Election 2016: Weekly Rundown

Audrey Bowler ‘16 – EI Campus Communications Team

As the modern world of politics and government evolves, campaigning has become a permanent fixture in social and political culture. As potential candidates prepare for the 2016 presidential election, here’s what made headlines this week:

5.) Hillary’s Busy April

While Hillary Clinton may not have officially kicked off her presidential campaign yet, her plans for after the announcement are becoming more clear.

The location and time of her expected announcement are still shrouded in mystery, sources involved in the campaign planning process reveal that Clinton will immediately tour several states, including Iowa, with the intention of interacting with voters in more casual settings. According to members of her team, the goal of this early tour will be to make Clinton seem more down-to-earth as she courts voters in swing states.

“They know that they need to reintroduce Hillary to America,” said one Democratic insider on Clinton’s game plan. “This is not a continuation of the Hillary we knew as secretary of state. That’s the focus of their energy.”

Staffers say that the Clinton kickoff announcement will probably be made during the beginning of April. The venue of her first event is still unclear, however, most Democrats agree that New Hampshire or Iowa are likely locations.

 4.) GOP Targets NH

When GOP voters from New Hampshire think of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the words “family,” “legacy,” and dynasty” are the first words they think of.  According to a recent survey conducted by Suffolk University, Republican primary voters associate terms related to his family history with the potential presidential candidate.  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, on the other hand, did not draw as strong of a reaction. Most surveyed said they did not know enough about Walker to answer, or chose not to respond altogether. The only significant term to be related to the Gov. was “anti-union/right to work;” a reflection of Walker’s views on labor issues in Wisconsin.

According to the poll, opinions on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remain mixed. 39 percent of those polled view Christie unfavorably, while 38 see him as a favorable GOP candidate.  New Hampshire, an important swing state, will host a two-day event this month during which six potential Republican candidates will speak.

 3.) O’Malley’s Clinton Comments

During Sunday’s episode of ABC’s “This Week” former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley offered harsh criticism of Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.

“Let’s be honest here,” O’Malley said. “The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.”

The Democrat’s comments that the country needs a “new perspective” and “new leadership” in 2016 have spurred speculation that he will challenge Clinton for the party’s presidential nomination.  O’Malley has said that he has not decided whether or not to run, however, his pointed comments targeting Clinton have been the most direct of any of her potential challengers.  While many may see Clinton as being the darling of the Democratic Party, O’Malley disagrees.  “History is full of times when the inevitable frontrunner is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable,” O’Malley said.

 2.) Cruz Makes First Announcement

Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz became the first Republican candidate for president to declare that he would run in 2016.  In an auditorium filled with thousands of cheering students at Liberty University in Virginia, Cruz spoke about his family, his faith, and the “promise of America” as he explained why he intends to run.

“God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn’t done with America yet,” Cruz said. “I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to re-ignite the promise of America.”  “Today, I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States,” the senator added. “It is a time for truth, it is a time for liberty, it is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.”

Cruz, a freshman senator, catered his speech to the most conservative wing of the Republican party, calling for a president who would repeal the Affordable Care Act, abolish the Internal Revenue Service, “defend the sanctity of human life and uphold the sacrament of marriage.”

“The power of the American people when we rise up and stand for liberty knows no bounds,” Cruz said.

1.) GOP Field Faces Indiana Controversy

Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson all rushed to defend Indiana’s new and controversial “religious freedom” law this week, siding with social conservatives on legislation that many say could result in discrimination against the LGBTQ community.  The likely contenders for the Republican nomination openly supported the law on Monday after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence struggled to defend the measure on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Gov. Pence has done the right thing,” Bush, the former Florida governor, told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday evening.

“This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs — to be able to be people of conscience,” Jeb Bush said. “I think once the facts are established, people aren’t going to see this as discriminatory at all.”

“Nobody is saying that it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or at a hotel because of their sexual orientation. I think that’s a consensus view in America,” Rubio said on Fox News Monday. “The flip side is, should a photographer be punished for refusing to do a wedding that their faith teaches them is not one that is valid in the eyes of God?”

Jindal, the current Gov. of Louisiana, told Breitbart News in an email Monday that he, too, supports Indiana’s law.

“I support the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act because I support religious liberty as granted to us in our Constitution,” said Jindal.

The Indiana law, passed last week, prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.