By Rebecca Belbin
Key Politics: To build a wall bordering Mexico to control immigration, a healthcare reform. He also wants to put an end to China’s illegal export subsidies, deport all illegal immigrants and halt Muslim immigration as long as the threat of ISIS persists.
For many, Trump would appear to be nothing but a business tycoon. A man who climbed the political ladder to an astonishing degree of success considering his first glimmer of the media spotlight was as owner of ‘Trump Enterprises’ and television producer and host of shows such as The Apprentice and Miss USA.
He has become the symbol of a progressively right-wing America, as the Republican has been virtually equal with Hillary Clinton in the current polls since late August – trailing behind a meagre six percentage points. Perhaps Trump has become most synonymous with controversy throughout the course of the election. His most recent escapade, where he was secretly taped back in 2005 making derogatory comments towards women – “I moved on her like a b***h […] just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it” – may have cost him the election. Particularly the crucial female vote.
According to a polls-only forecast from FiveThirtyEight, the Republican would win by a landslide if only males voted, so Trump needs to ensure he instils confidence back into his women voters. And fast.
Trump’s Twitter account has also been the cause for much of his controversy as he frequently attacks political candidates, journalists and the media. More recently, he criticised popular American satirical and parody television show Saturday Night Live, branding it ‘boring and unfunny’ and ‘rigging the election.’ The much-loved programme pulls over one million viewers per week and could further alienate potential Trump voters.
As it now stands, live stats from Real Clear Politics show Trump closing in on his opponent, now five percentage points behind Clinton with just under two weeks until election day. Trump’s best bet at winning the campaign is to garner the vote of one of his two crucial swing states, Florida and Ohio. If he fails to do this, it is incredibly unlikely that he will win the election.
Key Policies: Clinton wants to the country to have a fairer tax system. To have disability, women’s and LGBT rights as well as racial justice, immigration reform, support and expand free trade and focus on green energy. Also to defend and expand the Affordable Care Act.
The Democratic candidate is following in the footsteps of her husband Bill who was the US’ 42nd president. She also has the potential to be the US’ first female president. Hillary Clinton will truly make history if she wins the election. A Republican in her youth, Clinton joined the Democratic party during her university years after finding she ‘identified with Democrats more’, and her political career was launched soon after in an impassioned speech where Clinton said ‘politics are the art of making what appears to be impossible possible.’ The speech turned her into an overnight celebrity and it was then, in the 1970s, that Clinton’s career became politics-driven. In 1999, she was the first woman to be elected to the US senate from New York and her plans to become the first female president began almost a decade ago.
With far more years of experience in the political field than Trump, Clinton is seemingly a much more electable candidate. So far the polls show her just slightly more popular than the Republican. This could be partly due to her recent controversies, one of which occurred in 2013 – but only came to light recently it involved a missing Clinton Foundation laptop and thumb drive used to archive Hillary’s important government emails. This led to criticisms surrounding Clinton’s trustworthiness, with many leaning towards Trump as the candidate who ‘says what he thinks.’ Clinton also frequently changes her opinions on policy (opinions on gay marriage, immigration and trade have all changed to a more liberal stance since the late 90s/early 00s) which is adding to this distrust.
However, she is still ahead of Trump in the polls as they stand and her desire for change along with grit and determination against such a force as Donald Trump shows some level of strength, while many undecided voters (in particular women) rapidly turn to Clinton in light of Trump’s recent controversies.
Either way, the 2016 US Presidential Campaign will surely be the most infamous and high-profile election so far in the digital age. The rapid growth of social media since the 2012 election and particularly the popularity of Twitter has allowed both candidates to attack each other in just 140 characters, while allowing the candidates to interact with voters. Media coverage has also been immense and rife with the candidates’ controversies.
With less than three weeks to go until Election Day (8th November 2016), the controversies and the personalities at the forefront of the election will surely go down in history whatever the outcome.