Weekly election update: Clinton gains advantage

by Brooke Winters      

 With less than two weeks until Election Day, the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump shows no signs of slowing down in terms of controversies. The first controversy worth noting is the continued release of thousands of emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. The Wikileaks documents have been a key talking point for both the candidates. Clinton says they show that Russian hackers are trying to influence the United States election process, while Trump claims they show how crooked ‘Crooked Hillary’ can be.

What exactly are in these emails? One of the many thousands of emails include details of Clinton’s 2013 paid speech to Goldman Sachs and apparent ‘pay to play’ behavior in which large financial donations were exchanged in order to meet with the Clintons, such as one email from Director of Foreign Policy for the Clinton Foundation, Ami Desai. The email, dating from 2012, says that Qatar “[w]ould like to see WJC [Bill Clinton] ‘for five minutes’ in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011.”

The Wikileaks email dumps prompted Donald Trump to bring up many of the emails in the debates and campaign rallies. At a rally in Ambridge, Penn., on Oct. 10, Trump said, “The speeches also show that Crooked Hillary supports cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits, one more example of how Hillary Clinton’s public position is a lie.” While this is not exactly what the leaked email said, perhaps the semantics of the emails themselves do not matter. In the short time before Election Day, it is highly unlikely Americans are going to delve into Wikileaks’ archive to find out the nitty-gritty information for themselves. The fear mongering on Trump’s part and the deflection on Clinton’s could potentially be enough to sway swing-voters in key battleground states.

Donald Trump has not been free of controversy either. At the third debate, he stated he may not accept the outcome of the election. Trump said, “I will look at it at the time. I will keep you in suspense.” Trump has also stated during the campaign trail that he plans on suing the women accusing him of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. In recent weeks, at least 10 women have accused Trump of inappropriately touching them and walking in on them changing during beauty pageants. These allegations came after the release of an interview from 2005 of Trump making sexually aggressive comments about women. During a rally, he said, “Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

Drew student Kim Draghi (’19) offered an optimistic outlook, saying, “Perhaps if there is any silver lining to be found with the constant controversy surrounding both of the candidates, it is that people are more invested in the current political state of the country than they had been.”

Despite the recent Wikileaks email dumps, the Clinton campaign has been gaining advantages in key battleground states. Data from Americans who have voted early in this election in Arizona, Nevada, and Florida show Clinton currently holds the lead. Donald Trump has been gaining ground in Iowa and Ohio, the latter being a key state for a Republican candidate to win in order to secure enough Electoral College votes.  

[Image by Forbes]

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