State of The Race: 10/16/16

By Sam Tarr

Massasoit Tribune

Earlier Saturday, Donald Trump appeared at rallies in Maine and New Hampshire, looking to cut into the leads that Hillary Clinton has opened up in those states. This week, President Obama and The First Lady, were out on the trail for the Clinton campaign. Clinton herself was prepping for Wednesday night’s third and final debate, the campaign said.

At the moment Alec Baldwin is most likely in a makeup chair, prepping for his third appearance on Saturday Night Live, playing Donald Trump. Advertisements for another cold-open featuring Baldwin and cast member Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton, played throughout the week.

It’s an important part of American culture, to lampoon our politicians. It’s an exercise of our freedom, to ridicule those with great power. Baldwin and McKinnon will likely score big laughs again this week, as they have done in their two previous performances on the weekly comedy show.

But after America breaks for a well-deserved laugh, it will quickly return to the unpleasantness of the 2016 campaign, one that is shaping up to be no laughing matter.

As the campaigns trudge ahead into the third and final debate, they do so under completely unprecedented circumstances. Hillary Clinton’s campaign, already dealing with issues of trustworthiness, has been watching daily as WikiLeaks trickles out the thousands of hacked e-mails it acquired.

Donald Trump seemingly hits every stop on the campaign trail greeted with a new tape, transcript, or accusation. This week at least 4 women have come forward accusing Donald Trump of varying degrees of sexual assault, claims which he denies completely.

This coming in the wake of the Access Hollywood video which contained audio of Trump bragging about his ability to kiss and grope women without consent.  

After the leaked video appeared last week, Republicans began to rescind their support for the Republican nominee. Even with several lawmakers taking back their support, it was short of the mass exodus some were expecting, after such controversy. After Sunday night’s debate, Trump even had several Republicans re-endorse him.

At the debate, Trump was pressed by Anderson Cooper on the hot-mic tape.

Trump dismissed the tapes again, as he had in previous statements, as “locker room talk.” Cooper asked if Trump actually acted as he described on the tape, kissing and grabbing women without consent.

“No I have not,” Trump said, after saying, “I have great respect for women, nobody has more respect for women.”

That was the last straw for Jessica Leads.

“His hands were all over me,” Leads said in an interview with the New York Times. Leads said that while on a flight in the early 80’s she was sitting next to Donald Trump. Trump then lifted the armrest and began kissing and groping her.

Several other reports have come out with women sharing similar stories. The Trump campaign has gone even farther than just denying the claims.

“When you looked at that horrible woman last night,” Trump said at a rally, “you said, ‘I don’t think so! I don’t think so!’” Trump added that she would “not be my first choice.”

But as this unprecedented scandal fell on the Trump campaign, there were few new dissentions. After the backlash experienced by some who abandoned the nominee, many are now reluctant to distance themselves from Trump, who’s supporters are as loyal as ever.

Donald Trump has said multiple times that he would not leave the race under any circumstances. As Trump marches, as he says unshackled to November 8th, he has amassed a fired-up and loyal following, who will likely stick by his side, throughout the scorched earth phase of the campaign.

And it’s what he’s doing with this loyal following, that has many, on the left and right concerned.

“The whole thing is one big fix,” Trump said at a Greensboro rally. “It’s one big ugly lie. It’s one big fix. The press can’t write the kind of things they write, which are lies, lies, lies.”

Trump had stepped up his claims that if he loses, the election is “rigged.” This along with his plans, if he wins, to prosecute and imprison Hillary Clinton, and vocal attacks on the press, especially the New York Times and CNN. An article in the Boston Globe, described the scene at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Trump, in a statistical tie in the most recent state polls, revved up the crowd with this claims of election fixing, and media bias. He called Hillary Clinton, “crooked” as they chanted “lock her up,” a persistent theme at these rallies of late.

In interviews with several supporters, the Globe reported them as calling for a coup if their candidate loses. One such supporter even said “there is going to be a lot of bloodshed.”

At this point Trump seems to have a strong control over his base, who will go proudly to vote for him in November. What is unclear is what happens from now till then. And what happens if the polls continue to widen and Trump fails to reach 270 electoral votes. A scenario which election forecaster Nate Silver has at 84.8%.

At Wednesday’s debate Donald Trump will come face-to-face with Hillary Clinton for the last time before the election in November. He shows no signs of curbing his attacks on her, even lobbing a charge of drug-use in last Sunday’s debate. It’s clear Bill Clinton’s past and her “stamina” will all be on the table. Clinton, who enjoys and upswing in state polling ever since the Access Hollywood video, will likely shift into a prevent defense.

As it stands right now, many see the Trump campaign is on its way to a loss in November, though it is still early. Wednesday’s debate will reveal whether or not the candidate has any interest in turning that perception around. Whether or not he will attempt to connect with the undecided or reluctant voters, the ones outside of his ever enthusiastic base. The ones who can help him win in November.

However, if he keeps leveling these kinds of attacks on Hillary Clinton. If keeps going after Paul Ryan and republican detractors. If he keeps turning his supporters against all forms of media he doesn’t deem fit. If he uses Wednesday to throw more red meat at an increasingly fired up group of supporters, the question is this. When the results roll in on the evening of November 8th, and Donald Trump loses, what he is saying could be a rigged election, what comes next?

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