Opinion

Students review candidates for the 2016 presidential election: Democrat Club

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The 2016 electoral map, as analyzed by Pedersen, including the “blue wall” and the “red fortress” and battleground states.

Kai Pedersen

I bet my girlfriend’s mom $30 that Hillary Clinton will be our next president. This was about a month before Clinton announced she was running. I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding back and forth with a very intelligent and conservative blogger by the name of Chris Ladd. His blog handle is goplifer if you don’t believe me. He’s written for the Washington Times, the Houston Chronicle and the Huffington Post. He and I have discussed in great detail both the 2014 midterms and the 2016 election that the nation is gearing up for. So, keeping in mind that I’m going to be incorporating opinions from an extremely conservative gentleman, let’s talk about Hillary Clinton.

The first thing you should know about Clinton as a 2016 presidential candidate doesn’t have anything to do with supposed (though continually unfounded) Benghazi scandals, or the accusations levied against her and her dealings with the Clinton Foundation. It’s this: She might be the most vetted presidential candidate in history. She also might be the most qualified. She has legislative experience as a U.S. senator from New York, foreign policy experience as U.S. Secretary of State and even some credible experience in the executive sphere as First Lady. In many ways, this is the Holy Trinity of experience for a presidential candidate. The top three roles of the American President are to work closely with legislators in Congress, be the U.S.’s chief diplomat and use the president’s executive authority to both influence policy and affect it at some levels, which she was able to do as First Lady to a significant extent.

How have these advantages affected the seriousness of her candidacy? She’s the biggest front-runner for a presidential nomination the Democratic Party has ever seen. She is polling at 62 percent of Democrats. The closest candidate behind her, Elizabeth Warren, who has claimed she is not running this cycle, is at 13 percent. To put that in context, a glance at the current field of Republican candidates shows their frontrunner, Jeb Bush, is polling at 15 percent and barely leads a crowded field. You tell me.

The final factor when analyzing the strength of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is looking at what Ladd (again, “goplifer”) calls the “blue wall:” a “block of states [that] no Republican presidential candidate can realistically hope to win.” To win the presidency, a candidate must win a minimum of 270 electoral votes. The blue wall, which has been growing over the last two decades and finally extended to include New Hampshire in 2014, encompasses 257 electoral votes. (The Republican “red fortress” encompasses only 191 electoral votes by my analysis and I think it’s much stronger than Ladd does.)

If Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination for president, she will be virtually guaranteed to win at least 257 electoral votes in the general election. If our analysis is near accurate, there will be six states left in contention. Among those six are Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. If Clinton wins any one of these three states she’s our next president. All three are states Obama won. Twice.

Kai Pedersen is a junior political science major and president of the PLNU College Democrats club. He is most passionate about economics, income inequality and raising the federal minimum wage.

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Sources

Polling taken from Real Clear Politics which averages a group of significant polls

A Reality Check on the 2014 Results by goplifer (Chris Ladd)

Joseph Spelde

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Official Republican Candidates for 2016:

Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas since 2013

“Courageous Conservatives, Reigniting the promise of America”

Being the first Republican to announce their candidacy for 2016, Ted Cruz is an ideological purist who is most popular among Tea Party Republicans. His eligibility to run has sparked controversy because he was born in Calgary, Canada and not the U.S. The U.S Constitution states that presidential candidates have to be “natural-born citizens” to which Cruz applies a loose interpretation. Cruz stands as the most conservative candidate in the Republican field, which could grant him success in a party that has increasingly shifted to the right.

Rand Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky since 2011

“Defeat the Washington machine. Unleash the American dream”

Remember the 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul? Well, his son Rand Paul is counting on his father’s supporters for his success. He also hopes to gain the interest of Tea Party conservatives through his small-government fiscal conservatism. Rand Paul’s ideology is quite complex as he attempts to bridge the gaps in the Republican Party; yet, his practicality is often questioned because he is trying to be too many things at once.

Marco Rubio, U.S Senator from Florida since 2011

“A New American Century”

A son of two Cuban immigrants, Marco Rubio is a classic example of the American dream, having worked his way up the ladder that is American politics. Rubio stands in the middle-ground between far right conservatives and Republican moderates, which could help unite an increasingly polarized party. Rubio is well-spoken and well-received during debates, and his favorability ratings in the polls are unquestionable. However, by trying to unite the Republican Party, Marco Rubio could find himself without a discernible base.

Joseph Spelde is a sophomore political science major. He grew up in Holland, Michigan, where he was heavily influenced by his two loving parents who both work for nonprofits. Leaning more toward the left politically, he does not identify as a Democrat or Republican; rather, he considers himself a “social justice warrior.”

 

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