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US Elections 2016 Live

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  • Nicaragua: President Ortega on course for third term

    Ortega leads polls with 71 percent of votes, according to electoral authorities, as opposition contests turnout.
     
    They haven't garnered as much attention as their noisy neighbours, but a little further south along the continent and Nicaraguans are electing their president, with incumbent Daniel Ortega on course for a third term. 
     
     
  • American Muslims brace for the worst after US election

    With white nationalist militias on the rise, Muslim communities across the US fear violence come Election Day.
     

    "It seems like certain segments of the American society insist on holding us responsible for the violent actions of some Muslims overseas. We don’t condone any kind of violence much less defend those who commit it. We are Americans first and foremost."

  • Behind the polls

    Some interesting take aways from this YouGov opinion poll summary for the battleground state of Ohio.
     
    Trump leads Clinton by a single point, according to the data, but the emphasis on the headline numbers takes attention away from the other questions pollsters ask.
     
    Some nuggets to mull over:
     
    • 19 percent of respondents said they had already voted
    • 4 percent said there's time left to change their mind over who to vote for and 22 percent said they would change their mind for "something big"
    • Only 14 percent said they had ever considered a candidate other than the one they intend to vote for.
     
     
  • Obama leaves no stone unturned in getting out the vote


  • Clinton takes hit after FBI announcement


     
    If Clinton does lose this election, how much responsibility will she place on the FBI and its director James Comey? 
     
    After reopening an investigation into whether the presidential candidate stored confidential emails on a private server last month, the agency later cleared her of wrong doing.
  • Could a former-CIA officer take Utah?

    Trump and the Mormon factor: Could McMullin win Utah?

    Local third-party candidate Evan McMullin could cause an Election Day upset in conservative US state.
     
    "You've never heard of me because while you (Trump) were harassing women at beauty pageants, I was fighting terrorists abroad".
  • What are the swing states?

     

  • Trump eyes Pennsylvania

     
     
    The home of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch and Rocky Balboa will be a key indicator of who's heading to the White House. 
     
    Clinton leads most polls but some by as little as a single percentage point. Trump feels he can pull something off here and is focusing his final efforts in the traditionally Democrat state.
  • Will the Bern Factor make a difference?

     


     
    Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton slogged it out in the primaries in what often appeared like a bitter-fought struggle.
     
    However, if there were any bad feelings between the pair, they're not on show right now. Sanders has thrown his lot in with Clinton and is urging his supporters to come out and vote for the Democratic nominee.
     
    But will his fans be feeling the Bern?
  • America's second-class citizens

    Why more than six million Americans cannot vote.
     
    In a number of US states, if you have committed a crime and served time for it, you can permanently lose your right to vote.
     
    Around six million Americans are currently not allowed cast a ballot with Florida leading the way with 1.6 million people disenfranchised.
     
    Civil rights activists say the method is a structural way of targeting Black voters and the rules effect people who have not committed a crime for decades.
  • States to watch

     

    Clinton vs Trump: States to watch on November 8

    Five battleground states are key to watch as US election results start trickling in on Tuesday.
     
    Who wins the presidency will depend on just a handful of states. If Donald Trump can pull off upsets in Democrat heartlands like Michigan, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton is going to have a hard time making up the numbers.
  • Khan family out for Hillary

     

     
    The family of a slain US Muslim soldier have been out on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton.
     
    Trump prompted outrage for his attacks on Khizr Khan and his wife Ghazala.
     
    The pair have been vocal against the Republican candidate's plans to ban Muslims from entering the US and his comments on other minorities.
     
  • Latinos mobilise against Trump

     
    Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo meets Latinos in the state of Arizona where Donald Trump's comments on immigrants from Mexico have angered many.
  • Hispanic voters help break early voting records in Nevada

     
     
  • Alice Butler-Short drives around Virginia in her truck, now named The Donald, campaigning for Trump.

    This is her message to voters: 

    "This is a time like no other. This election is the most important election in our lifetime. On Tuesday go and vote, and vote for Donald Trump; vote for the man who has your interests at heart."

