Posted December 14, 2015 Ashley Chadwick
It may still be 11 months to the Presidential elections in America, but the campaign trail is already looking fairly worn. In contrast to Britain, the process lasts 18 months rather than 6 weeks. A majority of this is not actually dedicated to finding out who will be President, but to finding out who will lead the two major parties in America.
The Democratic party is by far the easier one to analyse who will be representing them. They are farther to the left than the Republicans, but still right of centre. They could be viewed as a midpoint between the UK’s Labour and Conservative parties. Given the right leaning nature of American politics, they are viewed as the more liberal and socialist party. However, their views will have little in common with European socialist parties. The fight for the Democratic nomination is between former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton and the progressive socialist Bernie Sanders. Clinton is favourite, currently holding a 19 point lead in the polls, however, she was in a similar situation eight years ago before losing out to Obama.
The Republican Party nomination race is far more complex. At a time there were 17 people running. The nature of the campaign trail; with in-depth analysis by the news channels and many debates and attack ads. This results in the best candidate should be filtered out, but they may have taken damage from their own party and they are then faced of the much harder task of reuniting the party behind them. Currently the controversial Donald Trump is in the lead in the polls. Whilst for months now people have been writing him off, he has a large support base amongst the far right of America, with his Islamophobic, Xenophobic and other extreme views. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie past leaders in the polls have had their support fall and no longer appear in the running. Instead the trio of Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have surged in the polls. Ben Carson has led in the polls and has not held office before, he is a renowned Neurosurgeon and given a slide in his ratings is perhaps unlikely to win. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are both fairly young politicians of Cuban descent and both seem to be more realistic choices than Trump and Carson who are far more outspoken.
It is too early to tell who will end up competing for the Presidency, but at this stage the most important question people want answered is this, ‘Could Trump really be President?’ Simply put, the answer to this question, is No. Expanding upon that, there is a chance that he will be the Republican nominee, but even if he gets that far, he is significantly behind in the polls against the likely Democratic candidate Clinton. So there is a chance, but it would seem to be slim. Currently, the Democrats are favourites, but that depends on who runs. The majority of elections are determined by the unaffiliated Independents. These people are generally found in the middle of the two parties. Simple game theory then dictates, whichever politician is closer to the centre will gain more of those independent votes. Clinton therefore performs well against Trump, winning by about 50 to 40. Clinton is currently behind in the hypothetical battle against Rubio 47 to 46. It is difficult to find data on Sanders against the Republicans as he is being written off, but given his views, he would likely perform less well against them.
There are still two months and billions of dollars before people begin to vote in caucuses for their party’s leader and it is fair to say that in this race, everything is yet to be decided.
Image via flickr, Gage Skidmore.