Our Next President

illustration of Donald Trump. (The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

Michael Hogue

illustration of Donald Trump. (The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

David Wagner, Staff Writer

 

The 2016 election will be held on November 8, and though this is still ten months away, some candidates have already shaped into serious contenders. We are only a few days out from the first caucus in Iowa, which could significantly change the direction of the election, but based off current poll numbers, we can deduce a bit about the election.

Though Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers have been wavering in recent polls in comparison to rival Bernie Sander’s poll numbers in early voting states, I believe that she will still receive the Democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders has been able to gain support in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, but falls pretty far behind in most other states. Unless he able to win these early-voting states (which I’m unconvinced he will be able to do), and the momentum is enough to convince Clinton supporters to switch their votes, he will lose the primary election. Sander’s has little appeal to moderate Democrats or even the most moderate Republicans because of his socialist platform, so I don’t think he will be able to pull votes from Clinton.

At this point, the Republican race seems to have come down to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Trump has launched a barrage of attacks against Cruz already, many of which seem to have been fairly successful if poll numbers are to be trusted. Trump has shown that he has the ability to shut down even popular candidates, and with the race narrowing, Cruz is in a similar position to Sanders. I think Trump will defeat Cruz in the primaries and will be the Republican nominee.

In a general election where the two candidates are Clinton and Trump, little can be predicted. Both candidates have strong advantages. Trump suffers from the same problem as Sanders—he has very little appeal to moderate Republicans or any Democrats. Trump’s major advantage, however, is his ability to inspire Republicans to a point that’s infuriating to Democrats. Sanders’ inspires many Democrats in a similar way; both appeal to the radical-leaning public who are angry at current politics. Clinton thus far has been unsuccessful at tapping into this sentiment, and though she may have broader support, her supporters are less passionate (and therefore less likely to vote in the election, or to vote for a third-party candidate). Who would win this match-up? It’s difficult to predict at this time, but regardless of who wins, about half of the American public will be “moving to Canada.”

At a recent event, Trump mentioned that he would not launch any attacks on Sanders because he would prefer to take on Sanders, rather than Clinton, in the general election. Sanders replied that he would love to challenge Trump. But who would win this match-up? Both candidates appeal to similar groups of people on opposite sides of the political scale. This match-up is as difficult to predict as the Clinton-Trump match-up. Assuming no third-party candidates would enter the race at this point (especially Michael Bloomberg), both candidates would be competing for moderate voters who are out of their general appeal. In this case, I would give a minor—very minor—advantage to Trump, who would be able to run defaming anti-socialism and anti-communism campaigns against Sanders, regardless of their relevancy. Despite Sanders’ relatively moderate socialist position, the word “socialism” alone would be very difficult for some Americans to digest—even Democrats. A tiny percentage of voters may “choose the lesser of two evils” and, simply because of rhetoric, reluctantly vote for Trump.

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