The Race to the White House: An Update

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As we edge closer and closer to the US Presidential election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s once unstoppable campaign has fallen into troubled waters. Wave after wave of controversy has helped Republican candidate Donald Trump close the gap in recent polls. Previously, the Trump campaign had suffered tremendously due to a series of allegations of sexual assault against him and the release of a video tape loaded with Trump’s sexually explicit comments from 2005.

When Trump consistently alienates minority groups who are part of the key demographics that all presidential candidates are vying for, it comes as no surprise that he had lagged so far behind on the polls. Since the release of the video tapes, Trump has apologised in a statement to the press saying that, “these words don’t reflect who I am…I apologise.” Even with an apology, the majority of the American public seem to be unimpressed with Donald Trump and his antics. Recently the New York Times published a few pages of Trump’s tax returns from 1995 which heavily suggest that Trump could have possibly gotten away with not paying $916 million in income tax. Trump has remained somewhat silent on the issue and he remains adamant about not releasing his most recent tax returns which may hint to voters that he has something to hide. However, his outspokenness and unapologetic policies have attracted a host of supporters who think it is high time that a Republican was in the White House. These supporters could very well find solace with the news that the FBI has reopened their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails at such a crucial stage in the election.

The e-mails are a treasure trove of classified information which never should have been shared in that way and even hints at the idea of poll inflation to make Clinton look more popular than she is. Most of the new information is related to Bill Clinton who is also facing a barrage of sexual misconduct claims which could possibly leave Hillary in the clear. Soon after, Trump supporters added fuel to the fire by claiming that electing Hillary is a package deal- it also means putting Bill Clinton in the White House. This could also seriously affect Clinton’s campaign and help Trump close the gap. The e-mails are periodically being released by WikiLeaks which means that the Clinton campaign has to constantly be on its toes. The scandal has seen Clinton halve her average lead in polls since the last major debate.

In the 2015 House Benghazi Committee hearings, Hillary Clinton testified under oath that “there was nothing marked classified on my e-mails, either sent or received.” However, FBI director James Comey begs to differ as the investigation has uncovered that 113 e-mails contained classified information. Clinton’s e-mails contained the names of classified CIA intelligence sources and covert agents in relation to Iran, the Taliban and Pakistan. Most recently, the FBI brought out a search warrant for Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin’s laptop after it was brought to light that Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner was facing allegations of sexting a minor. The FBI are primarily focused on proving that Clinton had violated the Espionage Act 1913 by negligently allowing heavily classified information to be lost, stolen, abstracted or destroyed. Currently, Clinton and Abedin are both facing possible charges of perjury and obstruction of justice especially for derogating from their sworn statements.

The e-mail scandal has dealt the Clinton campaign a heavy blow but the average lead for Clinton in national polls is 3.4% which is merely satisfactory at this stage of the election. FBI director, James Comey failed to release any background information to the press and kept the announcement as brief as possible which planted seeds of doubt in Hillary’s strong lead in the polls. Despite all the controversy and the risk of matters regarding national security being released, a CBS poll found that only 5% of Democrats took issue with it. Many supporters believe that the e-mail scandal is utterly irrelevant to the election and have heavily criticised Comey for reopening the investigation at such a significant moment in the race to the White House.

Clinton’s win in November is most likely inevitable especially since Trump has failed to successfully defend himself in the debates and on his sexual assault allegations. The Clinton campaign has been better at crisis management than the Trump campaign have done, especially with his dubious tax returns. With the majority of mass media supporting Clinton over Trump, it is more than foreseeable that Clinton will overcome this major setback without much worry. It will be the eleven swing states (Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan Ohio and New Hampshire) who will decide who wins this November.

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