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The American Presidential Election of 2016

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Mr. Beat

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The 58th episode in a very long series about the American presidential elections from 1788 to the present. In the amazingly epic election of 2016, America gets Trumped as populism rules and the establishment drools.
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The 58th Presidential election in American history took place on November 8, 2016. The biggest thing Barack Obama could take credit for was a rebounding economy. Just before election day, unemployment was under 5%. Sure, plenty of Americans were underemployed, and wealth inequality kept getting worse and worse, and Obamacare was not stopping higher and higher healthcare costs, but at least there was some stability in financial markets and the economy was growing.

Meanwhile, a new Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group called ISIS, or ISIL, armed with American weapons, took over parts of Iraq and Syria. In fact, the world seemed to be a scarier place as more and more terrorists attacked civilians all over the place. Back at home, institutional racism raged on, as it had throughout the entire history of the United States, but now people began fighting back. A entire movement, called Black Lives Matter rose up to protest against police brutality that seemed to disproportionately affect African Americans.

2016 wasn’t as violent as 1968 or 1919, but it sure seemed that way by watching the news. In fact, people were afraid of things that weren’t even there.

Perhaps this explains the rise of Donald Trump. Trump had been a celebrity for decades as a very wealthy businessman and reality TV star. He had always flirted with the idea of running for President, but no one had taken him seriously, even when he actually finally announced he was officially running, on June 16, 2015. Few people in the media still didn’t take him seriously. He even got criticized for having paid actors to attend to cheer him on at the announcement. But his vague language about making America great again, sounding like a mix between Pat Buchanan and Huey Long and George Wallace, really resonated with a lot of Americans.

But first, he had to defeat A LOT of other Republicans wanting the nomination. I will just mention five others, as that’s all I have the energy for. There was Jeb Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush, and former Governor of Florida. I mean, when both your daddy and your bro were President, you probably should run, right? There was Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon originally from Michigan. Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida, Ted Cruz, a Senator from Texas, and John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio.

Just like in 2012, there seemed to be a lot of division within the Republican Party. However, most of the other candidates were soon able to unite against a common enemy: Donald Trump, who, believe it or not, soon became the frontrunner. Because of the Trump effect, candidates often made vicious attacks, and Trump said things never before imagined on the campaign trail. Trump made the debates more exciting to watch with his colorful and sometimes shocking language. The more offensive he seemed to be, the more people seemed to love him. The establishment didn’t know what to do.

One by one, the other Republicans went down. Ted Cruz put up the best fight of all. Like Trump, Cruz was also considered an outsider, but Trump was successful at making Cruz seem untrustworthy. He branded him “Lyin’ Ted.” Yep, despite the naysayers and the Never Trump coalition, this guy won the nomination. Trump chose Mike Pence, the Governor of Indiana, as his running mate.

The Democratic Party also had division this election. Seemingly before the dawn of time, Hillary Clinton, the now former Secretary of State, was destined to be elected President in 2016. So when she struggled to even get the Democratic nomination, everyone knew this election was different. Bernie Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont, put up quite the fight against Clinton. Sanders joined the Democratic Party because he knew from personal experience that running as a third party candidate was so difficult. He was never one who could be easily classified, but one thing was for sure he leaned further to the left than Clinton. He tried to make “socialism” not such a dirty word anymore.

After Sanders first announced his campaign, the media also didn’t take him to seriously. After all, Hillary Clinton was heavily favored.

posted by enquissarih