Year in Review: National News

Posted by on Dec 30, 2016 in Year in Review
This combination of photos shows supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Baton Rouge, La., on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. Ross D. Franklin, Gerald Herbert/AP Images. www.apimages.com.

This combination of photos shows supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Baton Rouge, La., on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. Ross D. Franklin, Gerald Herbert/AP Images. www.apimages.com.

As another year winds down, btw takes a look at the national news stories that dominated headlines in 2016.

Presidential Election

Credit: McGraw-Hill Education

Credit: McGraw-Hill Education

Of course, the main national story this year was the presidential election in November. btw and Election Central were with you every step of the contentious election season, from ongoing disagreements over voting rights to the FBI investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails and video footage of Republican candidate Donald Trump making sexually aggressive comments.

On Election Night, we tracked developments hour-by-hour as news unfolded of Trump’s surprising victory. Since then, btw has examined new issues that have come into play, such as the nationwide protests that immediately followed the election, President-elect Trump’s conflicts of interest, Trump’s new cabinet, and allegations of Russian hacking into the election.

Controversies

While the election was full of its share of drama, other important controversies arose in 2016 as well. We began the year with the story of Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who (along with several dozen followers) led an armed standoff against the federal government at an Oregon wildlife refuge that lasted for several weeks. This summer, a silverback gorilla named Harambe was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a four-year-old child fell into his enclosure, setting off widespread debate. And hundreds of thousands of residents of Flint, Michigan continue to face unthinkable conditions: a lack of safe drinking water and high risk of lead poisoning.

Gun Violence

Perhaps no controversy inspired more anger on both sides this year than the continuing debate over gun control. Following a mass shooting at a night club in Orlando, Florida, Congressional Democrats staged a literal sit-in to enact stricter gun control safety laws. This year also saw a wave of shooting deaths of African American men by white police officers who had taken them into custody. After the deaths of Anton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers one day apart, a gunman opened fire on police officers at a #blacklivesmatter rally in Dallas. Protests over the killing of African American suspects by white police officers took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Though the Department of Justice staged an investigation into racism in the Ferguson, Missouri police department, a Ferguson officer was still acquitted in last year’s shooting of Freddie Gray, an unarmed African American teenager.

Natural Disasters

Mother Nature also had a hand in making 2016 a particularly dramatic and memorable year. In January, Winter Storm Jonas killed at least fifteen people and was ranked the single biggest snowstorm in history for many areas of the East Coast. Later in the year, the East Coast was slammed again: this time, by Hurricane Matthew, which claimed at least 33 lives and left over a million people without power.

Farther west, a tropical storm caused devastating flooding throughout huge portions of Louisiana. And two juveniles began a fire in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, that destroyed over 2,400 buildings and killed at least 14 people.

Economy

However, throughout the difficulties of 2016, one bright spot remained: the improving economy. btw took a city-by-city look at economic revival and reported regularly on the steadily improving job market. Despite these positive economic indicators, the controversy over the economic hardships of the Affordable Health Care Act (“Obamacare”) continued and became an important factor in November’s presidential election.

Dig Deeper Using this article and other online resources, create a timeline of key national events in 2016, from January to December. Include at least three events not listed in this article. Then use your timeline to answer the following question: What national event do you think had the biggest impact on the American people in 2016? Make sure to give reasons to support your answer.