Presidential Candidates

America’s presidential hopefuls are gearing up for campaign season and the 2016 run for president. So far, the the confirmed candidates for the 2016 Republican party nomination are Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, while Hillary Clinton remains the only confirmed Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination.  

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced via video, “I’m running for president.” Mrs. Clinton continued, “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck in still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.” Other potential candidates for the democratic nomination include former governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee and former U.S. Senator Jim Webb from Virginia, both of whom have formed exploratory committees, and the former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley.

The Republican contenders for the party nomination so far are US Senator Ted Cruz, who posted on Twitter, “I’m running for president and I hope to earn your support,” and US Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Former governor of Florida Jeb Bush and the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Ben Carson, have also formed exploratory committees.

As America’s first African-American president, Obama has been a symbol of success for American minorities, and now the possibility of Clinton winning party candidacy and being the first woman to enter the presidential race is signaling a huge achievement for American women. Clinton lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, but this time she seems to be at the forefront of an almost uncontested bid for the party’s nomination. According to a poll taken  in February by CBS News, 81% of Democrats would consider voting for her, with only 12% saying they would not. With the largest campaign of any candidate so far, one of Clinton’s main tasks will overcoming criticism and reassuring voters about her questionable emailing habits as Secretary of State.

February’s CBS News poll revealed Rubio to be the leading confirmed Republican candidate, with 37% saying they would consider voting for him and 43% needing more information. Rubio’s competition, Rand Paul, won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll for the third year in the row, with 25.7% of votes.

As party candidates begin to emerge, many Covenant students look forward to 2016 as the first year that they participate in a presidential election. Sophomore Josiah Hamernick says that being at Covenant has solidified his commitment to voting and making his voice heard on the issues he deems most important. “After several economics courses I have learned to view economic policies in a real way,” he said, adding, “Through several Community Development courses my desire for justice for the poor and the marginalized has been solidified.”

According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, only 21.5% of young people aged 18-29 voted in the 2014 midterm elections. In general, out of those who did vote, young people showed a slight preference for Democratic Congressional candidates over Republican candidates (55% to 42%). Covenant sophomore Austin Cantrell was involved with his town’s election for City Commission, which confirmed to him the importance of voting.  “As young adults, voting is one of the few things we can do and be equal in power to older, wealthier people,” Cantrell said. “By not taking the time to simply keep up with current debates and do personal research and then voting, many people our age discard one of their most valuable means of effecting change in this country and in this world.”