politics-trailmix

Campaign Trail Mix is your Election 2016 BFF: A weekly series that cuts through the news cycle *noise* to bring you the latest key info you absolutely MUST know about the US presidential showdown.

1. Hillary Clinton coughs聽sometimes!

Yes, the Democratic nominee for president, the first woman to win either major party鈥檚 nomination, has been observed coughing, and it鈥檚 made the political Internet go wild. Is she dying? Is there a secret conspiracy to cover up the fact that she鈥檚 dying? Is this all a bizarre scandal blown out of proportion because the right-wing media hates Hillary and, by extension, women?

To some on the right, especially readers of the Drudge Report and Breitbart, the answer to the first two questions is yes. To many staunch Hillary supporters, the answer to the last is 鈥渄uh.鈥 The furor 鈥 over, remember, a cough 鈥 has reached such a pitch that CNN helpfully provided a 鈥渘on-partisan guide to coughs.鈥 If you鈥檙e curious about whether you should go to the doctor about that three-week-old hack you鈥檝e got, this controversy may actually prove helpful.

2. Green Party candidates do their thing

Over the long weekend, while most of us were enjoying our barbecue and chill long-weekend hangs, Green Party presidential and vice-presidential nominees Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka were among roughly 200 activists protesting the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Jill spray-painted 鈥淚 approve this message鈥 on a piece of equipment and the two expressed solidarity with activists fighting for both environmental and cultural reasons (part of the pipeline鈥檚 path is set over a traditional burial ground for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe). A warrant was issued for both Green candidates鈥 arrests, leading Stein to question on Twitter whether similar legal action would be taken against the company building a pipeline on sacred ground. For what it鈥檚 worth, there is a case being heard now on whether the pipeline鈥檚 construction will continue.

Brad Pitt at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on November 5, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Jason Merritt/Getty Images

3. Brad Pitt has some thoughts about Donald Trump

Over the last 15 months, Donald Trump has gone from yet another celebrity talking about running for president to the official Republican nominee, and Brad Pitt has some thoughts about it. He hails from Trump country, which he mentions in a recent聽New York Times Magazine interview as explanation for why he鈥檚 invested some time thinking about the motivations of Trump supporters. 鈥淚t seems that the people who suffer the most end up betting for the party that would hurt them,鈥 he says, and adds, 鈥淲e have this great line in The Big Short鈥 When things are going wrong and we can鈥檛 find the reason for it, we just start creating enemies.鈥

WARREN, MI - MARCH 05: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to guests during a rally at Macomb Community College on March 5, 2016 in Warren, Michigan. Voters in Michigan will go to the polls on March 8 to vote in their state's primary. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

4. Bernie Sanders is still at it

That guy, always up to something! Over the past month he鈥檚 been campaigning for Hillary and has launched a new political organization, Our Revolution, intended to continue some of the work his presidential campaign began. He鈥檚 also spoken out in support of a ballot measure Colorado residents will vote on in November known as ColoradoCare, which would offer universal statewide health care and would be funded by some additional taxes. A press release from the ColoradoCare campaign quoted Bernie as saying, 鈥淚t is absurd, it is beyond belief, that here in America we remain the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people,鈥 before adding that if that can be changed in one state, 鈥淚 believe that idea will spread around the country.鈥

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

5. Donald Trump says 鈥漢ello鈥 to the media

Since shortly after he announced his candidacy, Donald Trump鈥檚 campaign has had some news outlets on a 鈥渂lacklist鈥 鈥 that is, they鈥檝e been denied credentials for the press area at his rallies and in some cases denied any access whatsoever to his campaign. Obviously that didn鈥檛 stop his campaign from enjoying significant coverage, and it didn鈥檛 even keep reporters from banned outlets from covering his rallies 鈥 it just meant they had to go as regular attendees. In any event, he鈥檚 ended the ban as of September 8, so reporters from Politico, BuzzFeed and the Washington Post can now sit in the designated media area at rallies and be harangued by press-averse Trump supporters, maybe even egged on by their candidate.

(Photos via Jason Merritt, Scott Olson and Joe Raedle / Getty)