A few weeks ago, many Americans would have guffawed at any suggestion that there could be a nail-biting finish to the November 8 presidential election. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had a comfortable lead in the polls, around 12 percentage points in some surveys. The campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump had been dealt multiple blows stemming from the “Access Hollywood” tapes, where he was caught boasting about groping women without their consent. 
His popularity plummeted further after at least nine women alleged he had sexually assaulted them years ago. However, with less than a week to voting day, the race has tightened. For the first time since May, Mr. Trump is leading in one major poll. The game changer is FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that his agency was reopening inquiries into Ms. Clinton’s email record after discovering correspondence relating to her in the computer of Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of her aide Huma Abedin. There are multiple undercurrents to this vicious election battle that need to be parsed.
In the blue corner, Ms. Clinton still enjoys an overwhelming statistical probability of winning the 270 electoral college votes required to secure the presidency. She maintained a statesmanlike poise throughout the presidential debates, and in Email-gate the FBI has failed to unearth any evidence of criminality against her so far. Yet her problem lies in the perception of trustworthiness created by her use of a private server while she was Secretary of State, her proximity to deep-pocketed donors on Wall Street and her hard line on a fiscally expansive welfare agenda for the middle class. In the red corner, Mr. Trump has refused to tone down his abrasive rhetoric against women, Latinos, Muslims, African-Americans and the differently abled despite the expected backlash from these demographics and growing alienation from mainstream Republican Party leaders. He has similarly hurled defiance in the teeth of those demanding that he release his tax returns. His brazen invitation to Russian hackers to go hunting for Ms. Clinton’s emails, and allegations about his shadowy financial connections to associates of Vladimir Putin raise troubling questions. That 21 months of feverish campaigning have ended not with a bang but a collective groan of disappointment in two such untrusted and uninspiring candidates says a lot about how bitterly polarized the electorate is. No matter who wins this ugly election, America’s leaders will have to initiate an honest national conversation about reconciling its social mores. Else, the world’s only superpower will find itself diminished.
Source - The Hindu
1. Guffawed (verb) (ठहाका लगाना) – laugh loudly and heartily
  • Synonyms – cackle, snicker
  • Ex: After the comedian told a funny joke, he was pleased to receive a large guffaw from the audience.
2. Groping (verb) (तलाशने)– search blindly or uncertainly by feeling with the hands
  • Synonyms – search, grabble
  • Antonyms – leave alone
  • Ex: They are still groping in darkness.
3. Plummeted (verb) (घटी)– fall or drop straight down at high speed
  • Synonyms – descend, collapse
  • Antonyms – ascend, raise
  • Ex: Her heart plummeted to the floor.
4. Unearth (verb) (पता लगाना)– find (something) in the ground by digging
  • Synonyms – determine, reveal
  • Antonyms – hide, lose
  • Ex: This philosophy has been extracted from the depths, and unearthed by special seekers.
5. Proximity (noun) (निकटता) – nearness in space, time, or relationship
  • Synonyms – adjacency, concurrence
  • Antonyms – distance, remoteness
  • Ex: The proximity of the forest to the new subdivision means wild animals will probably be frequent visitors to the community.
6. Abrasive (adjective) (अपघर्षक)– (of a substance or material) capable of polishing or cleaning a hard surface by rubbing or grinding
  • Synonyms – annoying, rough
  • Antonyms – moderate, smooth
  • Ex: After speaking with the abrasive doctor, I decided to look for a friendlier physician.
7. Rhetoric (noun) (वक्रपटुता) – the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques
  • Synonyms – verbosity, composition
  • Antonyms – quiet, conciseness
  • Ex: If someone does not stop the political rhetoric in that country, a civil war is likely to break out soon.
8. Demographics (noun) (जनसांख्यिकी) – statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it
  • Synonyms – enumeration, demography
  • Ex: The demographics of book buyers.
9. Alienation (noun) (अलगाव की भावना) – the state or experience of being alienated
  • Synonyms – separation, division
  • Antonyms – agreement, charm
  • Ex: The restaurant owner hesitates to change his menu because he does not want to alienate his regular customers.
10. Defiance (noun) (ललकार) – open resistance, bold disobedience
  • Synonyms – provocation, cartel
  • Antonyms – humility, harmony
  • Ex: The prisoner was defiant and refused to go back into his cell.
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