The 2016 presidential campaign season continues to roll on. Here’s a look at the stories driving the news cycle on Oct. 19.
There are 19 days until the election.
Clinton and Trump prepare for the debate
The third and final presidential debate will kick off tonight at 9 p.m. EST from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will participate with Fox News’ Chris Wallace as moderator.
Trump and Clinton both have different objectives going into tonight’s debate. As the AP reported, this is Trump’s last chance to appeal to the general electorate, as he increasingly finds himself losing to Clinton in a handful of polls.
“For Trump, the debate is perhaps his last opportunity to turn around a race that appears to be slipping away from him,” according to the AP.
Meanwhile, Clinton faces her own set of obstacles tonight. Not only is her campaign still reeling from more WikiLeaks emails, which pointed to Clinton’s State Department possibly acting in “quid pro quo” with the FBI, but she’s also dealing with a recently released video that allegedly shows members of the Democratic Party looking to encourage violence at Trump rallies.
(It should be noted that the video comes from Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe, known for his hidden-camera videos about Planned Parenthood, ACORN and voter fraud, who has a criminal record.)
Both candidates, knowing the stakes of tonight’s debates, have also already made moves to get under the skin of their opponent.
According to the Associated Press, Clinton will ask Mark Cuban, a longtime opponent of Trump, to attend the debate.
Meanwhile, Trump will bring President Barack Obama’s brother Malik, who supports Trump, the AP reported. Trump’s campaign manager Steve Bannon said that Malik is only an appetizer.
One big reason for Utahns to watch the debate
Utahns may find the third presidential debate particularly interesting because of one discussion topic — the Supreme Court.
As moderator, Wallace is expected to bring up SCOTUS and ask who each of the candidates plan to elect to the highest judicial court in the country.
The Supreme Court may be a big issue for Utah because it’s the Supreme Court that often rules on religious liberty, a major issue for Mormons and general Utah voters.
In fact, this has been a big talking point for most of the election cycle, given that there’s still an open court seat after Justice Antonin Scalia died back in February. In fact, given the ages of some of the other judges, it's possible the next president could elect four different justices during their first term, Alternet reported.
Trump and Clinton have both unveiled potential people they’d nominate for the open SCOTUS position. Trump’s list includes Thomas Lee, the brother of Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who actually made the list initially, too, but rejected the idea.
Clinton’s list includes a number of different judges, as well as Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker, according to The Hill.
Utah honored by national media
Utah’s made a lot of headlines recently. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver wrote a lengthy piece about how the Beehive State could potentially affect the 2016 election in a major way. The Wall Street Journal called Utah “an election wild card.” NPR also reported that Utah could be in play this election.
Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail reported that Utah should be celebrated for its conscious decision to stick with Republican ideals. Those from the deep red state have decided to embrace conservatism by celebrating independent candidate Evan McMullin instead of passively voting for Trump or Clinton.
“The message that Utah is sending is we want something better,” Quin Monson, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University, told The Globe and Mail.
McMullin celebrates his Mormon roots
Speaking of McMullin, he’s still out on the campaign trail. He’s been polling pretty well in Utah, having surpassed Clinton and trailing Trump by one point in one poll, as I wrote about earlier this week.
As he prepares to make a play for Idaho, McMullin spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week about a number of topics, including how his Mormon roots make him an eligible conservative choice for the White House.
“The Mormons, in their history, experienced some persecution in this country. That’s something that they remember — at least, culturally,” he said. “I think it’s just a common decency thing, too. That applies not just to Mormons — that applies to a lot of people across the country, who just object to the way he is, at times, quite vile. It just rubs people the wrong way.”
You can read more from McMullin over at the AJC.
McMullin’s strategist gives a warning for what’s to come
One of McMullin’s senior advisers, Rick Wilson, recently spoke on "The Jamie Weinstein Show" about McMullin’s path to the presidency and the entire “Never Trump” movement.
Interestingly, Wilson also mentioned that he expects something huge — like audio or video — will come out in the last three weeks of the election that will shut down the Trump campaign, The Daily Caller reported.4 comments on this story
“I know there’s more coming,” Wilson said. He added, “There are a couple of things out there on Trump that I think would end the race and I don’t have access to all of them but I am one of these people that spends my life on the phone talking to people and talking to oppo guys and talking to researchers. And there are some things out there that I think would cause even his most passionate supporters to go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute.'”
You can listen to more of the interview, in which Wilson explains McMullin’s path to the presidency, in the audio below.
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.