As the race to enter the White House heats up in both the Democratic and Republican parties, we at IR Today take a look at the major candidates still vying for their party’s nomination and assess their chances of becoming president.
Hillary Clinton: Seen as the stability candidate to continue the style of the Obama administration, the former senator for New York has for a long time been the frontrunner for the democratic nomination. She has been consistently present on the political scene and her time as first lady and her distinguished career as both a Senator and as the Secretary of State mean that Hilary has the experience in the political spotlight that no other candidate can match. This is precisely why another run at the presidential palace always seemed on the cards, she feels that her experience puts her in a unique position to govern the country. Some of course use this to criticise her and argue that her record isn’t good enough for the Oval Office. Though she struggled more than expected Iowa and got annihilated in New Hampshire, the Clinton camp is still upbeat expecting to gain the Democrat nomination with relative ease due to her strong polling in the delegate heavy South, and most recently her Nevada win. An issue that has recently come up is that following her NH loss Hillary held a rally with Madeline Albright who rather sensationally remarked that there’s a ‘special place in hell’ for women who don’t support Clinton. The female members of this editorial team take particular grievance with this. And given the aggressive response all over the Internet, we’re obviously not alone. It’s safe to say that while Hillary will win many votes for her gender, she cannot win on that card. And overplaying it can only work against her. Assuming that she works this out and gets the nomination, she must face up against a republican challenger and who this is may affect whether she becomes the United States’ first female president. Though she polls well against the current republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, she struggles against Ted Cruz with current polls putting the difference between the two for popular vote within the margin of error. The worst case scenario for Clinton would be a Rubio challenge with the Hispanic Senator holding a strong 5% lead over Clinton in national polls.
IRToday Presidential Score: 8/10
Bernie Sanders: At 74, Bernie Sanders is not only the oldest person running for nomination, but were he to become president by the end of his term he would be the oldest president in the history of the United States. This has not stopped the self proclaimed ‘democratic socialist’ from engaging with young voters creating quite the insurgency within the left of the Democratic Party. Sanders has done surprisingly well so far sweeping to the New Hampshire primary with 60% of of the popular vote, causing fear amongst many in the Democrat establishment. However, though Sanders does well on the Liberal west coast and north east many have criticised him for failing to galvanise the ethnic minorities who form the democrats base in southern states. This makes his chances of winning the primary diminish drastically, despite recent polling suggesting he is drawing level with Clinton in many other areas of the country. In addition to this, Sanders isn’t nearly as articulate in voicing a clear foreign policy. Given that the President of the U.S. is also its head diplomat and that Bernie is running against a former Secretary of State, he doesn’t fare well on this aspect of his campaign (in fact Foreign Policy just this week released an article saying that Sanders has begun to assembly a foreign policy team). Nevertheless, those who worry that Sanders’ message cannot resonate on a national basis should be pleasantly surprised by his brilliant polling against potential republican candidates, like Clinton his downfall would be a Rubio bid who narrowly outpolls him by 1%. All other candidates, however, Bernie takes down with ease (leads of at least 4% nationally) making some of us here at IR Today to #FeelTheBern (Sam Wyatt).
Despite this strong national support unfortunately there seems little chance that this Vermont senator could ever unseat the dynastic heir to the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, and so this socialist dream may have to wait.
IRToday Presidential Score: 4/10
Donald Trump: When the head honcho of The Apprentice (USA) declared he was running for president of the United States, many on both sides of the Atlantic refused to take it seriously, dismissing him as a joke candidate. With policies that include the building a wall on the Mexican border that the mexicans will pay for and refusing entry to all Muslims until ISIS are defeated it seemed to many that the person spouting this rhetoric was too radical to be elected, and yet Trump is soaring in the republican primary with most polls putting him around 10% above his nearest rival. He also seems immune to fact checking, no matter how much his statements are disproved he continues to garner support from all sections of society. Even more worryingly he has a major grassroots support system. Many Americans who have never voted before are currently looking to vote for Trump himself. It is evident, therefore, that his message is resonating with many who feel isolated and alienated in the current system. Whether his support will continue to skyrocket and his streak of 3 wins keeps going is still a coin toss. His chances in a National race don’t look as good, as the RNC has noted, but one thing is for sure, as things stand he is the one to beat in the Republican race. And if he surprises us once, who says he can’t do it again in November.
IRToday Presidential score: 7/10
Ted Cruz: The radical non-establishment republican senator from Texas who almost shut down government last year in a standoff over Obamacare is the candidate most international correspondents fear the most. Having won the Iowa Caucus Cruz has proved himself to be a ferocious campaigner tackling issues that are important to the republican base – abortion, gay marriage, immigration. Though some of his policies lack nuance (such as his plan to carpet bomb Syria) he is a fiery speaker who knows how to rile up a crowd. However, there are some major problems with his campaign, for one it is not even known if he’s eligible to become president as he was born in Canada and the rules on ‘natural born’ citizenship are unclear. Furthermore, as the most conservative candidate he is viciously attacked by the Republican establishment, and his inability to gain a single recommendation from the Senate may hinder his campaign. Though he currently lies in 2nd place in the polls, his election chances are dwindling as he is facing increasingly difficult attack ads from both the Rubio and the Trump campaign.
IRToday Presidential Score: 5/10
Marco Rubio: The last remaining bastion of the Republican establishment is currently vying with Cruz for second place in the race. With Bush dropping out at the weekend, many donors are backing the man from California to win the election for the republicans. Dubbed by many as the Republican Obama, Rubio has charisma to spare and this will be vital if he is to pick up the nomination. Though he trails Trump nationally by around 10% points, he is the candidate left who does best in a head to head against him because though he has very conservative credentials on things such as abortion he has a very open approach to immigration – rare for a republican candidate. Furthermore, Rubio is in the unique position of being able to beat both Hillary and Bernie in matchups and by considerable margins too – he is by far the candidate that the democrats must fear most. However, as things stand himself, Cruz and Kasich (who is now pretty irrelevant anyway) all take votes away from each other making the trumpmobile virtually unstoppable. His chances at nomination may lie in doing well enough in the early primaries, and as many republicans as possible dropping out so that he can harness their support groups- if he can get through the primary he must be the favourite for the presidency but that seems a long way off.
IRToday Presidential Score: 6/10