With the November 8 election less than six weeks away, the two presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, continue to battle each other in a close race. Many political experts have long been focusing on the so-called swing states to determine which candidate is in the best possible position to become the 45th President of the United States.
Both candidates have a number of states in which no doubt exists that they’ll win, thereby gaining that state’s valuable electoral votes. However, a number of those swing states are extremely close, with the lead in some bouncing back and forth between Clinton and Trump.
In the wake of the first of three debates between the two candidates, the polls in those swing states have shifted in favor of Clinton. Specifically, polls in Florida and North Carolina moved Clinton ahead, while other polls for the states of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado strengthened on her behalf.
The collective number of electoral votes in those five states adds up to 86, which reinforces the swing state reference. The winning candidate needs 270 such votes to capture the presidency, with Florida seen as the most pivotal of the five races. In 2000, the Sunshine State was the focal point of the controversial six-week battle that followed the election, with George W. Bush eventually being declared the winner over Al Gore. That gave Bush the election.
That first debate was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, on September 26. While Trump garnered some early success with some of his remarks, Clinton was largely seen as the overall winner of the contentious discussion.
Some of the most controversial moments came when Trump was criticized by Clinton for not releasing his tax returns, something that’s been standard for presidential candidates since 1976. Trump has claimed that because his current returns were being audited, he couldn’t comply. However, Clinton hinted that Trump was fearful of people discovering that he wasn’t as wealthy as he had claimed or had paid no taxes at all in previous years.
Clinton noted that the only publicly available tax returns Trump had released were three decades old and showed that he hadn’t paid any taxes. Trump responded by simply saying, “That makes me smart,” and indicated that paying such taxes only allows the federal government to waste the money that is sent to them.
Some undecided voters in North Carolina took offense to the comments after being asked about the remark. Meanwhile, Clinton pointed out that not paying any taxes reduced the amount of available money the government could provide for infrastructure projects, schools and military veterans.
Another area that’s been a source of controversy for Trump has been his remarks about whether or not President Obama was born in the United States. Even after Obama released his birth certificate, Trump continued to express doubt until recently admitting that the President is an American citizen. However, his refusal to apologize and instead blame Clinton for creating the issue were criticized.
Trump’s temperament has been a frequent source of commentary, with many critics saying that his tendency to hurl insults at any critical remarks make him unsuited for the presidency. In addition, his dealings with women have also been closely scrutinized, since he had made previous disparaging remarks about such individuals as comedian Rosie O’Donnell and former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado.
In the latter case, his criticism of Machado’s weight problem was the latest in a continuing series of remarks about overweight people. Those same critics accused Trump of “fat shaming.”