By Greta Hallberg, For The Miami Student
Fox Business News hosted the Republican challengers for a debate among the potential presidential nominees on Tuesday. While the debate was more focused on policy questions than previous debates, there was no shortage of the typical mudslinging we've seen with Trump's presence on the stage.
However, the pointed attacks were less on each other and more directed at Hillary Clinton. You know, the former Secretary of State, Senator from New York, First Lady and Democrat who is vying for the nomination from the left?
She has not been selected as the Democratic challenger for president. Yet. Come the Democratic National Convention in July, she'll probably be the nominee. At this point, there are only three contenders left in the game for the Democrats - Senator Bernie Sanders and former Governor Martin O'Malley. Three of the six possible candidates have already dropped out of the race. The field is unbelievably small, and frankly, there's no real competition. Her real competitors, Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren, decided not to make a run for the presidency this year.
Sanders, the self-described Democratic-Socialist, is leading in the New Hampshire polls. He's ranked second overall, losing to Hillary Clinton by anywhere from a 15 to 30-point margin, depending on which data you look at.
He's running a solid campaign, especially considering he does not have a SuperPAC funding his efforts. He does not have the big money donors that the leading contenders on both sides have - the money he's raised is purely small donation amounts. He's doing this to promote campaign finance reform, a noble (and frankly, much needed!) cause.
While Sanders has seen surges in his popularity, he's ultimately not electable.
America has a capitalistic economy, but it is not pure capitalism. We have elements of socialism (i.e. government interference) in the form of antitrust laws, subsidies and other regulations of the economy. It's also obviously not pure socialism. We'll leave that to Scandinavia.
Either way, Americans are deeply fearful of anything that strays from democracy. While Sanders' views are not as dramatically different from the mainstream as they seem, his association with socialism is most likely going to cost him the nomination.
Martin O'Malley is barely hanging on in the polls, though he's still holding on for now. He has experience as the former governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore. His record is impressive and consistent with Democratic ideals. He would be a super solid moderate contender who won't polarize the public like the other two.
One problem: nobody knows who he is. Without the name recognition of Clinton or the radical ideas like Sanders, O'Malley doesn't have a real shot at gaining the attention of the media or the public.
Clinton made a run in 2008, but was upset by newcomer Obama. The Democrats were simply waiting until the end of his presidency to begin campaigning for Clinton. The Ready for Hillary SuperPAC was founded in January 2013. Yes, the same month Obama was inaugurated for his second term.
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Her term as Secretary of State, essentially a resume booster for her 2016 run, is laden with scandal that the public seems to overlook. Her private email server and Benghazi might ring a bell.
And yet, she is still the Democratic frontrunner. At this rate, it's only a matter of procedure until Hillary Clinton is the nominee. The candidacy practically fell into her lap.
On the Republican side, it's still anyone's game. At one point, there were 17 men and women trying to get on the ticket. Two have dropped out, three were excluded from the debates, but there are still 12 potentially viable Republican names we could see on the ticket. (Ok, fine, 10. If Carson or Trump actually gets the nomination, I'm moving to Canada.)
Neither party has a perfect candidate pool. Republicans are in a mess with Trump leading in New Hampshire and generally being an arrogant ass. But at this point, at least they aren't handing over a nomination without thoroughly vetting a candidate.
But, who knows, Bernie Sanders could surprise us.