Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Radioactive: Presidential Kick Off

SEPTEMBER 1, 2015

It is an understatement to say that many members of the Democratic Party were disappointed when Hillary Clinton was posed with a critical health issue earlier this year and stated that she would decline running simply because she could not “carry out the office of president at the capacity America needed and deserved.” However, it is appearing that the primaries might still not be very competitive for the Democratic Party. Current Vice President Joe Biden announced his campaign for president a month ago today, with an emphasis on the continuation of the current Obama Administration policies under the guise of a much more urgent and passionate tone. Biden has perceived as very likable figure in Democratic circles, and he has a policy base that tends to appeal to moderates without losing liberal support. In fact, in a recent Gallup poll, nearly 75% of self-described strong liberals who stated that they are disappointed with the Obama presidency believed that Biden would perform better. However, there are still a significant amount of Democratic voters who are concerned that fatigue of the Obama administration and his near lame-duck status since 2014 will push centrist voters away who are disillusioned and looking for change to get the federal government working again.

Not all Democratic voters are fully aligned with Biden, however, and a few other elected officials have thrown their name in the ring in hopes of steering the Democratic Party in a new direction. Perhaps the most high profile announcement yet has been from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. She was appointed in 2009 to fill the vacancy left by then Senator Clinton's promotion to Secretary of State. Aligned more with the so called Blue Dogs in the House, she became much more of a progressive star in the Senate. In her announcement, she also emphasized a new vigor, but laid out a much more liberal platform with equality in terms of gender in regards to pay, sexual orientation, and transgender rights. She also made statements about reforming the military in regards to size, veteran's care, and chronic sexual assault, which has been one of her chief issues as senator. She is very popular among the strong liberals of the party and is positioned to be Biden's main challenger from the left. Alongside Senator Gillibrand are Senator Udall and Representative Simena, who both called for a remotivation of the party. Udall set a very populist and environmentalist position, while Sinema, who surprised the party with her announcement, set a very liberal tone and made herself an advocate for equality through her personal experience in being bisexual and irreligious. Below is the polling as it currently stands: Biden stands out on top, but his lead is not without strong challengers.

Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware - 46%
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York - 21%
Senator Mark Udall of Colorado - 14%
Representative Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona - 3%
Other/Undecided - 16%
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SEPTEMBER 13, 2015

This past week, the Egyptian people have yet again taken to the streets to protest their leadership. Thousands of Egyptians, most of whom were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, protested Sisi's recent policies that prevented the Brotherhood from publicly gathering as a measure to "protect Egypt from the dangers of extremism" with the recent incursions of ISIL to unite Sunni populations in Iraq and Syria that are even greater in intensity than the spike in 2014. Even though the protests began as a measure to prevent extremism, they quickly turned into a mass protest when Sisi deployed military forces to dissolve the protests after only the third day. The fourth day of protests saw secular protests join the Brotherhood ones against what Egyptians have began labeling an "autocratic dictator" due to his quick use of military to prevent protests.

In recent history, Egypt has been known to force its leaders out of office: Mubarak was ousted in 2011 during the Arab Spring, and then Morsi in 2013. The election that chose President Sisi was mired in controversy due to him winning an even greater percentage of the vote than President Assad of Syria, which held an election at the same period of time. President Sisi was popular for a time, being a very strong and secular leader, but his recent moves that forced groups like the Brotherhood to become weaker has earned him many enemies. Sisi has attempted to defend his decisions by pointing out that fundamentalist groups have slowly taken advantage of Syria and Iraq, countries wracked by sectarian violence, and he wanted to do something to send a message to stop these groups. Many leaders throughout the Middle East and the world have condemned his actions as promoting what he is trying to fight. President Obama has stated that the "constraints Sisi has placed on his people's liberties will only make the extremists more empowered." The situation in Egypt has quickly destabilized, and please remain tuned in to ANN to keep informed on the latest updates on yet another conflict that is plaguing the Middle East.
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SEPTEMBER 17, 2015

Today, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has finally put speculation to rest by declaring his presidential candidacy today. The junior senator has been a star of the Tea Party movement ever since he has been elected to office, and his presidential ambition has been endlessly speculated since he was recognized as a rising star. He made his announcement in Forth Worth, Texas, where he spoke on the idea that America’s moral capacity is degrading through an overexpansion of government, and that his mission as president would be to reassert America’s place in the world and ensure the government does not intrude on the lives of Americans. His announcement has shaken up polling significantly: Cruz holds 20% of the support, which puts him in the lead of the GOP field, albeit within the margin of error. He has been a controversial figure in the Republican Party as well as the country as a whole due to his strong conservatism and heavy anti-establishment rhetoric, but these qualities have gained him a fervent group of supporters to match.

The senator’s announcement largely rounds out the Republican field of candidates. Sitting just behind Cruz is Governor Kasich of Ohio, who represents the more moderate establishment wing of the GOP. Many people have been surprised by his quick rise to the top over household names like Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and Chris Christie, but many credit this to many GOP members outside of Ohio perceiving him as a level headed moderate with little political baggage. Senator Paul, in third place, stands to represent the libertarian wing of the GOP. Even though he has stated on numerous occasions that he stands more in line with the Tea Party than the libertarian ideas, he has more and more moved to fit that mold as the Tea Party took Cruz to be their flag bearer. Senator Ayotte and Governors Walker and Christie have all appealed to moderates by describing themselves as sensible choices that could actually win a general election whereas Governor Brownback has touted himself as the equivalent of Cruz with more experience. The Republican field of candidates is clearly more crowded than the Democratic, and much closer. Many political analysts expect the primary season to become a battle between the three major wings of the party.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas - 20%
Governor John Kasich of Ohio - 18%
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky - 14%
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire - 12%
Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas - 7%
Fmr. Governor Scott Walker - 6%
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey - 5%
Other/Undecided - 19%

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