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  • Writer's pictureEMILIE KILFOIL '17

Top 5 Controversies of the 2016 Presidential Campaign

5. Ted Cruz is Canadian

Recently, the legitimacy of Republican Candidate Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign came into question because he was born in Canada. According to the Constitution, “No person except a natural born Citizen… shall be eligible to the Office of President.” Though he is a US citizen, he is not a natural born. However, his mother is an American, therefore he was naturalized as a child that was born abroad to a US citizen. Many people, including other candidates, continue to believe he should not be able to run.

4. Martin O’Malley involvement with Freddie Gray

In April 2015, a young black man named Freddie Gray was physically forced into the back of a police van in West Baltimore by six police officers. The officers took him for a rough ride, where he was helplessly thrown around the back of the van due to their intentionally reckless driving. The drive resulted in a spinal cord injury that led to his death. Unfortunately, this policy of violence towards young black men is not uncommon. It is a part of now Democratic Candidate Martin O’Malley’s strict policing policies. The mayor’s “strategy” according to television producer and Baltimore resident David Simon was “If you looked at a cop the wrong way… when Marty was trying to become governor, you went in the back of a police van.” Clearly, his policies have come under question and this has played into the democratic polls, where he is far behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

3. Ben Carson says being gay is choice

This past March, Ben Carson sparked controversy when he stated that being gay is a choice during a CNN interview. Homophobic remarks from Carson are not new. In fact, Carson withdrew from a commencement speech at Johns Hopkins University due to the amount of students that complained about his bold remarks. Carson has said that he is an “outspoken opponent of things like gay marriage” as a strict religious man. However, this particular comment on CNN is what really shocked people. Using this as his understanding of homosexuality, Carson said being gay is “absolutely” a choice because people go into prison straight and come out gay. This completely disregards the violence and rape that happens in prisons that is definitely not a choice. Dumbfounded by Carson’s bizarre example, CNN interviewer Chris Cuomo began to question his rationale and how it could explain homosexuality. Clearly, others felt the same as Cuomo; days later, Carson posted a Facebook message apologizing for his ill-advised word choice to those he offended.

2. Hillary Clinton’s Email

In March 2015, it became public that Hillary Clinton used her private email server rather than her government email for work related matters throughout her four years as Secretary of State. Other secretaries of state, including Colin Powell, have used private emails. Clinton’s use became controversial due to the deletion of over 30,000 emails, violating government protocols and federal laws. The government and the public’s main concern was that classified government information could have been stolen or released. Clinton’s lawyers released 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department. For the past few months, most of the content that has been released was scheduling updates, talking points and other notes. However, on January 20, 2016 two government agencies flagged some of the content on her server as the highest level of “Top Secret” government information. This will definitely damage her campaign. Her stance within the US government is to be determined.

1. Donald Trump or Hitler?

Practically everything Donald Trump says becomes a headline. When Donald Trump began to promote his idea to ban all Muslims from coming into the United States, people immediately began to compare him to Adolf Hitler. Many people took this as an extreme response to terror attacks carried out by ISIS, a Muslim extremist group. Jennifer Horn, the chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party said that his plan is “un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. And it is un-American.” A chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, released a statement saying, “We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.” Despite his criticism from both parties, Trump stood by his plan, justifying it by comparing it to FDR polices during WWII, which included internment camps.

Of the many controversies that have come about in the election so far, these are the top five. Thanks to our interesting roster of candidates, there is no doubt that more hot topics will come into play as we get closer to the election in November. To stay up to date with the latest in politics and the election, it’s as simple as turning on the news.

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