Brief “summery” of the 2016 election

What a crazy summer U.S. politics has had! It’s impossible for me to cover everything that happened, especially since Donald Trump keeps making news every week, but I’ll try to give a quick rundown on what we missed while on break.

As you likely know, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both accepted their party’s nominations and will be the major candidates in this year’s general election. political edit

This meant Burlington’s very own Sen. Bernie Sanders had to drop out of the race and endorse Secretary Clinton, which, among other things, made this year’s conventions a true sight to behold.

Trump beat out his opponents in landslides across the country, making most members of the Republican party concede and (in some cases, reluctantly) endorse him for the candidacy. Whether they are only endorsing him because their top priority is to stop the election of Clinton is up to speculation.

Some Republicans, most notably Sen. Ted Cruz, refused to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention, but Trump’s candidacy is locked in. For a while, it seemed like Trump was trying to become a bit more presidential.

For one, he began using teleprompters when giving speeches, an idea he disparaged at the beginning of his campaign, as well as trying not to say inflammatory things about his opponents for short bursts of time. Given that he has a staggering lack of self control, he predictably failed at this multiple times over the course of the last couple months.

Some highlights in chronological order include:

• Trump implied that Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen Muslim soldier, wasn’t allowing his wife to speak for religious reasons when in fact her silence could easily be explained by the emotions evoked by her son’s death.

• Trump stated that “Second Amendment people” should “do something” about Clinton.

• Trump said outright that President Obama is “the founder of ISIS” and that “the co-founder is Crooked Hillary Clinton” (these are actual quotes), as well as doubling down on those statements, changing his mind and tweeting that he was being sarcastic, then in a later speech saying the statements were “not that sarcastic.”

• Trump stated in a speech directed at African Americans, a group that Trump ignored for the majority of his campaign, that they were poor, badly-educated and that these problems were a result of Democratic rule, therefore they should vote for Trump because, “What the hell do you have to lose?” (Again, an actual quote)

These are only a fraction of the statements Trump made, and it somewhat annoys me that I have to keep updating this list as more insane things come out of his mouth.

On the Democratic side, Clinton gave a pointed speech partly endorsing her party’s values and partly painting a negative image of Trump (something that doesn’t seem very difficult). Secretary Clinton has been laying low this summer, sticking to her slow but steady methods and allowing Trump to bury himself.

The Clinton campaign must be somewhat relieved Trump’s method of attracting attention is his greatest weakness more than it is his greatest strength.

Toward the end of the summer, though, more developments of Clinton’s email scandal have come to light, revealing a lot of corruption involving both she and her husband, including her deep ties with foreign political donors and activity regarding the Clinton Foundation that paints her and former President Bill Clinton in a very negative light.

If Clinton wants to win this election, it would be in her best interest to bury all of this information as best she can, because it isn’t looking good for her.

The last piece of information I want to give you all is something I find very important: Trump has a huge chance of winning this election and it is not wise to assume he’s going to lose.

Though many political polls suggest Clinton will be the winner by a large margin, opinion polls have been less and less reliable over the years (they predicted former-President George H.W. Bush would lose to Michael Dukakis and President Barack Obama would lose to Mitt Romney).

One model of predicting elections, including one by Professor Helmut Norpoth of Stony Brook University called the Primary Model (which has been 100 percent accurate since 1996), suggests that Donald Trump has an 87 to 99 percent chance of winning the 2016 election. This isn’t a joke and we need to start taking it seriously.