    Virginia campaigners make last push before Election Day

    Republicans and Democrats go door-to-door, equally determined to make their candidate win the race for the White House.
  • Clinton backs free tuition for poorest students


     
    How will that go down? Not an outright promise; "should be free" and "will be free"  mean two different things, but in a country where student debts run into tens of thousands of dollars per student, this will no doubt appeal to many,
  • Arab Americans gear up to vote in Dearborn

    Rachid Elabed works with ACCESS, a community group pushing to get the Arab American vote out in Michigan. To combat potential voter suppression, the group has trained volunteers to watch the polls on Election Day. Read more... 
  • What does the rest of the world really think about the US election? 

    US election: What does the rest of the world think?

    Opinion writers from across different continents reflect on the US election.
     
    Days away from the US presidential election and many worldwide are abuzz with what the result may mean for their communities. We asked experts from six different regions to share their thoughts on what is perhaps one of the most polarised elections in US history. 
  • 'How to vote for' is being searched at its highest ever rate

    (Google Trends)
     
    Early voting has already begun in some states and many are going online to find out how to go to the polls. According to Google Trends, "how to vote for" is being searched at it's highest ever rate. 

    Luckily, the search engine has the answers, providing voting requirements and other specifics for each state. 
  • US elections: Don't forget about the US Senate races

     
    This year's arguably unconventional US presidential election is dominating the conversation, but another battle in brewing for control of the US Senate. 

    Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, which analyses polling data, is currently showing almost a dead heat as the Democrats vie to retake the Senate. 
     
    A number of key states, including Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, will help determine which party takes control. 
     
    Among the powers of the Senate, is its responsibility of confirming presidential appointments to the Supreme Court. 
  • Clinton and celebrities target millennials, Trump calls it 'almost cheating'

     
    In an effort to connect with young voters, Hillary Clinton is boasting a star-studded lineup in the final days leading up to the election. "Let me hear you roar for Hillary", singer Katy Perry shouted as she joined the Democratic nominee in Philadelphia on Saturday. A day prior, Jay Z and Beyonce took the stage with Clinton in Cleveland.
     
    Donald Trump, who has continually said the election is rigged, took issue with Clinton's list of celebrity supporters.
     
    "We didn't bring any so-called stars along - we didn't need them", Trump said at a rally in Reno on Saturday. "The reason Hillary has to do that is, nobody comes for her. She can't fill a room." 
     
    "That's almost like a form of cheating", Trump added. 
     
    For more from the Clinton campaign trail, follow Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett. And Alan Fisher has the latest from Trump campaign. 

    Also check out Chris Sheridan's look at why Donald Trump draws crowds and Hillary Clinton doesn't. 
  • The 2016 presidential campaign has been one of the most divisive in history but will the anger released subside once a winner is announced?
  • Trump: Clinton protected by a 'rigged system'

     
    When the FBI announced it would review more emails, Donald Trump praised the FBI, saying the ssytem was perhaps not as rigged as he thought. Now, he's back where he started: Clinton is protected by a "rigged system", he says.
  • FBI: No criminal charges over Clinton emails

    After the last-minute drama added to the campaign last week, FBI Director James Comey now says a review of newly discovered emails sent or received by Hillary Clinton has not changed his conclusion that the Democratic candidate should not face criminal charges. 
  • Should the world brace for financial tremors after the US election?

     
     
    Al Jazeera's Kamahl Santamaria looks at the potential economic fallout a Trump victory on Tuesday night could bring about. 
     
    After Britain unexpectedly voted to leave the EU in June, the pound crashed and economists warned of slow economic growth for years. Could a Trump presidency similarly panic world economies?
     
     
    by Shafik.Mandhai edited by Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath 11/6/2016 2:00:30 PM
  • There's no escaping the US election

     


     
    Tuesday's result will have consequences way beyond the borders of the US. Hundreds of millions will be following the outcome of the vote and you can join them on Al Jazeera's YouTube live stream here
  • Clinton attacks Trump on women


     
    If it were up to women only, polls show Trump would lose in a landslide. Here his rival highlights some of the comments that arguably explain why the Republican nominee is losing the vote among women. 
  • Clinton leads on newspaper endorsements

     

     
    An interesting infographic from statistician Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight politics team. Hillary Clinton has the highest number of newspaper endorsements in the period between now and 1984.
     
    The Democratic party candidate has received backing from papers with a strong conservative tilt, including the Arizona Republic,  which hasn't backed a Democrat for the presidency since it was founded in 1890.
     
