State of the Race

October 22, 2016: The Massasoit Tribune

Father of Captain Humayun Khan, Khizr Khan, is seen flipping through pictures of his fallen son. He recounts the story of his son’s sacrifice which saved the lives of his fellow soldiers, at the expense of his. Captain Khan died in 2004, more than a decade before Donald Trump’s proposed “shutdown” of all Muslims entering the country.

Khizr Khan clutches his son’s folded flag, and fights back tears. He then asks a question of the Republican nominee.

“Would my son, have a place in your America?” Khan asks.

The minute-long clip released from Hillary Clinton’s campaign does more than remind viewers of Trump’s overwhelmingly condemned comments in a feud with the Khan family, it shows what this election has become. It is no longer a blue vs. red political battle, but what many see as an referendum on how we define America.

The ad is likely just the beginning for the Clinton campaign, who begins to unload the cannons as the campaign comes down to the last 17 days.

The race rolls into the home stretch with a clear polling advantage for Hillary Clinton. A trajectory that Donald Trump did little to change in Wednesday night’s third and final debate.

Some Republican may have been encouraged as the evening began however. Moderator Chris Wallace started the debate on the topic of the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people,” Clinton said, “not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy.” She expressed her desire to appoint justices who would stand up for LGBT and voting rights, as well as overturn Citizens United.

Trump used the opportunity to draw a clear line using prevailing Republican philosophies.

“The justices that I’m going to appoint will be pro-life,” Trump said. “They will have a conservative bent. They will be protecting the Second Amendment…they will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted.”

The Second Amendment, the constitutional right to bear arms, Trump said was “under absolute siege.” Clinton confirmed her support in the Second Amendment but expressed her support for stronger gun laws.

The topic moved to Roe V. Wade, and whether Trump supports the overturning of that decision.

“That will happen automatically in my opinion,” Trump said. “I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”

“I strongly support Roe v. Wade,” Clinton said, “which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult in many cases, decisions about her health care that one can imagine.”

“Based on what she’s saying,” Trump said, “you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb on the ninth month on the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

“Using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate,” Clinton said. “I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith with medical advice and I will stand up for that right.”

It seemed like a full-blown Presidential debate was breaking out. A more focused Donald Trump was sticking to the issues more than in previous debates. That was until Clinton dodged a question about WikiLeaks revelations, and agitated Trump while citing reported Russian involvement in the hacks.

“Look,” Trump said, “Putin, from everything I see has no respect for this person.”

“Well,” Clinton said, “that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”

“No puppet. You’re the puppet.” Trump said.

The retort that was destined for social media fame.

This was shortly after Trump, while discussing his signature issue of immigration, drew attention with a comment regarding deportations.

“We have some bad hombres here,” Trump said, “were going to get them out.” A comment likely not to be seen favorably among Latino voters. Trump already has a large deficit with Latino voters already, referring to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and drug dealers.

The evening began to disintegrate to the decorum of the first two debates. Trump interjecting “wrong” into several of Secretary Clinton’s responses.

“Such a nasty woman,” Trump said while Clinton jabbed him when discussing Social Security.

The most significant moment of the evening won’t fit into a meme or a Weird Al remix as easily, but stood above everything else.

The big story for stunned pundits as the smoke settled on the third debate was Trump’s refusal to say he would concede defeat if he were to lose on November 8th.

Leading up to the debate Trump was saying that the election was being rigged. Trump has been claiming that “voter fraud is very, very common.” Many were expressing concerns over Trump’s controversial statements.

Chris Wallace pushed the Republican Nominee for a clarification. He spelled out in clear terms the tradition of conceding defeat. He referred to the peaceful transfer of power as “one of the prides of this country.”

“Are you saying,” Wallace asked Trump, “that you are not prepared now to commit to that principle?”

“What I’m saying now is,” Trump said, “I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense, okay?”

Clinton immediately denounce the statement as “horrifying.”

Hugh Hewitt, nationally syndicated conservative talk-show host said the statement was “outside the norms of American political rhetoric.”

“He won 14 out of 15 rounds,” Hewitt said, “but hit himself in the head and knocked himself out.”

The CNN/ORC poll showed Clinton winning the third debate, 52-39%. It was a clean sweep, winning the first two debates by larger margins, per CNN.

Trump however, declared victory in a 3am tweet.

According to Nate Silver’s election forecast, the future is looking grim for the Trump campaign. The latest update keeps Clinton at an 85.8% chance of taking the White House. Real Clear Politics, who averages all the polls, has 262 out of the 270 electoral votes either strong, likely, or leaning for the Democratic nominee.

Many have begun to look into rumors of Donald Trump launching his own media empire or third party, if election doesn’t go his way. The theory began taking hold when Trump hired Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon as campaign CEO. The alt-right anti-establishment media executive has seemingly been fueling the message out of the Trump campaign.

With Trump live-streaming the debate from his Facebook page, more people are looking into the possibility of a “TrumpTV” network. Millions of people could stream the debate from Trump’s page. Coverage was stacked with familiar campaign surrogates.

It’s Hillary Clinton’s surrogates that are doing most of the battling now in the Clinton Campaign. The strategy appears to be, starting with Clinton’s closing remarks Wednesday, to stay positive. She seems now to be trying to make more of a case for herself, rather than against Trump, letting her surrogates and TV ads do that for her.

Donald Trump, Saturday, stood on a stage in Gettysburg, PA. He delivered what was billed as a major policy speech. He listed what he would do in his first 100 days in office, many objectives he has spoken about in the past. Trump began by lashing out at the ten women who have accused him of sexual assault.

“Every woman lied,” Trump said. “Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

He then trashed the media, which he calls dishonest.

“They’re corrupt,” Trump said. “They lie and fabricate stories to make a candidate that is not their preferred choice look as bad, and even dangerous, as possible.”

And so it went as Donald Trump spoke in Gettysburg. The place where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address. What cannot be denied about Lincoln was his unwavering desire to maintain the Union. Keeping America united was his top priority, beyond all else, even abolishing slavery. As the Republican Party deals with its own civil war, Trump, its standard bearer, is leading the rebellion, not its unification.

As the polls keep widening and the days pass until November 8th, it is soon to be revealed which direction America chooses for itself. But regardless of how the nation decides, you can be sure that Steve Bannon and Donald Trump, the man who never loses, will not be going home empty handed.

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