Namir Khaliq, News Editor
Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina – what do these three candidates all have in common? Yes, they are currently the three Republican front-runners, but there is something else that sets them apart from the rest of the field. That something else is that neither Trump, Carson, nor Fiorina has ever held a political office in his or her life, and that is no coincidence.
Distrust of government is at an all-time high, and voters are frustrated with having to choose from the same batch of candidates over and over again, thus the exotic choice has become the popular choice. This trend away from establishment candidates towards more unorthodox choices is exemplified by the background that each of the candidates originates from, ranging from the run-of-the-mill governors and senators to the unconventional surgeons and CEOs.
Donald Trump has taken the Republican Party, the media, and the country by storm. Everyone considered his campaign a joke at first, but after having held a solid lead in the polls for over six months, the other candidates now see him as a serious threat to the establishment. The real estate mogul has hosted his own reality TV show, but has never voted on any kind of legislation in his life, and his policy positions are vague at best.
Trump has been able to use the force of his controversial but honest language to cruise his way along in the polls, but sooner or later, he will have to straighten up and talk some serious policy. There is no doubt, however, that Trump has been a voice for many Americans who are tired of political correctness and have been searching for some excitement in the usual monotony of the political process.
Can this offbeat candidate really go all the way, or will he and his eccentric ways eventually fall prey to the Republican establishment? It is impossible to say right now.
Nine governors, five Senators, and one fortune 500 CEO are all trailing behind Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon from Detroit, in the latest national polls. Dr. Carson is by far the most lacking in executive experience amongst all presidential candidates, so why is he so popular with voters?
He’s compared Obamacare to slavery, mentioned homosexuality and bestiality in the same sentence, and said he would not advocate for a Muslim to be President. However, voters seem to have become less concerned with what the candidates have to say, and more concerned about how they are saying it.
Carson is polite, soft spoken, and amicable, and he doesn’t sound like a politician, which is exactly what many Americans are looking for. Can his campaign survive when the discussion turns from electability to accountability? Or more pressing, can his campaign survive the many confusing stances Carson has taken, such as claiming the Holocaust would not have happened if the Jews had been armed – something that has long since been discredited – or denigrating the horror of a recent school shooting by claiming he would have not let it happen, and instead would have attacked the gunman? Probably not, but it appears some people are still going to love him regardless.
Candidates on the far right side of the spectrum, such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee, are struggling to gain traction. Cruz and Huckabee are favorites among evangelicals, while Paul is the popular choice for libertarians, but these candidates are having trouble garnering votes from mainstream Republicans. Texas Governor Rick Perry and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have both been forced out of the crowded Republican field, while other conservative heavyweights such as Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Chris Christie are struggling to keep up. Florida Governor Jeb Bush has slipped three spots in the polls down to fifth as he grapples with his moderate voting record and the somewhat frowned upon legacies of his brother and father.
As the excitement of the campaign settles and we get closer to Election Day, voters will focus less on whom they like best and more on whom they can trust to lead the nation in an honest and respectable manner. Whether the anti-establishment candidates can answer the call is still up in the air, but let’s not rule anyone out just yet. Nobody thought Obama would be President at this point in his campaign, after all.