The substance of political campaigns has been greatly modified. Bill Clinton declared his candidacy for the 1992 campaign in October of 1991. Politics today force presidential hopefuls to announce their intentions far earlier. Hillary Clinton is expected to make her announcement next month. Possibly a dozen GOP candidates are likely to do the same.
The two parties are different in a multitude of ways, none more than their decision regarding their party’s presidential nominee for 2016.
Clinton will likely have one or two challengers, but, unlike 2008, she is virtually unbeatable as the Democratic standard bearer.
Republicans have a situation which is exactly the opposite. Twelve to twenty possible candidates are expected to declare their intentions within the next few months. There is no clear front runner. Weekly polls are misleading. Where they are taken and the demographics of likely voters who respond to them produce results not indicative of the voting majority. In addition, divisions within the GOP are preventing a single candidate from receiving the majority of his or her party’s support.
Will Clinton’s lack of a viable challenger give her an advantage or become a liability between now and November 2016? It remains to be seen, but there is an advantage for the GOP in the situation. They know where their attack dogs will direct their efforts; and it has already begun.
Here in March of 2015 Clinton is leading all candidates of both parties in every poll. Will she continue to remain the front runner, or will one GOP candidate rise above the rest and find favor with conservative voters?
Only two possible Democratic challengers have been discussed. Vice-President Joe Biden is a possibility; Clinton has a 40 point lead over him in all polls. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is the favorite of liberal activists; she has repeatedly said that she will not run.
Clinton has again become the object of GOP bashing. When she was Secretary of State Clinton used a personal e-mail account to conduct the nation’s business. By rule, she was required to use an account assigned to the State Department. She subsequently agreed to release those e-mails to Congress.
The criticism directed at Ms. Clinton may be justified, but transparency has been a problem for GOP presidential hopefuls as well. Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Rick Perry all used personal e-mail accounts while in public office. Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Bernie Sanders, all likely candidates in 2016, play by different rules. The Freedom of Information Act only applies to the executive branch; there is no way of knowing what is contained in their e-mails.
Even former half-Governor Sarah Palin was admonished for using a personal e-mail account while in Alaska’s highest office.
GOP hopefuls will undoubtedly attack Clinton ruthlessly for the remaining 20 months. She claims that she has learned from 2008. If she has, she will focus on the issues while her opponents will likely avoid them and follow what has become the GOP tradition of constantly attacking opponents with lies and half-truths.
Clinton has already changed one aspect of her campaign from 2008. The United States was involved in two military conflicts when she launched her campaign. She attempted to dismiss the fact that she was a woman and spoke from a position of power and strength. In 2015 she is embracing her feminine self and is seeking the support of women by instituting women’s rights onto a priority position in her platform.
One thing is certain; political writers, such as myself, look forward to every upcoming month. We are given more fuel for our articles every week. By the end of summer, 2016, there won’t be enough time in the day to write about everything we learn.
By James Turnage