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Battleground ’16: Unpopularity Contest

Battleground ’16: Unpopularity Contest

With just over a week before the first presidential debate and less than two months before Election Day, both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and GOP ticket-topper Donald Trump are wrestling over valuable but increasingly rare undecided and independent voters in a tight race, according to the latest polls. But they face a shared challenge; let’s call it the Colin Powell problem. In other words, many voters dislike them both.

Backing by Powell, who is former Republican President George W. Bush’s secretary of state and a decorated general who dramatically crossed the aisle in 2008 to endorse Democratic President Barack Obama, would be a big prize for either of the 2016 main party candidates. But in leaked private emails, Powell called Trump “racist” and “a national disgrace and an international pariah.” Clinton didn’t fare much better — “everything [she] touches she kind of screws up with hubris,” Powell wrote.

Powell’s distaste for both candidates is reflected among the veterans and military community Foreign Policy has spoken to throughout the campaign. That’s a key constituency for each as Clinton and Trump strive to be seen as a strong potential commander in chief and pull undecideds in battleground states. But it’s also a mirror of American voters overall, as a majority view both unfavorably.

Both presidential hopefuls will need to change this dynamic dramatically if they’re to gain an edge in the last few weeks before Nov. 8. Powell, however, seems ready for a write-in.

Sign up for FP’s Editors’ Picks newsletter here to receive Battleground ’16, our take on the presidential race, each Wednesday through November.


 

Trump Claims U.S. Monetary Policy Is a Partisan Conspiracy

Donald Trump apparently is no longer a low-interest rate person.

 


 

“I just didn’t think it was going to be that big of deal.”

— Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on not disclosing a pneumonia diagnosis

 


 

Veterans Don’t See Much of a Choice in Either Trump or Clinton

Whether on the street or watching the “Commander-in-Chief Forum,” many veterans say they are torn between two evils — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — but lean toward the former secretary of state as the lesser.

The city sidewalk under Mark Ruane’s camouflage cap was sticky. Endless suit pant legs, heels, jeans, and rolling bags flooded by, but few stopped to read the Veterans Affairs card he held above his sign. It asked for work, diapers and baby food for his 18-month-old son, Emerald Michael.

He doesn’t believe either Clinton or Trump will make things better for veterans like him: “They use us as a front.”

 


 

Ousted Bill Clinton CIA Director Endorses GOP Nominee Donald Trump

James Woolsey, who resigned over a KGB double agent scandal, backs Trump, who sees an ally in ex-KGB Vladimir Putin.

 


 

48vs44

In 2016, 48 percent of voters identify as or lean toward Democrats, compared to 44 percent who identify as or lean toward Republicans, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday.

 


 

An Actual U.S. Presidential Candidate: ‘What is Aleppo?’

Epicenter of Syria conflict? Ground zero of humanitarian crisis? Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson seems to have missed the last five years of U.S. foreign policy.

Sign up for FP’s Editors’ Picks newsletter here to receive Battleground ’16, our take on the presidential race, each Wednesday through November.

Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images