November 2015: Government Affairs

Words: Dan KamysNovember 2015

Presidential Politics: Is It Really This Crazy?

borg_1114By Stephen A. Borg

By now, I am sure you have watched a couple of presidential debates, seen numerous news reports on Hillary Clinton’s emails, and had an office pool on whether or not Vice President Joe Biden would or wouldn’t jump into the Presidential race. Or, maybe you learned some new insults from Donald Trump, been inspired by former business head Carly Fiorina, or lost count of how many Republican candidates are actually running for President. As someone who has been in the world of politics for almost two decades, I have found this presidential race to be one of the most interesting our country has ever witnessed.  According to the most recent polls as of the time of writing, over 50 percent of those polled on the Republican side support a candidate who has no political experience whatsoever, and frontrunners Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson have double the support of any other candidate in the rest of the field. On the Democratic side, we are seeing the opposite of the bloated Republican field, with only two announced candidates gaining any sort of traction up until now in Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As I write this, rumors are starting to fly around that Vice President Biden will indeed throw his hat in the ring, and his poll numbers are showing he would likely be an immediate frontrunner. As outsiders are currently running the roost on the Republican side, the Democratic race seems to be a race of the long-timers. Self-professed Socialist Bernie Sanders has been a Member of Congress since 1991, Hillary Clinton first came to Washington, D.C., in 1993 as the First Lady and has been firmly entrenched in the Democratic establishment ever since, and Vice President Joe Biden first ran for President almost 30 years ago in 1988. So, while on one side we have newcomers battling to see who can be tagged the biggest D.C. outsider on the Democrat side, we have three candidates (if the Vice President does indeed join the race) vying for who has the most D.C. experience to get the job done as President. With that said, I think it is fair to say that at this point in the race, if anyone thought a Socialist would be polling near even or above Hillary Clinton in some early and influential states, we would be amazed, and yet that is exactly what we are seeing.  So, while we have two completely different scenarios, we are seeing the extreme wings of both parties polling extremely strongly. These next couple of weeks and months will be incredibly interesting as we await fundraising reports, as Hillary Clinton makes her way to Capitol Hill to testify behind closed doors in front of the House Special Committee on Benghazi, and as we wait to see if the Vice President jumps into the race.  Add to this the fact that there continues to be loud chirping that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg might join the race as an independent, and we are in for quite a ride in 2016. Keep your eyes on the forthcoming debates. I fully expect that, as both fields begin to be whittled down, we will see much more details and talk on specific policies surrounding foreign affairs, U.S. tax structure, healthcare, immigration and spending; and the candidates could not be more diverse on these topics.
Stephen A. Borg is vice president of The Keelen Group, www.keelengroup.com.
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