With Barack Obama’s second term as president coming to a close, people are already looking ahead to the upcoming 2016 presidential election. In the Democratic corner, Hillary Clinton stands as a very serious contender for the presidency, with Bernie Sanders hoping to at least make an impact. In the Republican corner, a wealth of hopefuls preside, from Jeb Bush to Marco Rubio, all looking to represent the elephant. While no one can say for sure who will win the Republican nomination, Hillary stands tall as favorite, despite the scandals that have plagued her in recent years.
As Secretary of State, Clinton has run into several bumps in the road over these past few years. It has been debatable whether or not Hillary and her department could have prevented the four deaths that were the result of a terrorist assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and it is still questionable as to whether or not her email scandal has substance to it. While Republicans are desperately trying to tarnish public perception of Clinton, many Democrats stand firm by her side, doing their best to defend her from the unrelenting Republican attack.
Despite all of the rumors and scandals that have yet to be sorted out completely, Clinton’s momentum has not been entirely haltered, and many still see her as the favorite. Out of 60 responses to the poll question “Who do you think will win the 2016 presidential elections?” 41 answered with Hillary Clinton – a resounding 68.33 percent. The next highest answer was Jeb Bush, who received only 7 votes, or 11.67 percent.
“If we are just talking about the general election, I would take the odds on Hillary Clinton because I am confident that she will be in the general election, and when she gets there it is very possible for her to win,” Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies Frank Alcock said.
“She is an incredibly unique candidate, as her level of exposure, from being the first lady to secretary of state and being one of the favorites in the 2008 election, there are very few people in this country that don’t have a very firm opinion of Hilary Clinton,” Alcock continued. “Her overall numbers are unlikely to move that much, unless it was a ridiculously debilitating scandal.”
Bernie Sanders, the other official Democratic hopeful, might not have the odds on his side, but Novocollegians favor the Vermont senator heavily. Out of 61 responses to the poll question “Who is your personal favorite candidate for the 2016 presidential elections?” Sanders received 32 votes, which is 52.46 percent of all the votes. Clinton came in second with 11 votes, or 18.03 percent. Regardless of the student body’s opinion, Sanders is not readily considered a true contender by many.
“I don’t think her campaign is off to the most robust start, but there is no indication that there are any other serious contenders at the moment,” Alcock said regarding Clinton and the contenders for the Democratic nomination. “It is kind of troubling that if her campaign implodes, they don’t really have a viable general election candidate to sort of step up.”
On the Republican side of things, there is no shortage of right-wing candidates to choose from. Jeb Bush has the name recognition and the fundraising to make something happen, while Scott Walker and Rand Paul’s names should not go unnoticed. Ted Cruz might resound favorably with the Republican voters, but he may be too far right to be a legitimate general election candidate.
Of all the Republican candidates, Florida Senator Marco Rubio might have the backing and momentum to make a serious push for the presidency in the 2016 elections. At only 43 years old and with a short but impressive stint in U.S. politics, Rubio is not leading in the polls but he shows plenty of promise as a legitimate Republican nominee, as he lacks the limitations several other Republican nominees have tied to their campaigns. While Rubio does show some promise, and could turn out to be a serious contender, many see Jeb Bush as his biggest competitor.
“I think that given the fundraising capacity as well as the operational apparatus that Jeb Bush will be throwing out there that he is a very formidable candidate,” Alcock said. “However, in the primaries he does have a few liabilities that might not get through to the Republican base, so it is possible that he sizzles.”
Along with Rubio and Bush, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee should not be forgotten. All of these candidates have a very real chance of making an impact and becoming a front-running presidential nominee, as it is, the Republican nomination is entirely up in the air.
“There are so many candidates in the field, so anything could happen to move them up front,” Alcock said. “So I don’t think that there is a clear frontrunner in the Republican field at the moment.”
Regardless of the candidates, it does not seem like the New College student body has much hope for the election’s results. Out of 62 responses for the question “Who do you think will be the biggest loser of the 2016 presidential elections?” a resounding 39 answered with the option: “The American people.”
Despite the pessimism behind the upcoming 2016 presidential election, it might finally be the race in which a woman will hold office. While Hillary stands strong even with her numerous setbacks, the Republicans remain a threat due to their significant number of legitimate candidates. The 2016 presidential election is still a ways away, however, and the possibilities are endless.