16 months and counting…

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To some, it may seem as though we just went through election season. But only days after votes had been counted, the political world was already buzzing about the next presidential race in 2016. Although it may seem far off, campaigns are already up and running for many candidates.

This election might be more important than ever.  President Obama will soon complete his second term, leaving the field wide open for any candidate. The country is at odds with each other on a number of hot button issues, such as race, gay marriage, reproductive rights, and healthcare. Where does the country go from here?

As millennials, we are part of the largest generation in our country’s history (including the baby boomer generation) according to RockTheVote.com.  OUR VOICES MATTER! I sincerely believe that young people have the power to shift the political balance in this country if everyone would get out and vote. And to prepare you for next November, I’ve put together a short list of candidates that have thrown their hat into the ring for 2016, as of July 6st.

Democrats:

Hillary Clinton

Martin O’Malley

Bernie Sanders

Lincoln Chafee

Jim Webb

Republicans (this list is a bit more crowded):

Jeb Bush

Ted Cruz

Rand Paul

Marco Rubio

Ben Carson

Carly Fiorina

Mike Huckabee

Rick Santorum

George Pataki

Lindsey Graham

Rick Perry

Donald Trump

Bobby Jindal

Chris Christie

So here’s what you need to know about them:

HILLARY CLINTON: Former First Lady, former senator from New York, former Secretary of State. The most anticipated candidate so far, but her time in these previous roles may come back to haunt her – such as the State Department email scandal.

MARTIN O’MALLEY: Former governor of Maryland. A fairly young (51) and progressive candidate, he is considered to be the most liberal.  He’s enacted widespread progressive change in Maryland such as tough gun control and in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants.

BERNIE SANDERS: Current U.S. Senator from Vermont. He was elected to this seat as an Independent, but is running under the Democratic ticket. Seen as the more populist candidate, he is working on being a representative of the people, and helping the middle and lower classes.

LINCOLN CHAFEE: Former governor of Rhode Island, and former Republican senator, who seems to have flipped parties after being very vocal about his opposition to the war in Iraq.

JIM WEBB: Former senator from Virginia, former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan. He is considered the most conservative option of the Democratic candidates. Opposed the war in Iraq, but also opposed letting women serve in combat.

 

JEB BUSH:  Former governor of Florida, and yes, brother of George W. and son of George. Reports came out this week after releasing 33 years of tax returns, his net worth is nearly $22 million. Breaks with his brother on promoting democracy abroad. Current leader in the polls.

TED CRUZ: Current U.S. Senator from Texas. Cruz rose to fame after a 21-hour long filibuster in September 2013 against President Obama’s healthcare reform.

RAND PAUL: Current U.S. Senator from Kentucky. He’s the son of Ron Paul, vocal libertarian and previous presidential candidate. Recently forced the expiration of the Patriot Act, part of the NSA’s ability to collect phone data. He is very much in favor of a “hands-off” government.

MARCO RUBIO: Current U.S. Senator from Florida and Cuban-American. He has made sure to be very vocal about his opposition of the Obama administration to rebuild diplomatic relations with Cuba.

BEN CARSON: Retired neurosurgeon. He has run for president before but hasn’t passed the primary stage. Went on record this week in Iowa saying he “doesn’t really want to do this,” but his faith in God told him to run.

CARLY FIORINA: Former tech executive. Is attempting to re-claim the concept of feminism and is very interested in dialing back big government & spending. Has almost no experience in Washington thus far. Currently under fire for layoffs during her time as CEO at Hewlett-Packard.

MIKE HUCKABEE: Former governor of Arkansas.

RICK SANTORUM: Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and previous presidential candidate. He, along with Mitt Romney, was a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican nomination.

GEORGE PATAKI: Former governor of New York.

LINDSEY GRAHAM: Current senator from South Carolina. Friends with Hillary on a personal level, but doesn’t think she’d be a good POTUS.

RICK PERRY: Former governor of Texas. Also ran in 2012. Rumor has it that George W. is not a fan of his successor, and the feeling is mutual between the two.

DONALD TRUMP: Do you honestly need me to tell you who this guy is? Strap on your seatbelts, because election season with Trump will be a wild ride, especially with his recent comments against Mexican immigrants.

BOBBY JINDAL: Current governor of Louisiana. Attempted a run in 2012, and currently using the campaign slogan “Tan. Rested. Ready.” Is the son of Indian immigrants and an evangelical Catholic.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Current governor of New Jersey. First made national headlines when he developed a working relationship with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy badly hit the Jersey coast.

And that’s all for now, folks! More candidates may pop up or fade away, but these candidates have until the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries in January to convince the American people that they are solid presidential material. In the meantime, isidewith.com is a great place to start to find out who your beliefs align with!

(Above photo my own, December 2013)

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