Election Over: Looking Back at the Campaigns


With the election over, it’s time to take a look back at both of the nominees for the two major political parties as well as their campaigns, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee Donald J. Trump.

Both campaigns had plenty of time in the spotlight. Unfortunately for them, both were covered in mud slung by the other’s campaign, faces bruised from their own punches, next to dirt uncovered by the likes of WikiLeaks as well as many anonymous sources. This one on one battle however, began slightly over a year since the beginning of either candidate’s run for the presidency.

Clinton announced her run for president in the 2016 election on April 12, 2015. By the time the first democratic debate came around, experts thought Clinton had an easy road to the nomination seeing as at the time her opponents consisted of not very well known candidates such as former senator from Virginia Jim Webb, former governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, and senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

Clinton began her one on one practice very early in the race, seeing as though Webb ended his campaign on Oct. 20, 2015 and Chafee suspended his run on the Oct. 23, 2015. O’Malley suspended his campaign after not performing so well in the Iowa caucuses. This left Clinton pitted against Sanders. This race was fought without personal attacks that would be seen later in the general election due to Sanders wanting to stick to the issues.

In their fight for the nomination, Sanders and Clinton discussed a variety of issues they believed needed to be talked about. Throughout the primaries, the two discussed the minimum wage, college tuition, healthcare, gun control, campaign finance reform, taxes, paid family leave, and more.

During the primaries, Clinton battled against herself and her prior political record, such as a vote for the Iraq war, paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, her email scandal, and taking money from big time donors and folks on Wall Street.

After the primaries were over, Clinton and Sanders worked together to reform the Democratic platform. This platform included a call for a $15-dollar minimum wage tied to inflation, healthcare reform which would clear the way for a public option, free public college tuition for families making less than $125,000 a year.

Trump announced his run for president on June 16, 2015. Trump, to many experts, wasn’t seriously considered as someone who could win the nomination. Little did they know that Trump would be the only one left of the initial 17 Republicans, including senator from Texas Ted Cruz, senator from Florida Marco Rubio, and governor of Ohio John Kasich. He projected himself as the anti-establishment candidate who just couldn’t be bought.

Although Trump never shared the stage with only one Republican opponent during the primaries, he learned how to stand his own against other candidates. He spent time at the debates calling other candidates “low energy”, liars, and give them belittling names. This doesn’t mean that Trump escaped unscathed.

Trump went through the campaign defending dubious claims such as opposing the Iraq War despite evidence to the contrary. He also changed his stance on abortion, used incendiary rhetoric toward immigrants his claim on illegal immigrants, and even mocked a disabled New York Times journalist. Trump officially claimed the Republican nomination on July 19, 2016.

Before they faced off in the first debate both parties held their national conventions. After the Republican National Convention, Trump’s approval rating went up six points. Clinton saw a similar bump after the Democratic National Convention with her approval rating increasing by seven points.

Post-convention, Trump continued to make headlines with his volatile rhetoric, most notably when he attacked Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Gold Star Family whose son, Army Captain Humayun Khan died in the Iraq War in 2004. This moment signaled the beginning of general election headlines. Scandals related to Trump University, multiple business bankruptcies, failure to reveal income tax returns, and an explicit audiotape where Trump bragged about his ability to sexually assault women with impunity because he is a celebrity, caused many analysts to wonder if he was sinking his own campaign.

Clinton faced her own scrutiny, though it was a part of a more conventional political spectrum. She continually faced questions related to more than 30,000 emails deleted from her own private server while acting as President Obama’s Secretary of State. She also faced inquiries about usage of funds in the Clinton Foundation, and her high-paying Wall Street speeches, and finally for referring to Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.”

After nearly two years of constant campaigning, scandal-ridden headlines, three bitter debates, and a barrage of negative advertising, the American people descended on the polls on Nov. 8. As the returns poured in from east to west it became evident that Trump would pull off a historic upset and defeat Clinton. After midnight, in the early hours of Nov. 9, Hillary Clinton called Donald J. Trump to concede the race, making him the forty-fifth President of the United States.