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Sep 30 2016
by Karly Matthews

Weekly Political Round-Up: Ballot Selfies, A Heated Debate, and an Averted Shutdown

By Karly Matthews - Sep 30 2016
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Of course, everyone's eyes were on the presidential candidates as they debated for the first time this week, but that's not where the politics of the last seven days end. From First Amendment rights to a near government shut-down to a second Gary Johnson blunder, politics outside of Trump and Clinton are ever active.

1. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump duke it out on primetime.

On Monday night, both major party presidential nominees participated in a ninety minute debate regarding three main categories: America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity and Securing America. NBC's Lester Holt moderated the debate, but the audience really didn't hear much from him, leading many to ask "is there a moderator?" While each news outlet speculated which candidate 'won,' it's clear that the debate really only polarized the left and right; voters didn't seem to be swayed either way and stuck to their pre-debate opinions. The next debate is slated for October 9, so to tune in, check out these watching tips for college students.

2. Selfie Sunday? More like Selfie Tuesday on Election Day.

Despite the controversy swirling around whether or not it should be legal to take a selfie with your election ballot, New Hampshire courts ruled the ban illegal this week. The ban was originally passed for privacy reasons, but almost immediately, the law was being protested. Advocates argued that the ban violated First Amendment rights of expression, and being able to take selfies with their ballots would encourage younger demographics to vote. Federal Courts followed suit, so no matter what state you call home, your right to a ballot selfie is protected.

3. For the first time in Obama's presidency, one of his vetoes is overridden.

President Obama recently vetoed a bill allowing 9/11 victims or their families sue the Saudi Arabian government, but in a 97-1 majority, the Senate overrode this veto. Senator Harry Reid was the only "no" vote. Openly calling the override a 'mistake,' Obama stands by his decision to reject the bill. The thought of the bill is extremely symbolic for 9/11 victims, but its practicality is still uncertain.

4. The New York Times Editorial Board endorses Hillary Clinton for president.

This week, The New York Times Editorial Board endorsed Hillary Clinton for president over Donald Trump, raising press objectivity questions in the minds of many Americans. Despite these questions, many other newspapers including the Arizona Republic endorsed Clinton as well, and this concept is not new as editorial boards have endorsed candidates for years and years, but as journalism is supposed to be be largely unbiased, some Americans are starting to question the practice.

5. Congress barely avoided a government shutdown like that of 2013.

This week, Congress had to scramble to pass a short-term budget in order to avoid a partial government shutdown, which would halt the proceedings of the executive branch. Usually, these shutdowns are a result of stubborn, partisan politics, but this past week, Congress was able to come to an agreement - against all odds - over allocating funds to the Flint Water Crisis. For more information about government shutdowns, visit this link.

6. Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado strikes back at Donald Trump. 

One of the criticisms surrounding Donald Trump is his massive interest in beauty competitions, and this problem resurfaced this week as former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, going on the offense against Trump, formally announced her support for Hillary Clinton after the Democratic candidate brought her up during the debate. Machado cites her experience with Donald Trump commenting on her weight and threatening to terminate her crown as "mistreatment" according to Yahoo News.

The saga continued Friday morning, with Trump going on a Tweetstorm further attacking Machado, claiming she has a sex tape and encouraging others to watch it:

Hillary responded, calling Trump's comments "unhinged" and cites this as further evidence of his attacks on women.

7. Are you registered? National Voter Registration Day was Tuesday.

This year, it's been driven home that it's imperative that we all register to vote in the upcoming presidential election in November. On Tuesday, it was National Voter Registration Day, so campuses everywhere set up extra registration tables, and some even handed out absentee ballot request forms. This year, social media is lending a helping hand, and you can register to vote via Snapchat!

8. President Obama inaugurated African American History Museum in D.C.

On September 24, President Obama and his family inaugurated a new chapter of the Smithsonian, which focuses on African American history. The museum is designed to "let the story continue" and even includes an exhibit focuses on the current Black Lives Matter movement instead of ending with the start of Obama's presidency. In an uplifting and inspiring speech, Obama said, "We’re not a burden on America, or a stain on America, or an object of pity or charity for America. We’re America."

9. Ted Cruz officially endorses Donald Trump for president after refusing at the RNC.

In an unexpected move, former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz endorsed Donald Trump. Although some think that it's simply a ploy to better his 2020 chances, others are seeing this endorsement as hope that the GOP could potentially be able to unite over its presidential nominee. Nevertheless, the endorsement further proves that what happens in the primaries stays in the primaries, just like the 2008 clash between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

10. Gary Johnson has another 'Aleppo' movement on MSNBC.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson once again seemed inept in foreign policy on MSNBC, when he couldn't name single current foreign leader that he admired. Becoming indignant, Johnson simply refused to answer the question before VP pick Bill Weld came to the rescue by giving a quick, unexplained name: Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.

Next week, the vice presidential picks will debate it out on October 4, and there are bound to be more political headlines. The race to November is getting frighteningly short as the country decides who its next leader will be.

Lead Image Credit: John Sonderman via Flickr Creative Commons

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Karly Matthews - Temple University

Karly Matthews is a political science and journalism major with a Spanish minor at Temple University. In high school, she was editor-in-chief of her school's online newspaper, a member of the yearbook staff, a Spanish Club officer and a dancer for 12 years. In her free time, Karly drinks too much coffee and follows politics with an obsessive passion. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karlymatthews_!

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