We asked a few Beacon staff what they think about the highly-charged election. Here’s what they had to say.
Do you think if the sexual assault tape was released earlier, that Trump would’ve still been nominated?
Trump has surpassed all of our expectations so far, and his fanbase has clearly proven to be an untapped voter group. Even with the tape, unfortunately, I think he could have gotten this far. He’s been accused of rape in the past, by his ex-wife. He’s criticized illegal immigrants. He’s cozied up to Vladimir Putin. And all of that happened before he was even nominated. If he could get his voters to forgive all that, the reality is he could get them to forgive these tapes as well. This is a voter base that’s angry—angry about their incomes, angry about shifting power dynamics, and angry about (what they perceive to be) liberal change. In a way, it seems Trump can do no wrong for them.
It seems like Hillary Clinton has everything going for her. What does she need to do to give herself the extra push?
In Clinton’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, she dropped an important phrase: Systematic racism. It’s shockingly rare for politicians to address these inequalities on an institutional level. But I’d like to hear Clinton go deeper on how power and privilege can affect us all.
Do you think Donald Trump’s consistent anti-establishment rhetoric is helping or hurting him at this point in the campaign?
Trump certainly is consistent—consistently foolish. After a half-hearted apology for his statements captured on tape, he has now decided to fight the Republican establishment, saying that “the shackles have been taken off.” While this may be appealing to his loyal base, this rhetoric is truly unappealing to a general public. A man totally unable to admit his mistakes is not someone most people want to vote for. His devoted supporters will not leave him, regardless of the scandals that have yet to emerge. The general public? Not so much. He is shooting himself in the foot by turning his back on the establishment, and it may lead to the GOP ballot being overturned. Of course, Trump is far too delusional to realize this. You don’t play the game by breaking the rules: this is a lesson Trump will learn too late.
Deputy Opinion Editor
What do you think this election means for the future of national politics?
I’ve been seeing a lot of op-eds heralding the downfall of the Republican Party. It’s self-destructing, it’s falling apart, it’s a wreck. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson said in August that “Trump is the demise” of the GOP. Mind you, a major party hasn’t risen since the GOP itself replaced the Whigs in 1860. So, I don’t think that the Republican Party is going anywhere. It survived (and thrived!) after Watergate, after all. Like Nixon, Trump is facing a lot of animosity among the Republican establishment, but it’s the electorate that actually supports a party. It’s not like Trump is actually losing much of the mostly white and largely male Republican core. The Republican Party is staying put, but maybe it’ll evolve? After all, we’ve had three major realignments in the major parties since Lincoln’s GOP. Who knows what’ll happen to the Republicans in the long term?
Has this election gotten you more interested in politics?
This election cycle has been pretty painful, at least recently. I’m fed up at this point, watching the debates and staying updated on the race more out of obligation than actual interest. To be fair, I’ve already voted on an absentee ballot, but my interest waned long before I filled in any bubbles. This is the first election I’ve followed as a registered voter, so I’ve paid much more attention than in previous years, and frankly, I’m a little burned out. Maybe it’s the specific candidates, maybe it’s the media coverage, or maybe it’s the way this election comes up in conversation almost daily. Actually, maybe it’s all three (it’s definitely all three). Don’t get me wrong, this election is very important and I would be incredibly surprised and disappointed if my candidate lost. However, at this point, it’s all a bit much. Bring on November 9.
Assistant News Editor