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By now, you’ve probably figured out that 2016 has been a banner year for politics. Between name-calling amongst candidates and the endless list of hot-button topics, there is quite a bit to catch up on since last semester. For those of you who ditched politics for pool parties and beach trips in the last few months, here are some of the most talked about election moments that you might have missed over the summer.
6. Hillary avoided legal deposition
Arguably, the largest scandal to plague the Clinton Campaign is the mysterious deletion of thousands of emails, occurring after Hillary used a private server to access work-related correspondence while serving as Secretary of State. This became especially incriminating when Hillary claimed that many of the emails were deleted for reasons of privacy, and, later, it was proven that a portion of the emails contained classified information. In a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing held in July, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan decided that he would not decide whether or not Clinton should be subject to a deposition. Lawyers from a legal watchdog group argued that they simply needed three hours to question Clinton. However, Hillary’s lawyer, David Kendall, argued against any further action, as she had already been questioned in a congressional testimony. The possibility of a deposition is still up in the air, but the likelihood that it will happen before November is continuing to grow slimmer.
5. Ted Cruz stood up against Trump
Cruz and Trump never quite saw eye to eye during the campaign season. Whether the reason for this was that Cruz was Trump’s closest competitor or simply because the two men did not respect each other, their feud continued to build. While it started as petty insults, it quickly escalated to Trump claiming he had dirt on Cruz’s wife. Not long after, Trump began to insinuate more incriminating ideas, such as the Cruz’s father being partially responsible for the assassination of JFK. Finally, Cruz proudly declared that he believed Trump to be a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.” Trump, of course, fired back and eventually secured the nomination cleanly ahead of Cruz. Fast-forward to the Republican National Convention where Cruz stood before the members of his party to produce a speech that would, presumably, endorse the party’s new leader and Cruz’s bitter rival. However, Cruz bravely stood his ground and urged republicans to “vote with your conscience.” As the speech continued, boos loudly spread across the crowd and it seemed Cruz would eventually give in. Despite this, he continued to vaguely state his appreciation for his country and refused to endorse the man who saw him only as “Lyin’ Ted.”
4. The Khan Family v. Donald Trump
Trump has had his run-ins with republican opponents and other political enemies throughout the entire election season. However, none were quite as impactful as the attack he received from Khizr Khan. During his time on stage at the Democratic National Convention, Khan produced a heart-felt speech in memoriam of his son, a Muslim American soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq. His speech served as a testament to his son’s service and commentary on the way that Muslim Americans were viewed in recent years. In early December, Trump proposed a ban on all Muslim immigration so that America’s leaders could take time to “figure out what is going on.” Khan’s response to this controversial proposal at the DNC proved to be stirring and intensely honest. During the speech Khan held a pocket constitution out to the excited crowd and inquired, “Let me ask you (Donald Trump): Have you even read the US Constitution?” Claiming that his family would have never arrived in the U.S. if Trump had his way, Khan was infuriated by both Trump’s rhetoric and the way it was affecting American citizens. Trump’s response to the statement came in varying degrees of aggression, including an ABC interview where he suggested that Khan’s wife was forced to keep quite during the speech. Later the Khan family responded, once again, to Trump, but the heart of that original DNC speech is what gained the attention of so many people. Khan’s brave emotion and dedicated oratory reopened a dialogue for all Muslim Americans, and their ongoing safety within the United States.
3. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race
The more Sanders spoke, the more people listened. Bernie had a particular and unique ability to connect with young voters and truly engage them. When his campaign first began early last year, a small crowd of people gathered for his announcement. A few short months later and the self-proclaimed democratic-socialist was packing stadiums when he spoke. As a result, it came as a surprise for some supporters when Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton as Democratic nominee on July 12. Hillary and Bernie were seen as fundamentally different in respect to certain policies. Therefore, when Bernie stepped out of the race for Clinton, many of his supporters did not follow suit. The announcement created a rift within the young voters that led some to Trump, some to the independents, and others to simply not exercise their right to vote. His passionately expressed ideas were the tools that Bernie Sanders used to be a worthy competitor and a memorable game-changer in the 2016 election.
2. Obama gives legendary DNC speech
Since his 2004 DNC keynote address, Barack Obama has shown himself to be a more than worthy orator. Fortunately, for people watching the Democratic National Convention, he stayed true to form. The lengthy yet insightful speech made for an emotional farewell to his presidency and a marvelous endorsement of Hillary Clinton. The soon-to-be ex-president touched on subjects from his relationship with Michelle Obama to his opinion of republican nominee, Donald Trump. Obama managed to balance all of these varying topics, while demonstrating an impressive sense of humor and an obvious passion for the country he lead.
1. Hillary Clinton became the first major party female nominee
Whether you agree with Clinton or not, her nomination was an undeniably historic moment. As the crowd erupted into cheers on the second day of the DNC, Clinton spoke via satellite to accept the momentous nomination. There have been women to run as the nominees for smaller independent parties, but for a major party, it was a new step forward. The first U.S. presidential election was held in 1789, making 2016 seem like a lengthy wait to see something this elementary be finally instituted. While many view Hillary Clinton as an untrustworthy candidate, her nomination still represents positive change for gender equality in the United States.