One year away from the 2016 presidential primaries, it appears as if the nation will be forced yet again to choose between a Bush and a Clinton. Jeb Bush was the most popular Republican candidate in a recent poll conducted by Purple Insights and published by Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire. The poll examines how a group of primary voters in New Hampshire are expected to vote next year. The survey posed the following question: “If the 2016 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary were held today and these were the candidates, for whom would you vote? Who would your second choice be?”
As the graph above shows, Jeb Bush received 16% of the vote, narrowly defeating other popular candidates like Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Chris Christie. 14% of respondents were not sure about their decision, but that still means that Jeb Bush is the essentially the leading GOP presidential candidate for 2016. That’s a horrifying statistic. American voters are apparently willing to elect a third member of the Bush family to the nation’s highest executive office, even though the last one left office with the lowest final approval rating ever at 22%. Americans may regard countries like North Korea with disgust for being run by elite families, yet voters willingly perpetuate our own form of oligarchy through the guise of the democratic process.
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That tendency of favoring familiar names is also reflected on the other end of the political spectrum. According to the same Bloomberg poll, Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly leads the New Hampshire primary with 56% of the vote. Another recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that Clinton is the choice of more than 50% of Democratic voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, all crucial swing states. Quinnipiac Poll Assistant Director Peter A. Brown summed it up best: “Hillary Clinton has an overwhelming lead and currently has no serious challengers. Should she decide not to run, the field could grow like a weed. If she stays in, the numbers indicate she has nothing to worry about when it comes to the Democratic nomination.”
Bush has slightly more to worry about when it comes to the GOP nomination. Although he’s a slight frontrunner at the moment, there are a few major flaws with the results of the Bloomberg poll. Only 400 Republican primary voters were surveyed, a number that might not have much statistical significance when it comes to the overall nomination. On the Democratic side, Sen. Elizabeth Warren received the second-most amount of votes despite repeatedly insisting she will not be running in 2016. That just gives Clinton more confidence. There is also a full year before the actual primary, and anything and everything could change in that time.
The fact that a Bush vs. Clinton election is currently the most likely scenario underscores everything that’s terrible about the elitist, oligarchical state of modern American politics. We went through this already in 1992. The past few decades have been dominated by those two last names, with Clinton’s influence even characterizing much of Obama’s early presidency.
While Obama revitalized the Democratic Party in 2008 with promises of hope and change, his 47% approval rating suggests he failed to change the status quo that had been established by his predecessors: Bush, Clinton, and Bush. Making another Clinton or another Bush next in line hardly seems logical, but it represents the safest bet by both parties. Hillary Clinton is the safest bet for Democratic traditionalists. Her first name is associated with a lengthy, successful political career. Her last name is associated with a former president that’s still respected by Democratic voters, representative of her first-hand experience in the White House. Voters know Bill would make for an influential first First Man. Bush, too, is a safe bet for the GOP.
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If you construe their political experience and network of supporters in a positive manner, both Bush and Clinton are more than capable of leading the nation. They are amongst Washington’s elite, and they know best how the government works. After decades of American politics under their influence, however, it’s time again for voters to call for true change. Whether that change comes in the form of the socialist Bernie Sanders, the libertarian-leaning Rand Paul, or any other number of less-likely options is up to the voting population, but the fact that Bush vs. Clinton is even being discussed means that any hope for true change is incredibly slim this time around.
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