    But do such endorsements matter to Trump supporters?
  • Can Trump snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

     

    Democratic hopeful has five-point lead as Trump bundled off stage by secret service officers at campaign rally.
     
    Clinton leads nationally but only with a slender margin, and as historian Professor Allan Lichtman notes, Trump's can still pull off a victory that would have seemed impossible little over a year ago. 
  • An average of polls in Utah now gives third-party candidate Evan McMullin 25%, Donald Trump 37.4% and Clinton 27%.
     
    When Trump mocked McMullin on the campaign trail, calling him a man he "never heard of", former CIA officer McMullin hit back, telling Trump "you never heard of me because while you were harassing women at beauty pageants, I was fighting terrorists abroad".
     

    Trump and the Mormon factor: Could McMullin win Utah?

    Local third-party candidate Evan McMullin could cause an Election Day upset in conservative US state.
  • This is how the electoral map looked when Barack Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney in 2012.
     
    So by now you probably know the Democrats are blue and the Republicans are red on electoral maps, but why do they matter and how can a candidate who gets more votes overall still end up losing? Politicial scientist Jason Johnson explains here.
  • The US either Trump or Clinton will inherit

    The US homeless camps offering a lesson in democracy

    Overlooked in the elections, Portland’s homeless are organising their own camps on their own terms, but fear evictions.
     
    Al Jazeera's Patrick Strickland reports from Oregon, where the state's homeless are forming their own settlements that reject discrimination, are run according to cooperative principles, and offer a path away from substance abuse.
  • All's cool in the Oval Office

     
     
    Current US President Barack Obama has made no secret of his contempt for Donald Trump but if he had any worries he would be handing over the keys to the White House to the billionaire businessman, they weren't on show this week.
     
    POTUS appeared at ease while surveying costumes at this year's White House Halloween party.
     
    Outfits included the Pope, Captain America, and even a couple of Obamas. 
  • Trump focuses on key battle grounds

     

     
    Colorado and Pennsylvania are key to either candidate's chances of taking the presidency.
     
    Clinton leads polls in both but neither comfortably. 
  • Michael Moore tells young Americans to 'vote your conscience' 

     
     
    The filmmaker has pedigree in dramatic political interventions; his film Fahrenheit 9/11 was released during the 2004 presidential race between incumbent George W Bush and John Kerry.
     
    The movie poured scorn over the Bush administration's post-9/11 policies, especially the decision to go to war in Iraq.
     
    This year Moore, a supporter of former Democratic party contender Bernie Sanders, said it was up to over-35s to vote against Republican nominee Donald Trump. 
     
    Young people are not responsible for the "mess" the US is in, the Oscar-winner said, adding they should vote without compromising their values.
     
     

  • How do African-Americans feel about the election?
    Andy Gallacher reports from St Louis, Missouri
  • 10 revealing, juicy and quirky emails from the Clinton WikiLeaks dump


    For the past two weeks, WikiLeaks has released more than 30,000 emails from advisers involved in the campaign to elect Hillary Clinton. So far, the Clinton campaign has not verified the authenticity of the emails, instead lashing out at Russian hackers with ties to President Vladimir Putin. He has denied any involvement.
     
    The emails are from the hacked account of Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta, who left the White House in 2015 where he served as a senior adviser to President Barack Obama. 
     
    More than anything, the emails provide a fascinating insight into how Washington works. There are requests from friends, journalists and strangers for personal and professional favours.
     
    There are other emails related to the campaign itself and how to respond to crises, particularly the one that erupted in the spring of 2015 when it was revealed Clinton had used a private server for government business while secretary of state. Other emails reveal personality clashes both within the White House and on the campaign trail. 
     
    Here are some revealing, juicy and interesting emails from the dump:

    1) Back in March 2015, about a month before Clinton announced her candidacy, the early tension between Podesta and Philippe Reines, a Clinton family confidante and close adviser, was clear. The controversy over Clinton's emails was boiling and since she had not yet announced her candidacy, Podesta could not officially speak for her. But word was getting out among the press that Clinton would address the issue soon. "You got to stop this," Podesta wrote to Reines who later characterised that statement as "unfair". Podesta agreed the two needed to work out boundaries and wrote, "If we are going to be at each other's throats before we start, we are going nowhere". Clinton went public the next day at the United Nations expressing regret for her use of a private server.
     
