off on Tuesday, and with good reason: What is the sense in competing with the biggest spectacle on Earth?

Big-name Broadway shows with no scheduled performances on Election Day include Wicked, Kinky Boots, The Phantom of the Opera, Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Cirque du Soleil's Paramour and The Color Purple. The lights will also be out at the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall.

After all, the 2016 White House race could hardly have delivered more drama, and hundreds of millions around the world will be watching with bated breath to see which path the country chooses in a photo-finish contest.

Twitter Trump no more - at least for now

More than once, President Barack Obama has been the target of a Donald Trump tweetstorm.

Not any more: Team Trump has reportedly wrested away the unruly candidate's Twitter account as part of a frantic effort to keep him on message as the race goes down to the wire - raising amused eyebrows in the opposite camp.

"Think about this: Over the weekend, his campaign took away his Twitter account," the US President taunted as he stumped for Mrs Clinton in Michigan.

"Now, if your closest advisers don't trust you to tweet - then how can we trust him with the nuclear codes?"

While the change of Twitter strategy - reported by The New York Times - is not official, there is no mistaking the shift in tone of the account.

Gone are the unfiltered tirades berating his opponent, a former Miss Universe, or a system "rigged" against him.

Instead, since late last week, @RealDonaldTrump has been tweeting polished, well-targeted messages, with links to campaign posts on Facebook.

One of his only outbursts of recent days did target Mr Obama: "Why is he campaigning instead of creating jobs & fixing Obamacare? Get back to work for the American people!"

According to The New York Times, the tweet in question was posted after making it past Mr Trump's campaign staff - after a light edit.

A vote cast in outer space

In an election that's already been out of this world, the lone American astronaut in outer space has cast his vote, Nasa said on Monday.

Mr Shane Kimbrough became the latest astronaut to join in a long tradition of voting while floating high above the Earth, inside the orbiting International Space Station.

US astronauts have been able to vote from space since 1997, under Texas law. Most live in the Houston area, home to Nasa's Mission Control and the Johnson Space Centre.

Since astronauts can get e-mails in space, an electronic ballot generated by the Galveston County Clerk's office was e-mailed to Mr Kimbrough's secure account at Nasa's Johnson Space Centre.

Mission Control then transferred the e-mail to the space station, so that Mr Kimbrough could make his choice some 400km above Earth, before sending it back to Texas via secure e-mail.

There was no word from Nasa or Mr Kimbrough on which candidate he picked for president.