16 people who made 2016 the wildest election in decades

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Click on the people above to see what role they played in the 2016 election.

A presidential campaign moves across the land like an invading army, trailing a caravan of journalists, enlisting civilians and thrusting them, willy-nilly, into the frontlines of history. An 11-year-old girl confesses her fear of coming home to find her parents arrested and deported; a laid-off coal miner wonders how he will support his family; the author of a memoir about his childhood in Appalachia becomes the de facto ambassador of Donald Trump’s white, rural voters to the national media.

What most of these people have in common is they never sought fame in this way. Before this election season, Gonzalo Curiel was a little-known federal district judge in San Diego and Harold Bornstein was a gastroenterologist with a Park Avenue practice; now the world knows Curiel as the Mexican-American judge whom Trump loudly accused of bias in the fraud case against Trump’s “university,” and Bornstein as the doctor whose letter testified to Trump’s “astonishingly excellent” health. And Pat Smith, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, and Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle figured in the 2016 campaign in the worst way imaginable: They are parents whose adult children died in ways that made them symbols for one side or the other. — By Jerry Adler

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