Tyler Lewis, UMBC:
Now that we have arrived in the year 2015, the pot of potential candidates for the 2016 General Election has dwindled down, painting a clearer picture on the political figures we might see debating at the primaries next year.
Below I will analyze the top two candidates for both the Democratic and Republican parties. This is likely to change in the future due to the fickle nature of campaign plans, but should serve to highlight the individuals that are currently atop the polls.
Hillary Clinton- Secretary of State (D)
Although Clinton has not officially announced her campaign for the presidency yet, it is almost certain that she will do so in the near future. Politico recently reported that Clinton will soon launch a short tour, according to an inside source, and is likely to visit Iowa amongst other states.
It seems that the goal of Clinton’s potential campaign will be to reintroduce her to America. Although her position as Secretary of State is an honorable one that undoubtedly contributes to her validity as a candidate, the central focus of her campaign will not be on her past accomplishments, but rather what she can achieve in the future. According to Politico’s source, Clinton’s aides will aim to reestablish her “humility” in the eyes of Americans.
It is also worth noting that Clinton turned 67 last October. This will likely be her last shot at the oval office, and that might come through in the intensity of her campaign.
Elizabeth Warren- Senator of Massachusetts (D)
Elizabeth Warren became the first female Senator in the state of Massachusetts in 2012, when she defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown. Before that, she was a professor at Harvard Law School.
Although Warren has repeatedly stated she will not embark on a campaign for the 2016 presidency, she is among a small group of Democrats that could legitimately compete with Clinton. Whether Warren is content with her current status as Senator, or does not feel that she could prevail in a race alongside Clinton, is unclear.
However, if Warren is seriously considering a campaign run, time is not on her side. Due to the fact there are very few, if any, credible Democratic contenders, influential supports are running to support Clinton by the day.
Jeb Bush- Former Governor of Florida (R)
Yes, we could have another Bush as President of the United States. It’s possible. Bush served as the 43rd Governor of Florida, from 1999 to 2007. He is recognized for his dedication to improving the environment, and for reforming the education system.
Bush entered the pool of candidates in December of last year, when he announced that he would explore the possibility of running. Although he hasn’t made a solidified name for himself, many Republicans believe that will be an asset during his campaign.
On NBC’s “Today” show, Mitt Romney supported Bush by saying, “I, along with a few other people, ran in the last contest and I was not successful, and my thought was we need a new face, someone not yet defined in the public’s mind. Jeb Bush is one of those new faces.”
Although Jeb Bush is not yet be defined by the public, the actions of his father, George H.W Bush, and brother, George W. Bush, are often the source of heated political debate. The opinions held by American citizens on his family will undoubtedly contribute to preconceived notions about Jeb Bush. However, the extent to which those notions will affect his campaign, are not yet known.
Scott Walker- Wisconsin Governor (R)
Scott Walker became the 45th Governor of Wisconsin in 2011. When he assumed office, he quickly enacted a controversial budget repair plan. Fueled by individuals unsatisfied with this plan, Wisconsin had it first ever gubernational recall election in 2012. Walker faced the same opponent as the first election, and won the recall election by a larger margin then the original.
Although Walker is widely respected, he has recently been under scrutiny for “flip-flopping” his political views, particularly on immigration. This is surely a tactic to appeal to a larger audience during his impending campaign. Conservation of principles is nice, so long as it does not cost votes.
In a recent CNN/ORC poll, Walker has 13% of Republican respondents support. This is second only to the 16% that Jeb Bush maintains.
Party unity for the Democrats could be a deciding factor in the 2016 race. While the GOP scrambles to find its man/woman, the Democrats along with their supporters, are backing Hillary Clinton. While Clinton will undoubtedly be tested in the primary, many of her real opponents will be on the sidelines for the sake of solidarity.