Trump refuses to debate, Sanders closes in on Clinton and more in the wild week in the 2016 election
The 2016 U.S. presidential race can be difficult to keep up with. As important primaries and caucuses swiftly approach there is a lot to follow -- but we've got you covered with an easy recap of the buzz-worthy stories people were talking about and the more meaningful moments you might have missed.
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We saw Donald Trump drop out of the GOP debate and host his own event the same night, Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton battle it out for votes in Iowa, rumors surrounding a new figure entering the race, and the seventh Republican primary debate. We've compiled a list of the stories that everyone is talking about as well as the stories that matter the most to help you navigate the 2016 election. See what you may have missed below.
What everyone's talking about:
Early in the week, rumors swirled around the GOP front runner Donald Trump not participating in the Fox News Republican presidential primary debate. To aid him in his decision, Trump polled twitter asking his followers "Should I Do the #GOPdebate?" Although supporters were spilt with 52 percent saying he should participate and 48 percent he should boycott, Trump ultimately decided to drop out and host his own event Thursday night. With this move, Trump continued to dominated Twitter mentions and raised $6 million for veterans. The Fox News debate was the second lowest-rated this election cycle and we're sure Trump will likely try to take credit for that.
With the Iowa caucuses on the horizon, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders continued to fight for democratic votes. During a CNN town hall meeting, Sanders took a jab at Clinton, arguing that judgment - not experience - is the most crucial quality for the next president. In response, the former secretary of state evoked President Barack Obama, saying when he selected her he gave approval to her judgment. While the top two democratic candidates are becoming closer than ever in polls, when you look at the Power Rankings, Clinton still tops the list.
Power rankings, based on the Real Clear Politics averages of national polls and those in the first-voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, revealed where the candidates stand in their respective parties. While Hillary Clinton continues to lead the democratic field, Bernie Sanders is inching closer to her and closing the gap between the two. On the republican side, Donald Trump continues to dominate the pack.
Although Clinton and Trump continue to led their respective parties, Michael Bloomberg could shake it all up. According to The New York Times, the billionaire former mayor of New York, is taking steps toward an independent bid for the White House, and would spend at least $1 billion of his fortune on the effort. Although Bloomberg has a vast number of resources, he would face tough odds, as no independent candidate has ever been elected to the White House.
This week, Donald Trump revealed how devoted he thinks his supporters are when he said he could "shoot somebody" on Fifth Avenue without losing any voters. "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters," Trump said during a campaign event in Iowa. Trump was drawing a distinction between his supporters and main rival Ted Cruz's "soft" backers, as described by Trump. His comments also come as the conversation on gun violence in America has taken center stage.
What you might have missed:
This week, Hillary Clinton spoke exclusively to AOL.com opening up about a number of issues including her greatest political regret and her first goal if elected. Clinton revealed her most surprising moment on the campaign trail stating that she was taken aback by "the amount of concern that people have about addiction and mental health." Clinton also spoke to AOL.com about the greatest threat she believes her granddaughter Charlotte's generation will face and the Oscars' diversity problem. You can catch the entire interview here.
This week, lawyer for the family of Walter L. Scott, a black man who was shot and killed by a police officer, rescinded on his endorsement of Hillary Clinton and declared his support for Bernie Sanders. Clinton has been able to carry the support of black voters throughout this election season, but the lost of this supporter could mark a shift in Clinton's campaign. Although Clinton carried the African-American vote over Barack Obama early in her first campaign, many say losing the black vote cost her the 2008 democratic nomination and warn of it happening again.
On Monday, a 1988 video resurfaced showing Ted Cruz when he was a high school student. In the video the interviewer asked about Cruz's aspirations, to which the 18-year-old Cruz replied, "Aspirations? Is that like sweat on my butt?" He followed up by saying, "No, no, oh, I see — what you want me to do, what I want to do in life ... Take over the world. World domination. You know, rule everything. Rich, powerful, that sort of stuff." Cruz didn't seem too concerned about the video. His campaign manager told Politico, "Good to see he's always had a great sense of humor."
This week, an assistant teacher in Ohio shared a note written by a third grader that totally shut Republican front runner Donald Trump's immigration policy down. "I have a dream that Donald Trump will not be president," the letter started out going on to say how a Trump White House would would put an end to 'Netflix and chill.' Take a look at what the brilliant third grader had to say here.
Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum admitted early this week that his race may be coming to an end. He told USA Today and The Des Moines Register, "You reach a point when you realize that you aren't going to accomplish what you're going to accomplish and you have to look out for the greater good." Santorum ranks last in a Real Clear Politics average of statewide polls.
In less than a week, the first votes of the 2016 presidential primary will be cast in the Iowa caucuses. Voting begins in February, first with the closely watched, first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. That event kicks off perhaps the busiest month of the nomination cycle, when debates are sandwiched between important primaries and caucuses.
Follow the 2016 presidential election timeline here.