By Julia Skeval
Co-Editor in Chief
A businessman, a senator and a Canadian walk into a bar.
That isn’t the set-up to a joke. It’s just the beginning to perhaps the most interesting race for president in history.
Currently polling at 36 percent, and probably most famous for firing people and insulting an entire race at once is Donald Trump. Trump wants to “make America great again,” offering up solutions such as building a “Great Wall”-esque barrier between the United States and Mexico to further prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country, or completely shutting down Muslim immigration into America.
And for some inexplicable, alarming reason his ideas are gaining traction, mainly among low-educated voters who hear how passionate he is and decide he’s the candidate worth supporting. Trump is leading the Republican party and has been for months, with some political experts now saying he may to be too far ahead for any of the other candidates to catch him.
Even scarier? He declared at a conference in Iowa on Jan. 23 that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and wouldn't lose any supporters. He’s probably not wrong. The man whose candidacy started out as a joke is nearing the point where Donald Trump being sworn in as the 45th president of the U.S.A. has a real possibility of becoming reality.
Trump won three of the four early primaries and caucuses held in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. And as expected, Trump swept the polls on March 1, also known as Super Tuesday, when eleven states held their primaries. He finished the day bringing his total delegate count up to 315.
In second place sits Rafeal “Ted” Cruz. Born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father, he somehow is still eligibile to run for president (the United States Constitution states a candidate must be a natural-born citizen but doesn’t elaborate much on that. Cruz became a naturalized citizen in 2005). Cruz is an avid supporter of the Second Amendment, believing more guns is the solution to less violence. He has vowed to appeal the Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage and defund Planned Parenthood completely. If elected, he’s essentially going to rip up whatever President Obama has worked on for the past eight years.
Trump and Cruz sparked an early bromance but as of late, the camaraderie seems to be fading. Since the start of the new year, Trump has begun bringing up Cruz’s country of origin more and more while Cruz enjoys taking jabs at Trump’s past political positions and his “New York Values,” referring to New York City typically being a more liberal city.
Cruz has 226 delegates, still trailing Trump by almost 100. A boost to his campaign came by winning his home state of Texas; if he hadn’t, it would have been a hard-to-recover-from blow to his shot at winning the White House.
Polling in third, and known for being the most favorable choice for president among high-ranking Republican officials, is Marco Rubio. He opposes same-sex marriage, raising the minimum wage and restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba; which many say puts him out of touch with American Latinos despite his Cuban heritage. However, while the definition of normal is relative, Rubio looks to be the most normal Republican candidate at this point.
After Super Tuesday, Rubio holds 106 delegates.
Rounding out the Republican candidates left in the race are nuerosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Govenor John Kasich. Carson’s questionable comments about international affairs have made his foreign policy credentials look weak and Kasich has had a tough time making his campaign and name a household one even after finishing second in the New Hampshire primary.
However, Carson has reiterated several times that he plans to stay in the race until its conclusion in November. Kasich has spread a similar message but with a dying chance, negative results on Super Tuesday may deliver the final blow to his campaign.
The Democrats seem to have a little less chaos but a tighter competition on their side.
Hilary Clinton was and still is in first place for the blue party, relying on her over 25 years of political experience to attract and impress voters. Clinton’s decades in politics have been spent fighting racist, sexist and homophobic policies as well as advocating for universal health care and women’s rights. For practically all of her campaigns over the years for various government positions, women have been Clinton’s main backing.
As the first woman to ever have a real shot at the presidency, she arguably will have the toughest few months ahead of her as the election gets closer. There have been countless examples of misognsitc and demeaning comments made about her by critics and the other candidates, mostly males from the Republican party. But even Republican Carly Fiorina, the only other woman candidate to enter the race, who has subsequently dropped out, has taken jabs citing problems she feels exist in Clinton’s marriage and her husband, Bill Clinton’s, famous indescrtions while he was in office.
Another speedbump in Clinton’s campaign has been her public image taking several hits in the last few months, making it seem like America can’t trust her. From using a private email while serving as Secretary of State to her foundation’s fundraising practices coming under fire, Clinton’s trustworthiness has been dropping in polls concerning the candidates’ honesty.
Early on in her campaign, politcal analysts thought Hilary Clinton would have no problem getting support from women. But an unepxected politician from Vermont has become the flaw in that theory. Clinton’s female supporters are mainly those born during the baby boom, or those over the age of 45. However, according to ABC.com, Bernie Sanders is favored by women under the age of 35 over Clinton by a margin of almost 20 points.
Bernie Sanders has undeniable appeal to the younger generations. He’s the quirky Northeast senator whose main goals while in office would be to make public colleges and universities free to students and closing the wealth inequality gap between the rich and poor. Sixty-five percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 favor socialist Sanders as the candidate who is finally going to take their views and problems into account.
Despite Clinton’s lack of appeal among millenials, she has won two out of the three Democratic causcuses and primaries held so far, in Iowa and Nevada. Sanders took New Hampshire, which many acredited to it’s close proxitmity to Vermont. The thing about Clinton, experts say, is that her main supporters are nearly guarenteed to come out and vote for her while Sanders may only have a chance of defeating her if the younger generations vote, which proving by the primary results, doesn’t seem to be happening.
As of March 2, Clinton holds 1,001 delegates to Sanders’ 371. Despite the numbers, as Clinton’s only competition left in the race, Sanders is expected to hold out until the Democratic party officially elects its nominee.
There are still eight more months until the general election. When a businessman, a senator and a Canadian walk into a bar, we’ll have to wait and see who comes out victorious.