On August 6, Fox News aired what will be the first of twelve Republican Debates. The top ten polling candidates argued back and forth for over two hours in front of twenty-four million American viewers; these twenty-four million did not include Redlands East Valley teacher Ed Stark. Mr. Stark, a history teacher, tennis coach, and residential Republican of East Valley was somewhat mystified by the candidates on the debate stage. In regards to the field of candidates, Mr. Stark said “I’ve never studied or been part of an election that was such a mess on both sides. There’s no unification at all.”
As of now, seventeen Republicans have confirmed their presidential bid, a shocking number compared to seven candidates of the 2012 Republican field. This is one of the factors that is splitting the party. Before anyone had even confirmed a campaign, the two candidates expected to be the front runners for the Republican nomination were former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
These two were at the top of the polls initially, but this changed. After his announcement, businessman Donald Trump leaped to the top of the polls, creating chaos for all of the Republican candidates, as well as constituents. After the first debate, Bush and Walker both plummeted in polls, as neurosurgeon Ben Carson and CEO Carly Fiorina both surged up. The fact that there are so many candidates from so many different backgrounds in the race is creating a problem as well. The moderate conservatives such as Bush, Kasich, and Rubio are being challenged by the more traditional and more radical conservatives like Walker, Huckabee, Christie, but neither moderate nor traditional conservatives can rival the ideology of Trump, who seems to derive his ideas from all sides of all aisles. The messy concoction of policies, money, and hair that is Donald Trump seems to have wooed a majority of the Republican voters, even though Trump and all of the other candidates have yet to hit even thirty points in any poll. All of this leads to the GOP not having a clear nominee.
On the other side of the political spectrum, the Democrats seem to have found their clear nominee, former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. But the Democrats are also being divided, though not as grievously as the Republicans. When Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders declared his bid against Clinton, it seemed he was merely making a statement. Clearly, this assumption was false. Sanders has made it perfectly clear that he is not making a long-shot bid, and that he is going for the nomination, and, subsequently, the oval office. Sanders appeals to the far left of the Democratic Party, and is finding a large amount of support there. Since his announcement in May, Sanders has been getting closer to Clinton in the polls, and a recent New Hampshire poll has even placed him above Clinton.
But these two are not alone in the struggle for the Democratic nomination. Recently there have been a multitude of rumors circulating around another potential candidate: Vice President Joe Biden. This could result in another disturbance of the Democratic polls. In the past few weeks, Biden has seemed closer than ever for confirming his attempt for the nomination. If Vice President Biden were to run, it would significantly change the party nominations. In general, Vice President Biden shares many of the same centrist views that Clinton does; a Biden announcement would be sure to detract numbers from Clinton. If a portion of Clinton’s supporters defected to Biden as their choice for nominee, this would result in Clinton, Sanders, and Biden to all be at a roughly even playing field in regards to polling.
Although this phase of political divide is only plaguing the parties temporarily, it still goes to demonstrate the increasing tensions in both Democratic and Republican parties. The further this political divide gets, the more we see our country leaning towards a multi-party system that is seen in many other governments around the world; and some may argue that this is for the better.