As November begins, the 2016 Presidential election is less than a year away. Most candidates however, have already announced their bid for the Democratic or Republican nomination, making 2016 one of the longest and most expensive presidential races.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are the party’s top contenders.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of the strongest non-incumbent candidates to enter the race. Clinton has previously served as a Senator and Secretary of State. Hillary feels strongly about gun control, immigration reform, and is a proponent for social issues such as same-sex marriage and legalized abortion. Her campaign has been rocked by a congressional investigation into the Benghazi attacks that occurred under her watch and an email scandal in regards to her use of a private email server to send classified information. Although once the number one contender, Clinton is seeing Sanders close in on her wide lead. According to an NBC/WSJ poll, Clinton currently leads the democratic race with 49%.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, despite running as a Democrat, is an independent and a self-proclaimed socialist. His signature issue in public office has been his large support for economic fairness in regards to Wall Street regulations, corporate tax loopholes, campaign finance reform, and higher taxes on wealthier individuals. Sanders appeals to a younger, more liberal audience. He stands on the far left and has been a long time supporter of social issues, and is a strong proponent of government spending. Bernie Sanders comes second with 29%, according to an NBC/WSJ poll.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is a long-time Democrat and previously served as the mayor of Baltimore. O’Malley presents a strong alternative for moderate Democrats who don’t agree with Sanders but are distrustful of Clinton. As governor, O’Malley supported in state tuition for undocumented immigrants and same sex marriage. During his campaign, he has focused on immigration reform, environmental regulations, and gun control. O’Malley currently holds 1% of the Democratic vote, according to an NBC/WSJ poll.
On the Republican side, 15 candidates are currently running for the nomination. Only 3 candidates, however, hold more than 10% of the current Republican vote according to an NBC/WSJ poll. Among the top contenders are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, and Jeb Bush.
Businessman Donald Trump announced his bid for president in June of 2015 and has since drawn mass media coverage as he continues to lead on the Republican side. Known for his cut-throat comments and for being straight to the point, Trump’s four main issues are: veteran administration reform, tax reform, gun rights, and immigration reform. He has not largely focused on social issues. He has largely drawn criticism for his racist comments against Hispanic-Americans back in July. According to an NBC/WSJ poll, he leads the Republican field by 25%.
Second in the polls for the Republican race is Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, Detroit native and bestselling author. He announced his bid for the presidency back in May and has grown to be a Republican favorite for 2016. He stands strongly against abortion and gun control, and doesn’t believe climate change exists. Carson is a strong proponent of a balanced budget amendment and a flat tax rate. In the public’s perception, Carson is notably liked for his cool demeanor and for not coming off as a career politician. He currently holds 22% of the vote.
Former businesswoman and HP CEO, Carly Fiorina launched her campaign for the presidency back in May. She stands against net neutrality, as well as a direct path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (except for the DREAM act.) Fiorina states that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and that the Supreme Court ruling for gay marriage was wrong. She currently holds 7% of the vote, according to NBC/WSJ.
Present Florida Senator Marco Rubio currently holds 13% of the vote. Rubio previously served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. He was propelled by the Tea Party in his bid for the Senate but has since tried to appeal to more establishment Republicans. He is a strong proponent of a balanced budget and tax reform, and he stands against net neutrality and Obamacare. Most notably, Marco stands apart from his Republican counterparts in his support of immigration reform, and back in 2013, he proposed a comprehensive immigration bill that set up a path for citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Once believed to be the number one Republican front runner, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush now holds 8% of the Republican vote, according to an NBC/WSJ poll. Bush served as governor from 1999 to 2007, and his term was most notably known for public education reform. He continues to support common core standards. Bush believes in expanding gun owners’ rights and creating a legal status rather than citizenship for undocumented residents. He opposes an increase in taxes, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Throughout his campaign, Bush has had to set himself apart from his brother, former President George W. Bush, and create a name for himself – most notably in his campaign slogan of “Jeb!” and his latest trending hashtag #JebCanFixIt.
By Elizabeth Martinez