    2) In that same email chain about her use of a server, Craig Minassian, chief communications officer with the Clinton Foundation, refers to their "favourite CNN source" feeding them information about newsroom gossip. That source, according to Minassian, was giving them a heads-up about a possible interview with Clinton over the emails. The "source" isn't named in the email. 

    3) One of the most persistent attack lines from Clinton opponents during the campaign involves her family's foundation. Critics argue she ran a "pay-for-play" scheme while secretary of state where foreign governments got exclusive access to her in exchange for a sizeable donation to the Clinton Foundation. In this January, 2015 email, Clinton aide Huma Abedin confirms the king of Morocco offered $12m "for the endowment" as long as Clinton participated in a meeting. It should be noted Clinton was not secretary of state at the time.
     
    Listening Post: WikiLeaks, political hacks and the US election
     
    4) It's no secret in Washington that former Vice President Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton did not get along. Even though they served together for eight years in the White House, there were reports of personality clashes and policy disagreements that left a bitter taste by the end. Al Gore endorsed Hillary Clinton in July and attended a rally with her in Miami, Florida this month. But back in November, 2015 Clinton advisers shared a story from People magazine where Gore refused to endorse her. "There is no love lost in this relationship," wrote Abedin.

    5) In a back and forth with Luke Albee from Engage Cuba, Podesta discussed the 11-hour Congressional grilling of Clinton last October by Republican lawmakers on the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on a US diplomatic outpost that left four Americans dead. Clinton was secretary of state during the attack and was widely criticised for failing to prevent it. "Laughing too hard is her authentic weirdness," Podesta wrote of Clinton.  
     
    6) Long before Clinton named Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate, many potential picks came courting her. But one potential pick was allegedly miffed that she wasn't courting him. According to this email, Podesta complained that staff for Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti were "dicking around with us". The reason? Marlon Marshall, a top Clinton campaign official, wrote in the same chain that Garcetti, "had been bitching that she [Clinton] hadn't called him" about a potential VP nomination.

    7) As the State Department email controversy continued to brew and cause problems for her on the campaign trail, her top advisers debated how to control the message. Neera Tanden, president at the Center for American Progress, wrote to Podesta that Clinton's decision not to do a national interview on the subject was becoming, "a character problem". Tanden advised there "was no downside in her actually just saying, look, I'm sorry". That’s exactly what she did two weeks later.
     
    8) In this email from March, 2015, the soon-to-be inner circle of the Clinton campaign discusses how to handle the response to a Politico story. "Wonder if we shouldn't parcel out reporters for each of us to call and say the only people they should trust are the people on this call," wrote Clinton pollster Joel Benenson. "Just trying to think if we can slow the key 10-15 key reporters."

    9) In April, 2015, Clinton legal, financial and political advisers debated how to take foreign campaign donations and whether they should take them at all. The issue was, and still is, a dicey one for Clinton following repeated charges that she accepted foreign cash for her foundation in exchange for meetings with foreign leaders while secretary of state. Marc Elias, a Clinton attorney, wrote, "This is really a straight up political call." Others asked how much money the campaign would actually be giving up. Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's communications director, wrote to the group, "Take the money!!"
     
    10) Podesta tweaked conspiracy theorists ears when he tweeted in 2015 that one of his biggest failures was not convincing the White House to declassify a number of UFO files. That prompted excitement among advocates for more openness on extraterrestrial existence. One of them was Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge. He wrote Podesta repeatedly according to WikiLeaks. In this email from January, 2016, it appears Podesta even set up a meeting with him, a possible nod to his commitment to revealing the truth about UFOs if he ever gets back into the White House.
  • What do polls actually tell us?

     
    By Tom Ackerman
     
    Six weeks before the election, American media are spending as much time tracking poll numbers as they are reporting the candidates’  latest pronouncements.
     
    As the race tightens in the homestretch, they can be forgiven for paying such close attention to the daily dynamics of the numbers.
     
    But which polls?
     
    Without much qualification, they cite a bewildering variety of surveys, some more meaningful than others.
     
    Take polls of registered voters. In 2012, registred voters totalled 146 million – but only 126 million actually cast ballots.
     
    Polls of "likely" voters should be more reliable, but the polling companies use varying methods to figure out who fits that definition.
     
