7’s Top 7: The 2016 Presidential Election

(WSVN) - We have a presidential election every four years, but never has there been one with the twists and turns of 2016 — ending with a political stunner for the ages. In the first of our weeklong look back at the year’s top stories, tonight’s “7’s Top 7″ is the race for the White House.

The 2016 presidential election: unconventional, unprecedented and, at times, unbelievable.

Donald Trump: (to Hillary Clinton): Because you’d be in jail.”

Hillary Clinton: “Love trumps hate!”

But long before Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off, the real estate mogul was the front-runner in a bruising Republican primary battle.

Donald Trump: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s like incredible.”

Incredible, indeed. The candidate, who never held elective office, scored his first win in New Hampshire and never looked back.

Trump delivered a steady stream of insults, taking down his GOP rivals one by one.

Donald Trump: “Don’t worry about it, Little Marco … We call him Lyin’ Ted … This guy’s a joke artist, and this guy’s a liar.”

Although Hillary Clinton was long considered the favorite for Democrats, she got a serious challenge from a self-described “democratic socialist.”

Bernie Sanders: “Who in America, the media said, could believe in a political revolution?”

But Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could not catch Clinton in the delegate count.

Controversy began on the first night of the Republican National Convention. Parts of Melania Trump’s speech were plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech.

Michelle Obama: “You work hard for what you want in life.”

Melania Trump: “That you work hard for what you want in life.”

No brotherly love to start the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Protesters: (chanting) “Hell, no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary!”

Sanders supporters protested after hacked emails showed Democratic National Committee staffers favored Clinton.

But the Democrats rallied behind Clinton, and she became the first woman to be the nominee of a major political party.

The race was on: Clinton versus Trump.

Hillary Clinton: “I accept your nomination…”

Donald Trump: “For the presidency…”

Trump and Clinton: “Of the United States!”

Over the following months, the candidates attacked each other relentlessly. Clinton hammered Trump for not releasing his tax returns, and said he was not fit to serve.

Hillary Clinton: “Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.”

Trump railed against Clinton’s emails and allegations of Clinton Foundation donor influence while she was leading the State Department.

Donald Trump: “She is as crooked as a three-dollar bill.”

Eighty-four million people tuned in for the first of three prime-time debates.

And then the “October surprise” threatened to derail the Trump train. The tycoon was caught on a hot mic talking about women before a 2005 “Access Hollywood” shoot.

Donald Trump: “You can do anything, grab ’em by the [expletive]. You can do anything.”

Three weeks later, the FBI director dropped a bombshell on the Clinton campaign, announcing more emails were found — reopening an investigation that had ended with no charges.

The investigation wrapped up two days before the election, again with no charges being filed, but the cloud did not clear in time for Camp Clinton.

Donald Trump: “In one day, we are going to win the great state of Florida, and we are going to take back the White House!”

That prediction came true. The former reality television star had produced one of the most stunning political upsets in American history.

Donald Trump: “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.”

But thousands refused. Protests erupted across the country, from Los Angeles…

Protesters: (chanting): “Not my president!”

To South Florida.

Protesters: (chanting): “We reject the president-elect!”

On Jan. 20, 2017, the man Time Magazine calls the “President of the Divided States of America” will take the oath of office.

Monday, on 7’s Top 7, we take a look back at the historic year in Cuba, including the death of Fidel Castro.

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