by Brooke Winters
Many political junkies expected an October Surprise, an unexpected event that has the potential to tip the election in one candidate’s favor. Few, however, expected as many October Surprises as this election has revealed. Fewer could have foreseen the latest to be traced back to Anthony Weiner, better known as his online alias ‘Carlos Danger’.
Back in 2011, Weiner accidentally tweeted a picture of his genitals to his public Twitter account while sexting a woman. Several other sexting scandals involving the disgraced former Congressman have followed since. Currently, Weiner is being investigated for allegedly sending sexual messages to a 15-year-old girl. This unrelated investigation prompted the F.B.I to seize a laptop that contained thousands of emails belonging to Weiner’s estranged wife Huma Abedin, who is a trusted advisor and aide of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has struggled with this email scandal throughout the campaign. Back in July, F.B.I Director James Comey recommended no criminal charges for Clinton’s use of a private server during her time as Secretary of State. Comey had said that Clinton and her team were “extremely reckless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” but that there had been no violation of the law. Clinton’s critics blasted Comey’s decision back in July, stating how her use of a private server put classified information at a great risk of being hacked.
The discovery of emails related to the private server investigation on Weiner’s laptop led F.B.I director James Comey to send a letter to Congress. Comey explained his purpose for writing the letter, saying, “I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record. At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression.”
On Sunday, Oct. 30, the DOJ obtained a search warrant to review the Abedin emails.
It is unknown if this new investigation is going to be completed by Election Day. The impact of Comey’s statements has stirred criticism from both the left and right. Democrats have criticized Comey for making such vague statements before the election, and Republicans have demanded Comey release the findings of the investigation as soon as possible.
Drewid Nick De Furia (’19) said, “Comey’s original statements when they decided not to indict Clinton made me feel like she had the FBI in her pocket. She’s been known to do corrupt things and pay off government officials. I feel a little bit better that they’re reopening the investigation because it’s clear something fishy is going on.”
Victoria Andrews (’20) agreed with De Furia, saying, “Even Bernie Sanders agreed that the election is rigged. These emails shouldn’t really surprise people; she’s been looking out for herself this entire election. Her desire for power before anything else is really evident here.”
Professor McGuinn from the Department of Political Science gave his take on the election, saying, “Most of the polls show a statistical dead heat. Most analysts still think Clinton has an Electoral College advantage and that Trump will have a harder time getting to the magic 270. Florida seems to be very central to Trump’s path, if he loses Florida it’s difficult to see how he wins the Presidency. It’s definitely going to be a close election. Turn out will really be the deciding factor. Each candidate has a potential advantage in regard to turn out. Trump has very energized supporters, while Clinton has a more active get out the vote ground campaign. That could counterbalance Trump supporters’ enthusiasm.”
In other news revolving around the election, largely unknown conservative Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin has been in the headlines. FiveThirtyEight, a site owned by ESPN with a poll predictions page, gives McMullin a 11.7 percent chance of winning Utah’s Electoral College votes. In the event that none of the candidates get the magic number of 270 electoral college votes, the House would have to decide the election between the top three Electoral College vote getters. Forcing the election to the House seems to be most Independent candidates’ hopes for the election.
If you plan on voting in this election, Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls in New Jersey are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters in line by 8 p.m. are entitled to vote. If you plan on mailing in your ballot, the ballot must be received by the Board of Elections by 8 p.m. on Election Day.