    Then there are the tracking polls. They check back with the same group of people to gauge how they are changing their opinions over time.
     
    Push polls are conducted by campaigns or their allies whose purpose is to persuade voters by using loaded or manipulative questions. 
     
    The worst are online or snap polls, which are open to anyone and don't prevent multiple voting by participants trying to run up the totals for their favourite.
    (When one of Fox News' primetime hosts hailed Donald Trump's online poll performance just after his first debate with Hillary Clinton, a Fox executive warned that such "polls do not meet our editorial standards".)
     
     
    What the public is less likely to hear about are the campaign observers who take the long view – leaving aside the latest survey results to concentrate on the fundamentals of presidential elections.
     
    Yale University's Ray Fair uses an economic model to forecast a winner based on growth per capita in the four years before the election.
      
    Alan Lichtman of American University has devised a checklist of 13 "keys" to the presidency, combining economic, social, foreign and military indicators with the perceived charisma of the
    candidates and how long their parties have been sitting in or out of the White House.
     
    Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, has a "Time for Change" model which employs some of the same factors as well as the incumbent president's approval rating. (Obama is currently at 51 percent, slightly higher than the historical average for an elected president in the final months of his second term.)
     
    And then there's the Polly Vote, which combines a number of inputs including expert judgment, prediction betting markets and citizen forecasts.
     
    The Polly poll shows Clinton ahead on every count except for its econometric model, which gives Trump an advantage of less than one point.
     
    But the other prognosticators mentioned above now give the edge to Trump.
     
    So which to believe?
     
    Abramowitz, for one, is hedging his own scientific findings.
     
    He admitted to one interviewer that his model doesn't capture everything.
     
    "These forecasting models assume that you have mainstream candidates who will unify each party," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Trump doesn't fit that pattern. He's off the charts. And it's very hard to predict how that's going to play out."
     
    Abramowitz added that given Trump's sky-high unfavourability ratings (however close to Clinton's own negatives), he can't trust his own forecast fundamentals.
     
    So much for political science.
  • Bernie supporters jump on board the Hillary train

     
    By Chris Sheridan
     
    At a packed gymnasium at the University of New Hampshire, Jake Adams and Emily Cochrane, both 19, are at a Democratic rally and await the arrival of their fearless leader. It isn't presidential nominee Hillary Clinton they're here to see. It's Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. 

    "I'm a self-described socialist," says Adams who volunteered for Sanders' unsuccessful attempt to win the Democratic nomination over Clinton. "When I heard he was running, it was a match made in heaven."

    "I really liked a lot of his ideas," Cochrane adds. Like many young supporters, she was disappointed when he ceded the nomination to Clinton.
     
    (Reuters)
     
    But today, Adams and Cochrane and many others here in Durham, New Hampshire are doing what Sanders will do: join Clinton at a rally in her bid for the White House. 
     
    "I don't want to [support Hillary] but she's my only choice, the lesser of two evils, you know what I mean?" says Katie Emmett, 19, a studio arts student. That other evil is Republican nominee Donald Trump. 
     
    "I'm not happy about it," says Adele Ziemek, 19, about her support for Clinton. "I'm for Hillary by default." She agrees that Trump would be far worse. "He's disrespectful to women, openly racist. He's not what we need."

    There were times when it appeared the Clinton and Sanders camps would never come together during their nomination battle. During the Democrats' July convention, some supporters booed when Sanders asked them to back Clinton.
     
    That bitterness is still reflected in the popularity of third-party candidates like Green Party nominee Jill Stein or Libertarian Gary Johnson, polling as high as 17 percent nationally among registered voters. A poll in Florida last week showed third-party support among millenials at 27 percent.

    This is precisely why Clinton has come to this university town in the battleground state of New Hampshire. She's hoping Sanders' star power among students will energise them. 
     
    "Today, I am asking you to think big, not small," Sanders told his supporters as Clinton sat nearby. "I am asking you, here today, not only to vote for Secretary Clinton, but to work hard to get your uncles and your aunts and friends to vote."
     
    The Clinton campaign admits they need more Bernie. "We're working with them [Sanders officials] to get more events on the calendar," says Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's communications director. That includes social media platforms like Facebook, she added. 
     
    As for backing Stein, perhaps the closest candidate to Sanders' left-leaning policy platform, many here agree it's not worth it.
     
