By PHOEBE SOLOMON
With incumbent president Barack Obama’s term nearing its end, recent months have been rife with campaign announcements from presidential hopefuls. These candidates, stemming not only from preeminent Democratic and Republican parties but also from the Independent and Green party tickets, have already embarked on their respective campaign trails in anticipation of the November 2016 elections.
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, New York State Senator, 2008 Democratic Presidential candidate and First Lady during husband Bill Clinton’s administration, is perhaps the most discussed Democratic candidate. Clinton is backed by a colorful political background, as well as an education from Wellesley College and Yale Law School. She has historically championed women’s rights, LGBT rights and rights for the disabled and has taken a firm stance against internet censorship. Comprehensive polls conducted by CNN, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News and Quinnipiac University all indicate that Hillary Clinton is currently the Presidential favorite among all Democratic and Republican candidates.
Bernie Sanders, U.S. Congress’ longest-serving Independent politician, sent shockwaves through the U.S. political platform when he announced his candidacy for the Presidency. Sanders, although a self-proclaimed and long-indicated Independent politician, is running on the Democratic ticket. Sanders has served as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and as a Vermont congressman. He is currently a junior Vermont Senator. Sanders began his campaign strong, fundraising more money in his first 24 hours than several prominent Republican candidates. He is considered to be more liberal than Hillary Clinton, addressing a broad variety of issues such as economic inequality, abortion, gay marriage, college debt and environmental preservation, maintaining an almost constant “common man” perspective.
Martin O’Malley, former Governor of Maryland, Mayor of Baltimore and city councilor, announced his Democratic candidacy on May 30. O’Malley will allegedly focus his campaign on issues such as immigration reform, community reform, increased wages and climate change. O’Malley has drawn attention by proudly professing his Catholic faith, as well as firmly defending his pro-choice stance, a combination regarded by many as paradoxical.
Lincoln Chafee began his political career as the Republican Mayor of Warick, New Jersey, and began his Senate career when he filled his late father’s vacated seat, identifying himself as a Republican. Chafee gained distinction in the Senate when he became the sole Republican vote against the authorization of military force in Iraq. He later was elected Mayor of Rhode Island while running as an Independent. He overtly and publicly supported both of Barack Obama’s presidential bids. Chafee’s platform is built primarily around three issues: the preservation of personal liberties, the strengthening of the middle class and the protection of environmental interests.
As of now, the Republican party contains a far broader pool of candidates.
Ted Cruz, a Senator from Texas, gained both national fame and notoriety when he staged a 21 hour speech in opposition of ObamaCare. Cruz is a self-proclaimed proponent of limited government and economic growth. He also cites himself as a stark defender of the Constitution. In addition to his political career, Cruz also has experience in law, having spent five years as a partner at a Texas law firm, and five years as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Cruz is in favor of repealing ObamaCare, and maintains that states should have the right to define marriage as well as strictly regulate abortion. The Senator himself defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and referred to Roe v. Wade, the historic Supreme Court Case granting women abortion rights, as a “dark anniversary.”
Rand Paul, also a U.S. Senator, has announced his bid for president. A native of Pennsylvania, Paul was raised in Texas and later earned a medical degree. Paul entered politics by founding Kentucky Taxpayers United, which monitored taxation and spending in Kentucky legislature. He later threw his support to the anti-tax movement in America, the Tea Party. Paul was sharply criticized when he announced that, had he been in the Senate at the time, he would not have offered support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He actively supported a federal ban on abortion during his campaign for U.S. Senator. He gained national attention when he stated that he did not believe that Obama’s beliefs regarding marriage “could get any gayer.” In his presidential campaign announcement, Paul claimed that he was running in order to “return our country to the principles of liberty and limited government.”
Ben Carson, a renowned former neurosurgeon, is running for president as a Republican. Carson gained international fame as a Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon when he performed meticulous surgeries in which he separated twins conjoined at the head. After retiring from surgery, he began focusing his attention on politics, soon gaining recognition as a conservative Republican, even working for Fox News. Carson announced his presidential campaign by plainly stating that he is not a politician. He has made his stance against gay marriage abundantly clear, has likened ObamaCare to slavery, and has argued that America under Obama is comparable to Nazi Germany.
Business mogul and former reality TV star Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy with a flourish, pegging the nation’s recent leaders as “losers” and assuring voters that his wealth and success—a point solidified by his announcement of his own net worth—qualifies him as the best candidate. Trump’s platform tackles a wide range of developments, including a “great, great wall” built along the U.S.-Mexico border paid for by Mexico. He emphasized America’s allegedly dying economy, and clarified his belief that the U.S. is becoming a third-world country. Referring to himself in the third-person, Trump stated, “nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump”. Trump’s supporters are compiled mainly of previous advocates of Trump’s ventures and small business owners enticed by Trump’s economic principles.
Also appearing on the Republican ticket is Marco Rubio, who gained attention after labeling himself a next-generation leader, and claiming that too many Republican principles were stuck in the 20th century.
Carly Fiorina, who was forced to resign as CEO of Hewlett-Packard after its stock fell more than 50 percent under her oversight, is running for president claiming that she is the right fit because she truly understands how the economy operates.
Lastly, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, who both launched failed presidential campaigns in 2012, will both return as presidential candidates in 2016.