Since coming back from Spring Break, a lot has happened in the political world. So far, four candidates have launched presidential campaigns, ready to fight for the crown of U.S. president. Let’s break down our contenders in order.
Our first presidential hopeful to announce was Ted Cruz, the valiant senator from Texas. Sen. Cruz went to Princeton for undergraduate study and then Harvard law. Before ascending to the Senate, Sen. Cruz was Texas state solicitor general and made several appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court on that states’ behalf. Ted Cruz is best-known for his ardent opposition to the Affordable Care Act and (almost) single-handedly shutting down the government in 2013. My personal favorite is his slogan, “A Proven Record.” What record? What bills has he sponsored? If nothing else, Ted Cruz has a proven record of being a thorn in the Senate’s side by playing the obstructionist. He doesn’t seem to want to compromise at all, instead advocating for the government shutdown over the ACA. I look forward to what Sen. Cruz will campaign on and what his talking points will be, because as of now they look scant.
After Sen. Cruz came Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky. Rand Paul is a self-described libertarian, even adopting the name of Ayn Rand to show his commitment to the ideology. Prior to the Senate, Sen. Paul worked as an eye doctor. Sen. Paul is best-known for carrying on his father’s legacy as the libertarian voice, promoting a third way for the American public to vote … kind of. In recent months, Sen. Paul has walked back on a lot of his libertarian comments from the past. Simply put, Paul has sold out. Rand, in order to become a serious contender, has lost his once ever-present and unique identity. One of the ways that Sen. Paul gained popularity was his opposition to the Patriot Act and the NSA data-mining programs. On a key bill, the NDAA, which permitted some of these evils, he voted yes. Prior to national fame, he was an isolationist, but as of late, Sen. Paul sees Iran as a “military threat.” He wanted to audit the Fed, but is now OK with just dismantling the “Washington Machine”— whatever that means.
The next hopeful to announce is a name that we all have come to know and expect, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Hillary is someone that needs no introduction since she has been around for ages The former first lady represented the great state of New York until 2006. We all know of her run for president in 2008 and subsequent service as secretary of state. Make no mistake: Hillary is the political juggernaut of the presidential race. Many believe she has learned from 2008 and has made a noticeable swing to the left as well as trying her hardest to appear personable to the average American.
Last, but not least, is the senator from Florida, Marco Rubio. He announced his candidacy on Monday, and he’s potentially a good candidate. Many compare Rubio to President Obama in that he has an inspiring story to tell and deeply held convictions, and he also is a young fresh face for the party. While just a one-term senator, he has been a part of some important legislation, notably immigration reform. While the reform bill did fail in the House, I think is something he should be proud of, as opposed to backing away from, as he has recently. Rubio’s main concern right now revolves around one of his friends and longtime supporters.
In the past couple of years, former U.S. Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) has been under investigation for funding a likely Democratic opponent’s primary challenger in an attempt to have an easier general election. Rivera reportedly was using an ex-girlfriend to funnel money to the primary contender. The girlfriend has since been arrested after having fled the country to Nicaragua, and she has testified in court about Rivera’s plot. Rivera has yet to be charged, and Rubio yet to distance himself from his longtime friend. So far, Rubio also has evaded another potential scar over questions about some money that went missing, which have been attributed to “clerical errors” that occurred during his time as Florida state Speaker of the House. These specters could come back to haunt Rubio during the primary season.
With 10 months to go until the Iowa Caucuses and even longer until the general election, we are in store for a barrage of drama, politicking and grandstanding. The Republican field, which always can be counted on for an over the top, entertaining candidate or two, is far from set. Even a few Democrats might step up to give Hillary a run for her money. All in all, we are in for a show.
Someone pass the popcorn.