    "She has very little public experience," says Adams. "I don't think she'd get anything done."
     
    Many here are hopeful that Sanders' backing will give him a prominent voice in a Clinton administration.
     
    "I can tell that he's definitely been rubbing off on her," says Ziemek. "I'm hopeful that Hillary will get some things done that Bernie might not have been able to."
  • Expect theatrics - but no game changer

    (Reuters)
     
    By Tom Ackerman
     
    The first of three scheduled presidential debates on Monday is anticipated to glue more eyeballs to American television screens than a Super Bowl - maybe even another moon landing.
     
    The expectations are high as pundits look for – forgive the cliche – a "game changer".
     
    But history hasn't been kind to debates as instruments that foretell US elections, regardless of the breathless round-by-round commentary and the morning-after scorecards.
     
    In the very first TV showdown between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, surveys found that most viewers thought Kennedy had won against Nixon, who had refused to use makeup and projected as sweaty and unshaven. But those who only listened to the debate on radio concluded Nixon was the winner.
     
    In any event, he lost the vote – yet by less than 2/10th of one percent.
     
    Ronald Reagan, a former Hollywood actor, bested incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980 on points. But the polls had already indicated that Reagan was heading for a decisive win amid a weak economy and after Carter's failure to rescue American diplomats held hostage in Iran.
     
    Fast forward to the so-called gaffes – George Bush the elder impatiently looking at his watch, Al Gore letting out a deep sigh.
     
    Bush lost his re-election bid while Gore defeated Bush's son by half a million votes only to lose the decisive electoral ballot tally.
     
    In the first debate of 2012, Mitt Romney made Barack Obama look defensive and lackluster, raising Republican hopes of a winning surge a month before the polls. It never happened.
     
    Of course, in a Clinton-Trump face-off, all precedents may be irrelevant given the course of this campaign so far.
     
    Just don't expect theatrics on a debating platform to determine the final outcome.
     
  • Enthusiasm gap among youth spells trouble for Clinton 

     
    By Chris Sheridan
     
    Gaby Irizarry, 19, is voting for the first time in a US presidential election in November. Like many university students, she's backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But some of her friends are not.
     
    "A lot of people are choosing not to vote," says the George Washington University student from Texas. "Looking at the two options, they think if I can't choose from either I might as well not choose anyone at all." Those two options are Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, whose support among young voters is low.
     
    There's little doubt the majority of young people will back Clinton. But new poll numbers show the level of enthusiasm is not as high as the campaign may have hoped. A New York Times/Siena College poll in Florida, a key battleground state, shows Clinton at 51 percent support among voters aged 18-34 years old. In 2008, Barack Obama's historic victory relied on 66 percent of the youth vote nationally.
     
    That's a problem, says Geoffrey Skelley, a political analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "Much lower turnout among young voters is a net benefit for Trump because his base of support is much more reliant on older voters," he says. Those voters, he adds, are much more likely to show up and vote on election day.
     
    More importantly, the number of young voters in that recent Florida poll backing a third-party candidate, like Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein, is at 27 percent.
     
    (Reuters)
    Irizarry herself considered backing Johnson until a recent, very public, gaffe when he asked a TV host "what is Aleppo?" in response to a question about Syria.
     
    For Caleb Weaver, 22, it's pretty clear why Clinton is struggling. "They [the Clinton campaign] have totally failed to make a proactive case for why she is a progressive candidate worth supporting," says the Atlanta resident who backed Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who ran against Clinton in the Democratic primaries. "Progressives supporting Stein or not voting at all are acting out of a discontent with the two-party status quo that goes right back to political and policy decisions made by the Clintons and their allies." Still, Weaver plans to follow Sanders' endorsement of Clinton and vote for her if only to keep Trump from becoming president.
     
    In the past four days, the Clinton campaign has responded to the perceived lack of enthusiasm, blitzing university campuses in important voting states with their stars. On Friday, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at George Mason University in Virginia. On Saturday, Sanders - whose populist campaign against Clinton in the primaries drew tens of thousands of young people into politics - stumped for her in Ohio at the University of Akron and Kent State University.
     
