November-December 2015

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he 2016 Presidential election is quickly becoming an event unlike any other in recent political history. It appears that the Republican and Democratic parties have never been further apart, leading to one of the most hostile political climates in recent memory. At this stage in the process, both caucuses are being dominated by the most ideological party elements. Notably, Republicans have allowed the party to be hijacked by the "tea party," the loudest group amongst its far-right base. Even though Democrats have kept their party unified while shifting to the left, it is the progressives and not the moderates that have taken hold of the party. However, unlike the Republicans, the public rift between the establishment and the more progressive segments of the party is less pronounced. That being said, both the tea party and progressives are heavily influencing policy positions on their respective campaign trails. Donald Trump has single handedly forced many Republicans to take a hardline position on immigration. While Hillary Clinton has flip-flopped on the Transpacific Partnership (TPP), a partnership she openly spoke in favor of while Secretary of State. This change in course was forced by a self-described socialist, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, who is within the margin of error in New Hampshire 1 polls. Many characterized this past summer as the "Summer of Trump." Most political experts expected Mr. Trump's poll numbers to fall once the leaves did. Simply put, however, that has not happened (but we shall address the Donald further below). What the brisk fall air has brought us, is a clear top tier in both primary fields. The Republican field still has 14 candidates running for president, but the top five candidates have managed to build a two-point cushion over sixth place. Currently, the top five candidates are Trump, Carson, Rubio, Bush, and Cruz 2 , in that order. I would be surprised if the nominee does not come from this group, but nothing in this election would shock me. Currently, the only other Republican who seems to have a shot at the nomination is Carly Fiorina. Even though Ms. Fiorina has not jumped into the top tier, in my opinion she has separated 30 PalletCentral • November-December 2015 The 2016 Presidential Election Is Conventional Wisdom Dead? POLITICAL INSIGHT 1 Real Clear Politics, New Hampshire 2016 Democratic Primary (October, 2015) presidential_primary-3351.html 2 Real Clear Politics, 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination (October, 2015) nomination-3823.html T Guest editorial by Paul Kanitra

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