MAX FURIGAY ’19
The quadrennial media circus that is the American presidential election is upon us, and 2016’s media coverage has, once again, proved very entertaining. From the clownish antics of the Trump to Hillary Clinton’s scandalous flirtation with a Gmail account (how dare she!), to the fact that no one has told Bernie Sanders to comb his hair, this political cycle is shaping up to be the zaniest and wackiest yet.
However, it seems that the public has forgotten that we actually need to choose the President of the United States from our twenty-strong ensemble (twenty-one if you count Biden!). Trying to make sense of the mess is exhausting – so let’s get started!
On the Republican side, there are currently fifteen candidates for the nomination, by far the highest number of candidates in the modern political era. Leading many Iowa, New Hampshire and national polls are possibly the three selections most unfit to become President: Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Donald Trump. Somehow, this gang of misfits has stumbled its way into first place, leading many conservatives to declare that it is the year of political “outsiders.” This is patently ridiculous. Donald Trump will not become president. He has zero support from Republican elites, is almost no one’s second choice, and may not even be a Republican. As soon as the field clears, moderate Republicans will rally around literally anyone other than Trump and his candidacy will soon seem no more than a bad dream.
Fiorina and Carson are, in my opinion, worse, because they seem like plausible candidates, but they are terrible. Carson’s and Fiorina’s platforms are the typical generic Republican blend, with abominable positions on Christianity, gun control, healthcare, and welfare. They come with the bonus that neither of them have an ounce of governance experience. Carly Fiorina caused HP’s stock price to plummet during her tenure as CEO. Carson, I suspect, may be a zombie. He is certainly not exciting in any way. Bad policy, lack of qualifications, zero political experience and (in Carson’s case) a general sense of apathy exuding from his person should force people to take pause before voting for the Republican frontrunners. But I don’t see them winning the nomination either.
Jeb has built a modicum of support from the party actors, but he is far from the clear choice that some initially thought he would be. I don’t love Jeb because I tend to trend liberal socially, but also because I am not a huge fan of the Bushes in general. The other two significant nominees that I’d like to mention are Marco Rubio and John Kasich.
Rubio is, in my option, the Republicans’ best chance. His ideology fits the Republicans like a glove and he is not a part of the establishment, unlike Bush. However, he still has good political experience in Florida, one of the most important swing states in the national election.
Kasich is my personal favorite nominee. Kasich is a reasonable, moderate Republican with a proven record in Ohio, the other huge swing state for the general election. He is relatively bipartisan and stands up to those in his party who he disagrees with. I like Kasich. It’s really too bad both Rubio and Kasich have received almost no media attention compared to the “frontrunners” and currently are floundering in the polls.
I just hope to God that Ted Cruz does not gain any traction. Besides the fact that he looks like a disappointed corn-husk doll that someone sat on, his social and fiscal policy positions are disgusting. Cruz is a nasty piece of work and I find it terrifying that he’s ahead of so many other nominees.
Many Republican nominees are not worth mentioning as they seem to have little to no ability to gain a following or make a difference, which is another reason the entire Republican race thus far has been an absolute embarassment.
On the Democratic side of things, the media continues to give attention to that which does not deserve it. Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. Pretending that anyone else even has a shot is just silly.
In the last dozen primaries, the best indicator of the eventual nominee is the candidate’s endorsement count from influential party members. While Republican Party actors haven’t rallied behind any of the myriad choices yet, the opposite is true for the Democrats. Clinton has the support of 111 U.S. Representatives, 30 senators, and eight governors. There has never been a clearer mandate of party support in the modern political era. For comparison, the Republican “establishment” pick Jeb Bush, who has the support of 30 representatives and three senators. Bernie Sanders has a single endorsement from one representative.
There has been a lot of talk about Bernie Sanders, and while he does seem lovable and his policies reasonable, he simply will not win. Sanders has almost no minority support: he is overwhelmingly supported by white, rich people. This means that he could feasibly win Iowa and Hew Hampshire and then nothing else (which is why I think that he leads some polls there). I don’t think that Sanders is a good choice for the Democratic Party though: I cannot see him winning a general election against anyone. America will not elect a self-proclaimed socialist. Of this, I am almost certain. So who could America elect in a general election? What about the only other candidate in the race?
Clinton is a fantastic pick for the Democratic Party and is also my personal favorite. She is a reasonable, consistent liberal with decades of experience and support. She’s progressive, politically savvy and, in my opinion, totally presidential material. Her biggest competitor hasn’t even officially entered the race yet. Even if Joe Biden were to enter the race, I don’t think he’d stand a chance against Clinton’s political machine. History has not been kind to late entrants to the race. If only the media could stop trying to make a story from absolutely nothing and shut up about this ridiculous “emailgate”, we could move on to the important issues. Instead of trying to break Clinton, the media should focus on someone worth their ire. Say, maybe, Ted Cruz?
MAX FURIGAY ’19