The circus election
The 2016 Presidential race is anything but orthodox
By Alyssa Grevenkamp
“It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before!” might be a popular circus mantra but it could also be a summation of the 2016 presidential race.
In the Republican race this year candidates included a governor, senators, a brain surgeon, and an entrepreneur turned TV reality star. It’s a diverse collection, but this isn’t the first time a candidate with a star-studded background has made it through a presidential campaign.
Ronald Reagan was a movie star before getting into politics. However, he had some political background serving as the governor of California from 1967 to 1975 before jumping into a presidential election in 1980.
This election, there were at least three candidates with no prior political background in Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump. Carson and Trump have had the most success out of the three, but the question remains can someone with no prior political background be president of the United States?
“I believe anything is possible,” said University of Findlay senior education major Megan Turner. “I would feel more comfortable with someone who had prior political background, but I also think the American people are fed up with people with political backgrounds and that’s why you see so many non-politicians in the race.”
This election year is a little unorthodox than other years for both parties.
“It’s been an interesting election season. I would describe the Republican side of the election as ‘non-conventional,’” said Robert Postic, political science professor at UF. “I find the Democratic nomination process so far to be curious but ultimately unsurprising. I don’t know that there is anyone who believes that Hillary, absent something major happening, will not get the nomination.”
Some UF students feel this election is more about popularity than it is about politics.
“I believe many candidates are a joke and are not taking the election very seriously. It seems like they are running for a celebrity show and trying to see who’s more popular,” said Turner.
Senior SGA president Nick Thompson agrees.
“It’s like a celebrity race. There’s a bunch of people this year with huge egos and they are trying to say whatever they can to persuade their audience.”
Some people wonder if these candidates are legitimate.
“In my opinion, Trump and Clinton are going to be tough to beat,” said Thompson. “I don’t think anyone really thought Trump would have a shot, but he’s been leading the polls for quite a while and I don’t know if there’s anything that’s going to take him down at this point. On the other side, this is Clinton’s race to lose.”
Even though this presidential race is unlike other elections, there are still candidates out there with a chance to be electable.
“All the candidates are legitimate,” said Dr. Postic. “The question the party and the party faithful really concern themselves with is whether or not the party’s candidate is electable. At this point, the only candidate I do not see being electable is Bernie Sanders.”
Sanders has given Clinton a run for her money over the past few months, but Postic says it’s not enough. He points to elections of 1972, 1984, and 1988. The democratic party all had candidates who were extremely liberal running against a conservative.
In 1972, Nixon won 49 states to 1 by McGovern. In 1984, Reagan won 49 states to 1 by Mondale. In 1988, Bush won 40 states to 10 by Dukakis.
“Intuitively, I think Sanders is to the left of McGovern, Mondale, and Dukakis,” said Dr. Postic.
It will be interesting to see where both parties go in the next few months before the nomination process this summer.
Even though this election is uncharacteristic of what we would call a normal election, some are hopeful that this election will bring what’s best for our country.
“I see benefit in both parties leading. What I do know is progress can come with either party. It makes me hopeful that whoever is elected will be able to do well for our country,” said Thompson.