By Christopher Ware
The 2016 Presidential Election is approaching, and it’s time for us to focus some of our attention on who the next president will be. If you haven’t given too much attention to the presidential election so far, no worries, the election is still in its early stages. I will attempt to summarize the more important events that have happened so far to get everyone caught up.
Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has a commanding lead over the Democratic field vying for the nomination. According to Real Clear Politics, Clinton is polling right around 49%.
Senator Bernie Sanders is hovering around 25%, Vice President Biden, who has neither announced nor ruled out a bid for the Presidency, is polling around 14%. O’Malley and Webb are polling at 2% and 1.6% respectively.
Clinton, however, is in the middle of a brewing controversy over classified emails she sent while Secretary of State, which has caused her to lose some support from Democrats. Although this email controversy has caused her to lose some support, she continues to have a firm foundation of Democrats who support her.
In other words, Hillary is not new to politics, which is what much of this “controversy” about emails is being explained by her campaign staff. Regardless, this former Senator and experienced diplomat is here for the long haul for the Democrats.
Bernie Sanders has emerged as the top alternative to Clinton, and has gained support due to his stances on ending the war on drugs, reforming the justice system, and his particularly tough stances on Wall Street reform.
Although he is an admitted Socialist, his rallies continue to attract tens of thousands of supporters.
Although Vice President Biden has not formally announced he is running for President, many believe a 2016 run for the White House is not been ruled out for the experienced statesman. It is common knowledge that Biden’s son, Beau Biden, on his deathbed, told his father to run for President in 2016. Many close to the Biden circle say that this has caused the VIce President to explore the possibility but does not guarantee that he will run.
The Republicans have three times as many candidates than the Democrats running for President. This is a testament to the identity crisis the Republican party is facing right now.
Billionaire and TV personality Donald Trump has a fairly strong lead over the Republican field right now. According to Real Clear Politics, Trump is polling at a solid 28%, but this lead is not time-tested, like Clinton’s.
Trump’s sudden bump up in the polls is a phenomenon called the flavor of the month candidate. The “flavor of the month” candidate is the candidate who suddenly receives a big increase in support. This tends to happen when a candidate enters the race, or if a candidate does a good job on the debate stage.
Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who has never held public office before, seems to be the next “flavor of the month” for the Republicans. He’s gaining ground and is polling around 13.2% nationally.
Many “self-made” Republicans identify with Carson’s background; how he worked hard and became one of world’s best neurosurgeons. His uniquely American story inspires many on the right to support his candidacy even though he no experience in government.
Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and brother of ex-President George W. Bush is polling at 9.2%. Jeb Bush is the establishment candidate but has seen some of his support lost to Trump and Carson.
Bush will hover between 8% and 18% until the Republican field begins to shrink from its current size of 15 to a more realistic field of 5. Many establishment Republicans will rejoin his campaign, making for an interesting end to the Republican primary.
After Bush, there are many candidates polling below numbers worthy of mentioning. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, and Carly Fiorina are polling at 7.2%, 6.2%, 5.6%, and 5.4% respectively.
These candidates are hoping for a chance to make a name for themselves on the debate stage or any other way possible to gain more support before the primaries kick off. John Kasich, who is polling at 4.4%, is the candidate to watch on the Republican side.
He is a level-headed candidate who has strong support in the state of Ohio, which he serves as governor. Ohio is an essential step in Republicans regaining the White House. If Kasich can find a way to tap into the momentum he has going in Ohio and make it national, he will be a hard candidate to beat in primaries.
The End Game
Even though it may be entirely too early to call, I do believe the candidates from the parties will ultimately be Clinton and Bush (ironic, I know). But we have a long election to go, anything can happen, and much will happen in the next coming months.