While the next president of the United States will not be elected until November 2016, Democratic, Republican, and independent candidates are already vigorously campaigning. At this point in the race, candidates within the same political party are preparing for primary elections that will determine who will lead their party for the presidential election. This year, both new and old faces are entering the election, and this early on, it is difficult to say who are the front-runners, but here are a few of the important candidates to know about.
The more liberal party in the United States, the Democratic Party, has been in the presidential office since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. Obama has pioneered healthcare reform with ObamaCare, helped the American economy recover from the 2008 Recession, and put some effort into increased environmental protection. Conversely, the President and the Democratic Party in general have faced inconsistent approval rates. The 2014 midterm election led to a majority Republican Congress, which means the Democratic Party cannot rely on the support of the American people to elect a Democratic President in 2016 after eight years of successes, and failures.
The former First Lady of the United States has rebranded herself as a formidable politician. She was seen as the likely candidate to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president during the 2008 election, but lost to Obama. She is taking this election seriously and has one of the largest campaign operations of any candidate so far. Her campaign is focused on strengthening the American economy, families, national security and the country’s Constitution. Clinton is no stranger to controversy, particularly the scandal surrounding her husband’s infidelity while in office, but it seems that so far, she has been able to focus her fans, and opponents, on the future.
Clinton’s clear Democratic competition is Bernie Sanders. Sanders campaign is similar to Obama’s 2008 run. His views are much more radical than Clinton’s more centrist stance, and like Obama, he is very much an underdog. He has described himself as a democratic socialist and has mainly been an independent politician not associated with a political party until announcing his run for president earlier this year. He plans to address issues of income inequality and climate change and limit the ability for large corporations to influence politics. While he would be an unexpected win, he has already raised more money than all of the Republican candidates running in the 2016 election.
Lincoln Chafee and Martin O’Malley
It’s difficult to say who the least known Democratic candidate running for president: former Rhode Island Governor, Lincoln Chafee, or former Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley. Chafee was a Republican until 2007 and an independent until 2013. Consistently airing on the more liberal side of politics throughout his career, Chafee plans to continue the removal of U.S. troops from foreign involvements, support the middle class, encourage environmental stewardship and defend personal liberties. Despite a busy schedule that has included appearances in 23 states in the past year and a half, O’Malley has had a hard time making a name for himself. The progressive changes made during his time as the governor of Maryland, which include abolishing the death penalty and increasing gun control, play into his goals as president. He wants to push immigration reform; grow and enhance urban communities; and increase the minimum wage to help families, particularly those in poverty, create more opportunities for the next generation.
While there are only four Democrats officially running for president at the time of publication, there are whopping 13 Republican hopefuls. Unlike the Democratic Party, most of the Republican candidates were not involved in the 2012 race, and it’s hard to get a sense of who will rise above the masses to guide the GOP (the Republican Party) through the election.
The son of former President George H. W. Bush and younger brother of former President George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, would be the third member of the family to be in the White House. Bush is often cited for his work during his eight years as the governor of Florida, particularly his educational, medical and environmental legislation. Conversely, it is still unclear whether he can escape the legacy of his family as Clinton has during her shift from First Lady to politician. In his announcement speech, Bush presented an ambitious, if not impossible, plan to increase economic growth by 4%. Conversely, he has been praised by liberals for his surprisingly progressive stance on immigration, arguing that immigrants should have the ability to obtain legal status in the U.S. But Bush might be too far to the left on that point for many Republicans. There have been rumblings that he will fail to reach his high fundraising goals, and he is facing controversies surrounding dubious business activities prior to his governorship.
Also with a strong understanding of Florida politics, Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, has so far been at the front of the race of the Republican candidates. Born to Cuban immigrants, Rubio has quickly risen on the political ladder in Florida, but has yet to prove his worth as a national politician. Despite being mainly a Floridian politician, Rubio might have the most internationally centered campaign, with particular interests in the Middle East, Cuba and Israel and a focus on foreign policy and defence spending. Like many of the other hopefuls, he is also interested in the economy and plans to eliminate $18 trillion in national debt.
Hopefully, Rand Paul will have better luck than his father, Ron, a former Republican congressman, who has unsuccessfully run for president three times, most recently in 2012. Rand Paul has made a name for himself as a Kentucky Senator and is also a doctor focusing in ophthalmology, which is the science of the eye. Paul got into politics working on his father’s campaigns and is a supporter of the ultraconservative Tea Party Movement. With a conservative approach, Paul plans to focus internally and examine spending as well as various government practices and programs including term limits, taxes, social security and criminal justice.
The writer is a student journalist of Oregon University, USA who is on attachment with Today.
Source: Ghana/todaygh.com / Analysis by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, INTERN, OREGON UNIVERSITY, USA