Fox on the HillAugust 22, 2016 – Newsletters
As the general election nears, polls shows Hillary Clinton gaining significant margins over Donald Trump, particularly in traditional swing states such as Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia. If Clinton maintains her strength in these states as well as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, she is poised to win the Electoral College with a substantial margin.
With Clinton’s lead continuing to grow across the country, the campaign has begun to shift resources away from historically contentious states and to invest in states that have always voted Republican in presidential contests in recent decades. In addition to financial resources, Clinton has sent Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine to campaign in traditionally red states including Idaho, Missouri, Georgia, Arizona and Texas. The last time a Democrat won Arizona and Missouri was in 1996 when President Bill Clinton was re-elected.
Trump announced yet another campaign staff shake-up, appointing conservative filmmaker and former naval officer Steve Bannon to a newly created position of Chief Executive. Bannon is the co-founder and executive chairman of the Government Accountability Institute and the former executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC. Trump also announced that the post of Campaign Manager will be filled by Kellyanne Conway, a notable Republican pollster who had been serving as a senior adviser and pollster to Trump.
The shake-up led to the resignation of Paul Manafort, and indicates that Trump intends to maintain his persona as a political outsider. As Campaign Chairman, Manafort reportedly sought to convert Trump into a more orthodox candidate and regularly clashed with Trump’s inner circle in the process. Manafort is credited with successfully steering the campaign through a challenging Republican Convention and encouraging Trump to select Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. His resignation also came amid reports that he served as a paid consultant to pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs and politicians.
Foreign Affairs and National Security
Following a fortnight of criticism surrounding the $400 million the United States paid to Iran in January, the State Department announced last week that the money was, in fact, withheld until the release of several American prisoners. President Obama has said that the money was not ransom, but rather payment of the settlement of court dispute over a 40-year-old arms deal. The exchange of funds drew harsh criticism from members of Congress, including Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who said “If a cash payment is contingent on a hostage release, it’s a ransom.”
Aetna announced that it will be leaving the health care exchange in 11 of the 15 states in which it currently participates. Following the exit, questions are being raised as to the efficacy of Hillary Clinton’s health care plan to maintain and bring back insurers like Aetna. Supporters of Clinton’s plan have said that its goal is to make the exchanges an option that insurers find favorable and affordable. Others are skeptical that Clinton’s plan would encourage a higher rate of enrollment in the exchanges and thus a more favorable market for the insurers. Opponents say the plan does not fully address the issue of making health care affordable for either the consumer or insured.
Hillary Clinton has taken to the campaign trail to focus on the stark differences between her tax plan and that of her opponent. Clinton told supporters that she supports the “Buffet Rule,” which requires millionaires to pay a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent. She has also proposed an exit tax for domestic companies that move their headquarters overseas.
To continue to work toward lower gas emissions and reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, the Environmental Protection Agency announced new fuel-economy standards for large trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles. The affected vehicles account for approximately five percent of current highway traffic, but their fuel consumption and carbon emissions equal approximately 20 percent. The new rule will have a major impact on companies with fleets of trucks and sets standards through the 2027 model year.