Presidential race too historic to ignore

Bradley Honigberg, Contributing Reporter

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

The summer of 2016 is quickly approaching. Our minds will likely be preoccupied by one issue: who is going to be America’s next president. The simplicity of the United States’ two-party system is often taken for granted. Even more, this year it is easy to envy the voters of the 2008 and 2012 elections. For many of us, this will be the first time we cast a ballot and exercise our constitutional right to vote. But this year’s bizarre presidential campaign will likely transform the face of American politics.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s clear path to the White House was disrupted by a junior senator from Illinois by the name of Barack Obama in 2008. Since then, Clinton’s presidential aspirations have been an expectation. Clinton’s fiscal agenda is moderate, like her husband’s, and her foreign policy would be significantly less passive than President Obama’s has been. Clinton would be America’s first female president; a symbolic event that would hopefully open doors for other female politicians in Washington. 

While Clinton has the support of Democrats in Congress, Bernie Sanders has also garnered the attention of millions of Americans. A long-standing senator from Vermont, Sanders has created a progressive grassroots movement across America. Sanders’ fights for civil rights and economic equality have turned him into a populist hero.

Clinton has won more states and enjoys the endorsements of many Democrats in the House and the Senate. But even if Sanders loses, his movement will continue. His success as a candidate has exposed the growing fissures between Washington and corporations. In another primary season, Clinton would have been chosen to be the Democrat’s nominee, but I don’t see the Sanders campaign slowing down anytime soon.

When Donald Trump announced his campaign in August, many would not have expected the current scenario. Trump’s popularity has been fueled by a changing geopolitical landscape dominated by a fear of terrorism. Trump has outlined very few concrete ideas, but his most consistent opinion has been a strict anti-immigration agenda. Trump’s anti-intellectual attitude is drawing a once-silent majority to the polls and his celebrity persona has hypnotized audiences around the world.

For many reasons, a Trump presidency is hard to fathom. Never has a presidential candidate behaved so inappropriately and isolated so many potential voters through hateful rhetoric. The alternative is Ted Cruz. A junior senator from Texas, Cruz has made it to a one-on-one showdown with Trump (bearing in mind John Kasich’s low delegate count). Trump has the most delegates thus far, though Cruz has found growing success since Marco Rubio dropped out of the race. A crusader of the Tea Party who follows the Constitution and the Bible in all his decisions, Cruz is also detested by Republicans in the Senate.

The options for president this election season are some of the most unique America has ever seen. While presidential candidates were once all white, Christian men, now the competitors are a white woman, a Jewish man, a Hispanic man and a businessman with no experience in politics. Whoever wins, it will be a historic occasion. It will result in a new era for American politics, opening up the old boys’ club of American politics to a wider pool of participants.