Debates and Swing States
The 2016 presidential election pits former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Democratic nominee) against businessman and former reality television star Donald Trump (Republican nominee). There are only 47 days until America hires the next president, and college students votes are going to matter. Here are the "need to know" details on what's upcoming in the election.
Before the general election takes place in November, there will be three debates between the two candidates and one debate between their running mates.
*There is only one vice-presidential debate, but it is also going to be extremely important, as this is the only time the country’s potential second-in-command debate each other.
Prez. Debate Schedule
- September 26th on NBC
- October 9th on ABC
- October 19th on FOX
*Vice-Prez. Debate Schedule
- October 4th on CBS
These debates are key for possibly swinging the vote farther in Secretary Clinton’s favor or pushing more support for Mr. Trump -- so each candidate must be at their best. While both candidates already have a strong base of supporters, there are many undecided voters that will watch these debates and analyze the flaws of each candidate to decide who they want to be the next president.
In these debates, Secretary Clinton needs to be more relatable and personable and less rehearsed. That was her downfall in 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama stole the election from Secretary Clinton with his unwavering charisma. She also needs to connect with the younger generations. Senator Bernie Sanders played a similar role to that of President Obama in 2008, but Sanders came up short. Part of the reason he remained so close for so long to Clinton was the amount of his supporters from the age of 18 to 30 (aka millennials). The millennial vote will matter in this election. As it shows in national polls, Clinton doesn’t relate to the youth as well as Sanders. Clinton continues to struggle to garner support from Sanders’ supporters -- who remain supportive of Sanders or third-party candidates.
Donald Trump needs to carry himself with more poise and better temperament during the debates. He often veers off on a tangent and either avoids questions or insults others. If he wants to fare well in front of a national audience in a mediated debate, Trump needs to cut down on the insults and focus on issues. Part of his appeal since he announced his candidacy was that he would say what was on his mind, but what is on his mind comes off as insulting, or as many media outlets label it as "racist, hateful rhetoric." It does not bode well for him in the election.
Both candidates have a problem with going back on their stances. Videos have surfaced all over the internet of each candidate saying one thing weeks, months, or even years in the past, that is the complete opposite of what they stand for now. That continues to be an issue for both. They both need to stick with a consistent platform and consistent views, rather than changing views to appease different crowds.
In any presidential election, battleground states play an important role in determining who the next President of the United States will be, but in an election that appears to be as close as the 2016 election, they are even more important. Battleground states (aka swing states) are states where the split between registered Democrats and Republicans is nearly even, giving both candidates a chance to win. Currently, there are eleven: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Currently, in a map on the POLITICO website, it shows Clinton leading in eight of the eleven states, but with only a 4% average lead. Florida, which has the most electoral votes with 29, is leaning towards Trump by just a .8% margin. Ohio has the third-most electoral votes and is also leaning towards Trump by a 1.4% margin. The only other swing state Trump has more support in is Iowa.
With the margin being so close across the country, the debates are going to be crucial in determining who gains and loses support.
This presidential election is one unlike any other in the history of the United States, with our country on the brink of disaster or greatness no matter who is elected. It is extremely important that voters are educated on the policies, temperament, and decision-making skills of the candidates, and I implore any college student (and others) who refuse to vote, to rethink that stance, as every vote truly does count and will have an impact on who leads this great nation.
Jackson Collier is managing editor for The Bitter Student. He wants to graduate with concentrations in both journalism and communications. His writing interests are politics and short stories. You can follow Jackson on social media @jacksoncollier and LinkedIn.