By Eyobong Ita
In Nigeria, we would have said the national polls on the U.S. Presidential Elections have gone ga-ga. Well, nothing to do with Lady Gaga. But for simplicity sake, let’s just say the polls have gone wild. Check this out: As at Wednesday, the NBC News poll had Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 48-42 and Reuters poll 40-38. But CNN poll had Trump leading Hillary 49-48 while the LA Times poll had them dead even at 44. Note that this is mainly in a two-way race between Clinton and Trump.
I didn’t include the other pretenders (Oops! Did I say that? I meant to say contenders.) Well, with less than 60 days to the November 8 presidential elections, it is looking more likely that none of the other three pretenders (oh oh! I did it again) will poll up to 15 percent in three major national polls, which is required for inclusion in the presidential debates, especially after Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had no clue what (or where) Aleppo is. And candidates not participating in the debates are as good as dead, politically.
Warning! Don’t be obsessed with the national polls; they could be very misleading. The best way to track who is likely going to be the next American president is to focus on the state by state polls.
That’s where the U.S. presidential elections are decided, not nationally. And if the elections were held today, the state by state polls show that Hillary Clinton would win 273 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 154. The remaining 111 could go either way, according to the pollsters. Again, it would be misleading to conclude that the elections are over. It’s not, only closer and tighter. Anything can still happen.
Commander in Chief Forum exposes Trump, Hillary
As a dry run to the September 26 presidential debate, Clinton and Trump Wednesday had 24 minutes each to tell Americans why they are ready to be commander in chief of the most potent military on earth. The forum was pretty good in exposing their readiness or lack of it. Here’s a few things that got voters saying “are you serious?” Hillary said she will never send US ground troops to Iraq and Syria. (What?) About 5,000 U.S. troops are already there. And Trump praised Russian dictator Putin (a known U.S. enemy) but denigrated Obama.
As if his previous comment that he knows more about ISIS than the generals wasn’t bad enough, Trump said Wednesday that “under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubbles; they have been reduced to a point that its embarrassing to the country.” And Trump publicly recounted (and distorted) classified intelligence briefing. Ouch!
Before the forum, U.S. veterans gave Trump a 19-point lead over Clinton. Now veterans, serving generals and the intelligence community are hopping mad.
Hillary battered by email scandal
The never-ending email scandal doesn’t look good for Hillary Clinton, folks. The scandal has battered her so much that her unfavorable rating is now worse than Trump’s. As more emails are discovered, coupled with the discovery that her aide destroyed one of her cell phones after she had been subpoenaed, the number of Americans who don’t trust her increases. I mean, Clinton’s email scandal is seriously threatening to take her down in defeat.
As if that isn’t bad enough, the Congressional Committee on Oversight have decided to hold hearings to determine if Hillary broke the law by either lying under oath or obstructing justice. Even if the planned Congressional hearings finally conclude that she did not break any law, the distraction would always work in Trump’s favor. Her major bright spot is that recently released email exchange between her and former Secretary of State Retired Gen. Colin Powell confirms that Powell indeed advised her on using her private email for official business. That actually makes Powell look bad and Hillary is exonerated.
Trump’s “Pay for Play” Allegation
Remember how Trump accused Clinton of “pay for play?” That was his allegation that top donors made contributions to the Clinton Foundation in order to have access to the then Secretary of State, although there is no evidence that such access influenced any foreign policy during Clinton’s tenure.
Now Trump is pushing back on allegations that he too “paid for play” when he donated $25,000 to support the reelection of Florida Attorney General at the time she was weighing whether to investigate the allegations that Trump used Trump University to scam thousands of people. After Trump made the donation, the attorney general decided not to investigate Trump. But The Internal Revenue Service ruled Trump’s donation illegal and fined Trump $2,500. Going by the way Trump attacked Clinton, he really has more explaining to do.
Trump’s Immigration Stand
The way things look, it might be easier for President Buhari to fulfill his campaign promise of making the exchange rate at N1 to S1 (you kidding, right?) than for Donald Trump to make Americans understand what he plans to do with the 11 million or more undocumented immigrants. One day Trump says if he becomes president, all undocumented immigrants must be deported, another day he says the violent criminals would be deported first and then he will figure out what to do with others. He also says he will be compassionate and not separate families.
Then again he also says undocumented immigrants would have to go out of the United States first and then reapply to return for consideration for permanent residency. And during the first Commander in Chief Forum Wednesday, Trump was asked what he would do with illegal immigrants who plan to join the U.S. military. He responded by saying he would work with them because “it would be a very special circumstance.” Boy! Should Trump win and he gives special consideration to illegal immigrants willing to join the U.S. military, can you imagine the mad rush to join the military? Those guys (and gals) would probably run faster than Usain Bolt to join the military before Trump changes his mind.
Plastic Bag on California ballot
Of all the issues American voters are grappling with, you’ll probably not think about plastic bag. Well, think again. California voters would have to decide whether or not to support a California Senate bill which has already been passed to prohibit large grocery stores and pharmacies from providing disposable plastic bags and ban small grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores from doing so the following year.
If the ballot issue passes, recycled, compostable and reusable grocery bags will replace the disposable bags, but unlike the disposable bags which are free, customers will be charged 10 cent per each reusable bag. The proposed law would however still allow disposable plastic bags to be used for meat, bread, produce, bulk food and perishable items. Should voters approve the ballot issue, California will provide $2 million to state plastic bag manufacturers to help them retain jobs as they transition to making thicker, multi-use, recycled plastic bags.