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Presidential profiles of the candidates for the 2016 election

By Karlton Tate

As the Nov. 8 date for the 2016 presidential election advances, the various election campaigns have geared up for the long haul. Currently, there are 15 Republicans and four Democratic candidates running for the prestigious title of President of the United States. Thus far, two Republicans, Rick Perry and Scott Walker, and two Democratic candidates, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, have dropped from the race.

Presently, businessman Donald J. Trump and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson lead in the polls among Republican candidates, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders lead in the polls among Democratic candidates.

Republican candidate Ben Carson speaks as candidate Donald Trump looks on during the second Republican primary debate
Candidate Ben Carson speaks as candidate Donald Trump looks on during the second Republican primary debate.

This past summer, the nation watched as outspoken billionaire Trump clambered to the top of Republican polls. The politically inexperienced candidate has made considerable waves within the Republican Party, seemingly stealing the limelight from presidential hopeful and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is currently polling fifth among Republicans. The “summer of Trump” has been recognized by the Bush campaign, and Bush has attempted to rectify polling uncertainties during the three Republican primary debates so far. Trump has also garnered media attention with his bold stances on immigration policy, promises of a fortified wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and the promise of deportation for thousands of illegal immigrants.

Shifting left on the political spectrum, the Democratic primary race has also seen a unique candidate rise to center stage with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. A self-described Democratic Socialist, Sanders has aimed his platform towards addressing the unequal distribution of wealth in America, the cost of higher education, and environmental protection. Sanders has gained a reputation for his rejection of the current campaign financing methods employed by most candidates, and refuses donations from Super-PACS and large corporations.

Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton take part in the first Democratic primary debate
Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton take part in the first Democratic primary debate.

For the Democrats, Vice President Joe Biden has been one of the largest players of the 2016 election thus far, without ever officially declaring his candidacy for president. Leaders in the Democratic party feared that Biden entering the race would invite a voting schism within the Democratic Party, and on Oct. 21, Biden announced that he would not run for president. The decision was greeted with both disappointment from many Democratic voters and praise from party leaders for his political restraint. However, Biden promised that he would not be silent, and plans to influence the direction of the Democratic party in the future.

East junior Sam Pritchard spoke with the ECHO about his views on the presidential election thus far.

Pritchard said he would have liked to see Biden get in the race.“[He] has the right ideas when it comes to how politics should work. Politics should not be a game of absolutes and disruption if you don’t get what you want. Politics should be a game of compromises made with the other side” said Pritchard.

As for the Republicans, when Pritchard was asked why he believed Trump is so popular presently, he cited “anger at Washington, charisma, and a weak field.” Pritchard also referenced the fact that Trump is not a career politician, saying “[Republicans] think that if he is elected he will put an end to the status quo.”

When asked what a candidate should do to win his vote next November, Pritchard said “they would have to show they are willing to compromise, cut spending, and not view the opposing party as an enemy.”

  Nonetheless, the race to become president in 2016 is far from over, and voters should expect adjustments to the candidates’ stances and policies further down the road.

Photos courtesy of japantimes.co and slate.com

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