    On Monday, Clinton spoke at Temple University in Philadelphia. She touched on all the themes young voters care about: college tuition, criminal justice reform, solar power and gun control. But she also addressed the lack of enthusiasm head on. "Even if you're totally opposed to Donald Trump, you may still have some questions about me," she told students. "Any voter that's still undecided, give us both a fair hearing."
  • It's all about the electoral college

     
    (Reuters)
     

    By Chris Sheridan
     
    Hillary Clinton made her first public appearance on Thursday after a few days of rest following a fainting spell over the weekend. She took the stage at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to James Brown's classic song, "I Feel Good” and acknowledged she needed the time off after being diagnosed with pneumonia.
     
    "I tried to power through it," she told the enthusiastic crowd. "But even I had to admit that maybe a few days rest would do me good."
     
    She spun her illness into an effective talking point about the need for better healthcare, reminding Americans that while she can take a few days off, millions of people can not.
     
    "They either go to work sick or lose a paycheck," she said.
     
    And while she may be feeling better, her return was met with unsettling news. A new poll shows her lead over Donald Trump has diminished in the past two months.  She now holds a two-point lead nationally according to the latest New York Times-CBS News numbers. Around the same time in July, some polls had her up by as much as 7 points.

    But more importantly, recent polls show Trump now leading in key states like Florida, Ohio and Iowa. And that's what matters most.
     
    That's because, in the United States, the popular vote is less important than the electoral college one. It's a strange system to those who don't live in the US, but it made sense to the men who wrote the US Constitution.
     
    Here's how it works: each state is apportioned a certain number of  "electors" who make up the electoral college. These are loyalists from the major parties who are selected by state committees. They pledge to vote for their party's candidate if that person wins their state's popular vote.
     
    There are the same number of electors as there are members of Congress and senators with the exception of Washington, DC (which is technically not a state). So, for instance, California, the most populated US state has 55 electoral college votes. Alaska, although large in geographic size, is sparsely populated. It has three.
     
    Electors are really just representatives of their state and their party and are required, in some cases by law, to vote for the candidate who won their state's popular vote once all the ballots have been counted. Their vote, which occurs in December, is essentially a verification of the results. So why does anyone care about the electors?
     
    In the US system, the candidate who wins the most electoral college votes, not popular votes, becomes the next president. In 2000, for instance, in arguably the most contested US election in history, Democratic candidate Al Gore actually beat Republican George W Bush in the popular vote. But Bush won enough electoral college votes to move into the White House.
     
    In 2016, a candidate will need 270 electoral votes to win.
     
    This is where the term "battleground" or "swing" state comes in. Battlegrounds are states where the popular vote is too close to call. Candidates spend a lot of time, energy and money in them because they need to win that state's electoral votes.

    In the past three elections, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Iowa have gotten a lot of attention from the candidates because of their potential to swing back and forth between elections from Democrat to Republican or the other way around.
     
    Ohio is considered the jewel in the crown of battleground states. Since 1964, voters there have correctly chosen the winning candidate. 

  • Election season = Conspiracy theory season 

     
    Election season is a time when people's passions come to the forefront, when they evaluate what they believe and who they think will be the best person to lead their country. And, it's a time when conspiracy theories sprout up like wildflowers after a heavy rainy season.
     
    After Hillary Clinton fell ill during a 9/11 ceremony, one theory spread on Twitter: that the woman who later emerged from her daughter's apartment building wasn't the presidential candidate herself, but a body double.
     
     
    Under #HillarysBodyDouble, there were side-by-side pictures of Clinton before and after the incident with people comparing her hands, nose and even earlobes to prove the body double theory.
     
     
    Even before this incident, the 2016 presidential election had certainly seen its fair share of conspiracy theories. Perhaps that is inevitable when the two main characters, Donald Trump and Clinton, have been at the centre of conspiracies before - Trump pushing his "birther" belief for years, claiming that President Barack Obama was not born in the US (he was, in Hawaii); and Clinton having once said her husband's critics were part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" against him.
     
    The conspiracy theories began early in this campaign, with people claiming that Trump was a Democratic plant, way before he ever won the Republican nomination. According to that theory, Trump was going to win the Republican nomination, then drop out of the race, paving the way for a Clinton victory.
     
    Clinton wasn't immune from conspiracy theories either. Earlier in the campaign, with claims from the Trump camp that she was ill, theories began to pop up that Clinton hasn't fully recovered from the concussion she got after an accident in 2012. It didn't help matters that Clinton's team hid her pneumonia diagnosis and revealed it only after the incident, which was filmed, during the 9/11 ceremony in New York City.  
     
