Presidential Elections: The run down


Poll results from 102 anonymous students at St. Cloud State University
Poll results from 102 anonymous students at St. Cloud State University

With the Iowa Caucus’s behind us and the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday – The presidential election season is heating up and has taken some very unusual turns to say the least. With Bernie Sanders trying to start a political revolution and Donald Trump entering the race in general, it will be an interesting turnout to see who wins the race to the White House. For those who have not paid much attention to the race, here is what is currently happening as of now.

Who are the front runners for each party?

The Democrats.

On the Democratic side, it is down to former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The two are neck and neck in the polls and have similar ideas on how the country should be run, but have very different ideas on how to reach their goals.

Hillary is labeled more of a moderate candidate because she tries to find middle ground on certain issues, but has become more progressive in others areas such as women’s rights, same sex marriage and abortion. She also has one of the most powerful campaigns in the United States because of name recognition and political dynasty.  Hillary supporters would say that she is a better fit for the White House because she has the most experience in the Executive Branch because of her work as Secretary of State and being the first lady when Bill Clinton was president.

Those who are against Clinton believe that she is not trust worthy or that she has a “shape-shifting” persona when it comes to her political views. Her email scandal, which has been prevalent within the last year has made some unsure whether she is able to be honest with the American people, along with her back door deals with Wall-Street, like obtaining speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. Others say Clinton has some inconsistencies when it comes to her stances on public policy. Some of these things include her stance on the Keystone Pipeline, Trans Pacific Partnership and Same Sex Marriage.

The other Democratic front runner, Bernie Sanders has gained a large amount of popularity since his campaign started. Sanders is running under the Democratic Party, but considers himself to be a “Democratic Socialist.”

Sanders has attracted a large amount of the youth because of his progressive mindset and plans to make college education free and available to all Americans. Another reason why younger audiences are drawn to Bernie Sanders is because he is one of the only few presidential candidates who hasn’t gained any money from Super PACS, an organization, usually run by a large company or special interest group that fuels money into a politician’s campaign.

Those who are against Sanders believe that his ideas are very “unrealistic” and would cost taxpayers trillions of dollars. Others are also not very fond of the term “socialism” which has never gotten a good reputation in American politics because many think that it would take away motivation and incentive for achieving economic prosperity.

The Republicans

With a crowded field of GOP frontrunners there are three that have stood out from the pack crowd of presidential hopefuls. Real-Estate Mogul Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The three couldn’t be any more different from each-other in terms of backgrounds, stances on public policy and performance in the political theatre. Donald Trump is well-known for being loud, boisterous and someone who packs a punch. His supporters adore him for his inflammatory rhetoric on immigration, fighting ISIS and “fixing the crippled America”. He has caused a lot of controversy over the last few months for things that he has said regarding Hispanic immigrants, Syrian Refugees and of course, his other GOP rivals and the media.

People who are against Trump would say that they think he would cause World War 3 due to his inability to get along with those who have questioned his authority, like Fox News host and debate moderator Megyn Kelly at the first primary debate. Others also think that his rhetoric is in line with that of a demagogue, some have even compared him to Adolf Hitler.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who recently won the Iowa Caucus’s is also known for being anti-establishment, much like Donald Trump. They attract a similar audience, working class citizens who feel their country has been stripped from their palms and Evangelicals who feel their religious freedom has been diminished and stripped from them. These grassroots conservatives love Cruz for his ability to take on the Washington establishment and show his “true conservative values” and his performance on the political stage, whether it’s at a debate or lobbying for fossil fuels, his supporters feel he can take on any challenge that comes his way.

Those who are against Cruz, like Sen. John McCain have called him a “wackobird” and think that his views are far too extreme in his conservative beliefs and would not be able to get anything done in Washington. Donald Trump and others have questioned Cruz if he is actually an American citizen because of his parents being Cuban and the fact that he was born in Canada, is still under speculation. Cruz has also been criticized for having Wall-Street connections because his wife Heidi, is a former executive at Goldman Sachs, which has put money into his campaign.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, seems to be the alternative option to the Trump /Cruz lead in the polls. Rubio has closer ties with the GOP establishment and holds some more moderate views. Some of his opponents have gone as far as to say he has similar policies to Clinton. Rubio supporters like him because he is a young, attractive, fresh new face in politics and has more realistic views on issues. His policies on economic issues, immigration and social concerns would be considered center right which appeals to more white collar conservative voters. Supporters also like Rubio for his dramatic, poetic and effective public speaking abilities on the debate stage.

Opponents of Rubio criticize him saying he has not made any major accomplishments in his time as a Senator and have questioned him on some of his spending habits. In an interview with The New York Times, Rubio was asked about his income after claiming he was in serious debt. Even though he had just purchased an 80,000-dollar speed boat.

Who is projected to win the nominations for each party?

While it is tough to say who will win the race to the White House, Political Scientists have already started making predictions on who will win their party nominations. Jim Cottrill, a professor of political science at St. Cloud State University said, “I think it might end up being Clinton and Rubio, they seem to be their party’s favorites because to them, they are the safest bets on who would get them the most votes, but who knows, political scientist said Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would never make it as far as they have now.”

A recent poll of about 100 St. Cloud State students shows that out of the 100 that participated in the poll, Bernie Sanders ranks the top on their list with 56 percent of participants saying that they would like him to be the next president of the United States. In second place, 14 percent of voters said they want Donald Trump to become president and trailing behind by one percentage point — Hillary Clinton with thirteen percent of the vote. Rubio and Cruz both tie with about five percentage points and the rest of the candidates polled 1 percent or lower with this sample of students.

What should we expect next?

Clinton and Sanders continue to fight in a nasty cage match for the Democratic vote, we will see where both of these candidates end up at the finish line of the primary season. As for Rubio, Trump and Cruz it is tough to say where they will land now because the New Hampshire primaries are slightly mixed up in the Republican party. Cruz and Trump are currently still on top according to a new CNN/WMUR tracking poll with Ohio governor John Kasich tying with Jeb Bush for third place.  As the race for the White House continues – who knows what will happen in 2016 battle-royal for the most powerful position in the world?

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