Kass: Recapping the pre-election storylines

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It’s just a few weeks out from Halloween, which means it’s about time for the return of the fun-size version of my column. Away we go.

Donald getting trumped, goes down swinging

Donald Trump had one heck of a week. He was caught in a recording from 2005 using a phrase I’d rather not reprint here. Suffice it to say that he refers to grabbing women by an area that according to the hip-hop group Naughty by Nature, issort of like, well, another way to call a cat a kitten.”

As his campaign continues to flounder, he’s apparently decided that if he goes down in this election, everyone in the Republican Party is going down with him. He’s blasted Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, senior GOP senator John McCain — who he went after earlier in the year — and others. Buckle up for the last few weeks of the election, because this could get ugly.

Clinton’s tightrope act

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dealing with her own issues. A release of hacked emails seems to paint Clinton as someone who switches between two very different personas, as a progressive reformer and as a connected insider.

While her opponent is self-immolating near the end of the campaign, and will most likely hand her the race on a silver platter, something tells me this is an issue that Clinton will still be talking about after Nov. 8 comes and goes.

Meanwhile in Jersey

The New Jersey state legislature has approved a hike of 23 cents on the gas tax. The objective of the tax hike is to refill the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund. Opponents on both sides are hammering the bill, for the fact that it lowers the sales tax and phases out the estate tax, and for what some see as government overreach by imposing such a large tax.

And in the New Jersey Governor’s race, Steve Sweeney has decided to decline a shot at the Democratic nomination. His announcement came shortly after Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop decided not to run. Fulop’s decision opened the path for Chris Murphy to grab the nomination, and consolidate power among the North Jersey bosses.

Even with Sweeney’s high political clout, he wouldn’t be able to overcome Murphy’s North Jersey coalition. By peeling off the race, Sweeney has most likely avoided a long bloody primary that would split the Democratic Party.

Let me clear my throat

In last week’s column, I wrote that because of the voters’ familiarity with both Trump and Clinton, there was little chance of an “October Surprise” affecting the outcome of the race. Let’s all take a second to laugh at the foolishness of last week’s column shall we? I’m not above admitting when I read the tea leaves wrong, and this is one of those times. I’ll chalk it up as a mistake and move on.

Ken Bone wants his royalties

Finally, ending the column on a lighter note, political debate attendee/question-asker-turned-meme. Ken Bone has reached peak exposure. As of today, a website was offering a “sexy undecided voter” costume, which anyone with a pair of eyes can see is based off the now famous look Bone was spotted in during the debate. Who knows, perhaps we’ve found the one costume that can knock Harley Quinn off her perch?

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