Election 2016: Recap and Commentary
A Time to Look Back Before We Look Ahead
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The 2016 election season started off as expected with Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, senator and first lady returning to run for the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush seemed like the most likely front-runner among numerous candidates on the Republican side. Instead, Senator Bernie Sanders did really well against Clinton throughout the primaries; and Bush, and all the others, were completely annihilated by Donald J. Trump.
The Republicans held their convention first (Cleveland), and it was not without controversy. Highlights included Melania Trump’s obvious theft of portions of Michelle Obama’s 2012 convention speech. Then, former candidate Senator Ted Cruz did not endorse Mr. Trump, which resulted in his getting booed off the stage and Trump Tweeting that he knew what was in Cruz’s speech, but didn’t care. And although the Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter issue was in the forefront, and the “Never Trump” movement tried to be heard, they failed to make a significant impact. Opponents mocked the convention at every level.
The Democratic Convention (Philadelphia), it seemed, only had to be more restrained than its republican predecessor. However, on its first day, emails were released that showed Democratic National Committee, chairwoman Debby Wasserman-Schultz never considered Sanders a threat, and as the primaries went on, there was some internal discussion as to how to stop Sanders’ momentum. These included, but were not limited to targeting his religion, calling him a liar and saying that he had no understanding of the workings of the Democratic Party. This called the entire primary season into question and sparked protests among Sanders’ supporters. The situation calmed down towards the end of the convention, but the earlier controversy was not lost or forgotten by Sanders supporters even after Sanders held firm in his endorsement of Clinton.
For the duration of the election polls showed Clinton ahead of all of her opponents, and nothing seemed to diminish that except for the persistent controversy over her emails when she was secretary of state. No matter what Clinton did, they were a consistent point of discussion, and they never went away. Not even her comments about Trump’s supporters being in what she called a “basket of deplorables” hurt her as much. However, if there was one thing that could be said about the emails, it was that WikiLeaks made them much worse for Clinton than they would have been otherwise. Every time they released new emails Clinton dipped regardless of what was in them.
Then there were the DNC emails, the John Podesta emails, Clinton’s own emails, and the last nail in the coffin, Anthony Wiener emails. It is important to remember that the contents of these emails did not seem to have anything important in them. The DNC emails talked of ways they wanted to take down Sanders, but none of those things were used against him. The Podesta emails revealed his secret pasta recipe, and the worst thing in Clinton’s emails concerned the Clinton Foundation and their potential abuse of government power, but nothing illegal. Finally, Wiener’s emails had nothing important in them.
Trump was also subject of controversy with claims that he said that all Mexicans were rapists (which he did not) and that he was going to ban all Muslims from entering the country (something that he also did not say). However, despite his plans to build a wall, the refusal to release his tax returns, the insulting of Rosie O’Donnell, his plans to limit journalism that insulted him, the fraudulent activities of his failed Trump University, and his nefarious statement that he was going to put Mrs. Clinton, in jail; the biggest fallout came from something he didn’t even say during the campaign. It came from a conversation he had with Billy Bush on an Access Hollywood tour bus in 2005, where he made sexually devious comments alluding to sexually assaulting women he comes in contact with. After the recording came out, Trump dipped in the polls and was basically abandoned by his party. Also, with the release of the tape, several women came out and accused Trump of sexually assaulting them, which he vehemently denies.
On Election Day it was finally time to end this dreadful campaign season by selecting the next U.S. president. It was a day full of both certainty and uncertainty. Clinton supporters were certain that she would win; Trump supporters were certain that he would win. But, the rest of the world was uncertain. Whoever won would have to work with world leaders to combat global problems.
When the day ended, and despite all predictions, Trump was ahead. Democrats were ready to count their chickens when, suddenly, Trump won Florida. They were somewhat reassured when Clinton won some western states including Nevada, but then Trump won South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, South Dakota and Michigan; pulling him far ahead of Clinton. But, the final nail in the coffin was when Pennsylvania fell to Trump, assuring his victory.
Following the election results riots and protests sprang up around the country with Clinton supporters, in a very hypocritical turn, refusing to accept Trump as president. Previously, they criticized him for avoiding saying whether or not he would accept the results of the election.
No one knows where the country or the rest of the world will go from here, but we can all be certain that Donald Trump is president, and unless something unforeseen happens, that is how it will be for at least the next four years. So, hopefully the country can reunite. And, whether it accepts President Trump or not, it can face the future with its head held high.