    There are also the less circulated conspiracy theories that one, or both, of the candidates belong to the "Illuminati", the shadow organisation that conspiracy theorists everywhere claim secretly runs the world.
     
    With less than 55 days left before Election Day, surely more conspiracy theories are yet to be born. 
  • Clinton campaign soldiers on after health scare

     
    Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will return to the campaign trail on Thursday after a few days of rest. The campaign announced late on Tuesday she'll give remarks in Greensboro, North Carolina.

    This event will mark the first time she's been seen in public since taking a break from campaigning on Sunday following a fainting spell and the revelation that she's been diagnosed with pneumonia. 
     
    As a result of last weekend's revelation and the perception the candidate was trying to hide something, the campaign also plans to release some of her medical records on Thursday. 

    In the meantime, Clinton has some high-powered surrogates to keep the campaign moving. On Wednesday, her husband, former president Bill Clinton, will fire up her supporters at a stop in Las Vegas, Nevada. 
     
     
     
    On Tuesday, President Barack Obama filled in, stumping for her in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, just a block from the infamous steps where Rocky Balboa made his memorable run in the Oscar-winning movie "Rocky". Obama's big message? Hillary won't quit. 

    "She's been accused of everything you can imagine and has been subjected to more scrutiny and what I believe is more unfair criticism than anybody out here," Obama told the adoring crowd. "Through it all, she just keeps on going, and she does not stop."
     
    Clinton will need the help. A recent NBC News poll shows her lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump narrowing with a the same poll showing her numbers down significantly with independent voters, a key bloc for both candidates. 

  • If Clinton or Trump were to drop out: 5 things to know

     
    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is resting after her campaign revealed she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday. The unsuccessful attempt to conceal her illness has fuelled speculation, largely by her critics, that Clinton is hiding another, more serious maladie. Clinton turns 69 next month. Donald Trump, her opponent in the race for the White House, is 70 years old, which has led to questions about what would happen if one of them were to drop out due to illness. Here are five things that are important to know if that were the case. 
     
    1. It would be unprecedented. No US presidential candidate has ever dropped out this close to an election. The closest was Thomas Eagleton in 1972. He was George McGovern's vice presidential running mate on the Democratic ticket. Eagleton was asked to step down just over three months before the election after the press got wind he suffered from severe bouts of depression and had undergone electroshock therapy. He was later replaced by Sargent Shriver and the Democrats went on to lose the general election to Richard Nixon. 
     
    2. It would be hugely disadvantageous for the new candidate. Most states have a registration deadline for parties to do the proper paperwork in order to get their candidate certified and officially on the ballot. Many cut-off dates are in August and early September, which means those deadlines have already passed. That includes battleground states like Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin which puts any candidate jumping into the election at a huge competitive disadvantage if they are not able to get their name on the ballot. And as the election gets closer, more and more states will close their certification process. 
     
    3. It would be impractical. One simple reason is this: voting has already begun in the US. Under expanded early voting rules, many states are allowing people to cast their ballot as early as this week for the November election. North Carolina, for instance, has already mailed out absentee ballots which can be sent back any time between now and the election. So what happens if someone casts an early ballot for Clinton or Trump but they drop out before November? Since there is no precedent, the answer is unclear.
     
     

     
    Clinton and Trump seen painted on decorative pumpkins [Reuters] 
     
    4. There would be lawyers. In the United States, litigation has become as synonymous with American politics as kissing babies. Given that each state has different deadlines, laws and procedures for balloting, there is little doubt the party that is forced to put up a new candidate will face challenges from the opposition in the courts and vice verse. In 2000, when the election was simply too close to call, both the Republicans and Democrats forced the election into the legal system leading the Supreme Court to eventually make the call in favour of George W Bush. 
     
    5. The national committee of either the Republican or Democratic party would ultimately choose the new candidate. If a candidate is no longer able to run for the White House, both parties have emergency provisions within their charters to nominate someone else. But this raises the obvious question: does the committee choose the candidate who came in second at the national conventions or do they choose the person they feel would best represent the party? In other words, would Bernie Sanders replace Hillary Clinton or would her vice presidential pick, Tim Kaine, be the most obvious choice?
     
     
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