As the 2016 presidential elections draw closer, Republican and Democratic leaders are throwing their bids into the primaries. So far this year, Republican Senators Ted Cruz (TX), Rand Paul (KY), and Marco Rubio (FL) have already declared their candidacies for the Republican primaries. Former governor of Florida Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie are expected to announce their candidacies soon.
While the Republican nominees are getting prepared to debate their many opponents, the Democratic Party only has one well known nominee, former New York Senator and former Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton. Being the only nominee so far might not be the best thing for Clinton.
“While she is a household name and might not have to go against a Democratic opponent for the Democratic nomination, she could still be taken down by the media or the Republican nominee. There’s also the fact that not many people want another Clinton in the White House,” said Jaime Christenson ’18, a student who identifies as a Republican. Christenson also pointed out that not many people want to have another Bush in the White House either.
Clinton is expected to have her campaign revolve around social issues, such as minimum wage, high cost of college tuition, same-sex marriage, and equal pay for men and women. These issues tend to be important issues to the younger voting generation, women, and minorities. Three groups that the Republican Party has had trouble appealing to in the past.
History shows that whenever an Equal Pay Act bill was voted on in congress or in a candidate’s respective state, all of the Republican candidates and expected Republican candidates have voted against equal pay. This could cost the Republican candidates the female population vote.
“Equal pay is important to me, however I think there are more important issues that have to be addressed first,” said Christenson. “Republicans right now are more concerned with going back to Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and keeping government small.”
For the Republican candidates, each have something that can hinder them and help them.
Rand Paul is seen as the most likely to be nominated for some, as his views are not typically seen as aggressive or extreme as some of his competitors.
“He’s the candidate who is most likely to go for legalizing marijuana. He’s not very big on same sex marriage but he does believe that it’s up to the states to decide. Something that younger voters might go for, because it’s not completely saying no to same sex marriage. He also believes that human activity is adding to climate change and that there should be rules about gas emissions,” said Shelby Batterson ’18, a student who identifies as a Democrat.
Paul is seen as more libertarian, and that could him help win some votes from voters who are on the fence. However, first he would have to go through the Republican primaries, where voters are not usually on the fence and know exactly what they want from a nominee.
Ted Cruz, infamous for his IRS remark, might have a harder time winning the presidential election, that is if he is nominated. While his stance on education and the second amendment might help him with some voters, his stances on health care, gun control, and the death penalty might isolate others. Cruz, like most Republican leaders, wishes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare. The majority of voters approve of the ACA and believe it is a waste of congress’ time to bring up the issue over and over again. His stance on education is similar to Paul’s, believing it should be up to the states to decide on which standards should be taught in the classroom.
Marco Rubio will have the harder time appealing to women. He, like the other candidates, voted against an equal pay act, he also voted no on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women’s Act, an act that assists victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. He also will be alienating minority voters as he opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
It is not guaranteed that the Republican and Democrat candidates’ stands on some issues will alienate voters or attract voters. Until it is later in the primaries, who will become the Republican and Democratic nominees is still up in the air.