By: Alex Marchante
It is finally here, Election Day 2016. For some or most people, tonight will be the culmination of the chaotic political whirlwind, until 2020. For other people, it will be the moment of the ultimate decision that will change the face of America in one way or the other.
What can be said about tonight is that everyone will be watching the developments once polls close. Here are the main storylines to watch across the country Tuesday night:
#1: Will The Scandals Matter?
The stories dominating the news since the presidential debates have been scandals. There hasn’t been a dull moment where there has been either no new scandal to talk about or further developments from an existing scandal. On Donald Trump’s side of scandals, the list can go on and on. However, the scandals most covered as of late have been the sexual-assault accusations coming after several women came forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault, rape, etc. These allegations have spread since the 1980s with Jessica Leeds to more recently in 2013 with former Miss Washington, Cassandra Searles. NPR has a list of every woman that has come out against Trump with these allegations.
These scandals are the tip of the iceberg for Trump. Allegations of misusing charity foundation money to buy a six-foot portrait of himself, an ongoing fraud lawsuit against Trump University, amongst others. The Atlantic has a list of all scandals involving the Republican nominee.
For Hillary Clinton’s side, the main issue since the primary season has been her tens of thousands of emails. Also, with the reopening of the FBI investigation thanks to the emails crossed between disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton’s private email server, it is unlikely that the investigations and allegations will stop after Election Day or even after Inauguration Day if Clinton is elected. This also coincides with the massive coverage on Clinton’s emails found on her private server and the emails found to be classified. Despite the FBI clearing Hillary Clinton of any charges on November 6th, there is damage done already given the latest polling.
Like Trump, Clinton has her fair share of scandals that have followed her throughout this election cycle. The Atlantic has also written an article detailing every Clinton scandal, from the Clinton Foundation’s foreign investors, Clinton’s Wall Street speeches, Benghazi and of course, emails.
These scandals are the main reason why these two candidates are the most disliked presidential candidates in American history. Will these scandals shift the balance of the voters come Election Day?
#2: Will an Independent win Utah?
A dark horse candidate has a true chance of winning the state of Utah. It’s not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Neither is it Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Who is this candidate? Evan McMullin.
Who is Evan McMullin? McMullin is a former CIA operations officer who has been gaining a large following from the Mormon community in Utah. McMullin has only been in the race since August, announced his running mate would be political and digital strategist Mindy Finn just a month ago.
However, despite the short amount of time being actually in the race, McMullin has gained a following in various states, most notably Utah where in the last week or so, McMullin has been in considerable range of taking the state. In an Emerson College poll on October 19th, McMullin was winning Utah with 31% of the vote.
In a race where it seems like every state can’t be taken for granted as an easy win, a perfect storm of disliked major party candidates and a surging conservative candidate with strong Mormon support, Evan McMullin could play spoiler come Tuesday, In fact, ABC News has even stated that given the tightness of this presidential race, Evan McMullin’s shocker win in Utah could force the presidential race to be decided by the House of Representatives come January. This would be the first time since 1824 that an election would be decided by House of Representatives, to perfectly culminate an election for the ages.
#3 How Will the Votes not going to Trump or Clinton Tilt the Race?
If it weren’t for conservative independent candidate Evan McMullin, there would be a larger chance that Donald Trump would win the state of Utah. However, there are two other major third-party candidates in Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. In the always important state of Florida, these voters would be key if they decide to go with Trump or Clinton. In four-way polling in Florida according to RealClearPolitics, both Trump and Clinton have polled neck and neck. The voters leaning for Johnson or Stein have accounted for anywhere from 2% to 6% in the past handful of polls.
The state of Florida has seen impact from third-party candidates before, especially in the infamous 2000 Election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, which saw third-party candidate Ralph Nader and others account for roughly 140,000 votes in a state decided by just 537 votes. In crucial states like Florida, all you can do is hold your breath.
#4: How will Demographics and Minorities Shape the Election?
The Washington Post have laid out all the breakdowns of polling that you could possibly want about this presidential election. However, the demographics don’t matter if there is low turnout to the polling stations. For Hillary Clinton, she leads African American voting 86% to Donald Trump’s 3% according to the Washington Post breakdown. She also leads voting amongst Hispanics by 50+ points according to NBC News. In Hispanic-heavy states like Florida and strong African-American presence in Georgia and the Midwest, there is much need for the Clinton camp for high turnout.
The male-to-female, young-to-old and other ratios will also have a strong impact come Tuesday night. Both candidates are going to need high turnout and low complacency from their stronghold demographics in battleground states to clinch the presidency.
#5: What it comes down to: Path to Victory
Red vs. Blue. The race to 270. What truly matters on election night are the electoral votes. Although many states seem to be already in the bag for one candidate or the other, such as California and New York for Hillary Clinton and the Deep South and center of the country for Donald Trump, several states up for grabs are key for the election. Currently, Hillary Clinton has the advantage in the projected electoral results.
However, with key battleground states as close as possible, it is still anyone’s race. If Donald Trump can win all the battleground states, including Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Utah, Ohio and others, he will be within striking range of Hillary Clinton. What is key is being able to flip one of the Democratic states from Hillary Clinton such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which aren’t necessarily in the bag for Clinton.
No matter the state you live in, no matter how close or far the polls are, what is key to Election Day is the action that leads to election, voting. Go out and vote, that’s what the difference makes. It’s worth the wait of being in line, it’s worth the four-year wait. It’s worth your future and the future of this country. Go out and vote Tuesday if you haven’t already, that’s how you let your voice known.