What to know about the GOP presidential candidates for the Iowa caucus


February 1, 2016

“Man is by nature a political animal.” This is one of the most famous quotations coming out of the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s corner, regarding the differentiation between humans and other animals. What Aristotle is writing in this instance is that humanity has the ability to reason, lead, communicate to the masses, and many have the innate drive for power.

In America, humanity’s true political colors come out every four years in the form of the United States presidential election. The election is when 300 million people back just one person to lead a nation to so-called prosperity. One person will take the entire country to the promised land. Quite a bit rides on these elections.

The 2016 GOP primary race is no exception to this quadrennial craze. The Republican Party is hosting a copious amount of candidates this cycle from a multitude of social and economic backgrounds. From billionaires, to children of Cuban refugees, to a doctor who detached two children skin bound to  each other, to pro-establishment vs. anti-establishment, the Republican Party is not lacking in diversity this year. But what comes with this diversity, is a sort of “clash of cultures.” We will see who is truly winning the race come 6:30 p.m. tonight when the Iowa Caucus opens.

Donald Trump, the blonde Manhattan billionaire, is at the root of this clash, driving the fight to all the other candidates as never seen before. Trump has utilized the media in atypical ways, such as making outlandish comments just to suck up air time, or bowing out of debates due to “insensitivity” from the conservative news outlet Fox. The more blatant language Donald Trump spews out, the more his poll numbers go up. Trump has taken the anger that a large number of Americans have and channeled it in the form of simple, angry politics. He keeps his platform small, pronouncing to “Make America Great Again”, build not only a big wall but to build a “Great” wall, and get America wins. According to Real Clear Politics, Trump has a 16.2 percent lead over all other candidates.

Come 6:30 tonight in the Hawkeye State of Iowa, we will get our first taste of whether or not this large lead is real. When asked how he would describe Donald Trump in one word, Prep senior Dan Klebanski described the front runner as “different.” That is what Donald Trump has going for him right now. He brings a different outlook on the country and how to fix it. We will see if the Iowans like his unique methods later this evening.

The two men behind Donald Trump both are 44 years old and the children of Cuban immigrants. Both are great speakers, and both have jet black hair. The difference is, one comes from Texas and one comes Florida. Ted Cruz, of Texas, has taken the path of the ultra-conservative aiming to hop on the train of fury as Donald Trump is but in a more abstract and more calm way. This is not surprising for someone coming from a Bible Belt state such as Texas; he must represent the conservative furiosity that many Texans have. As a national Parlimentary Debate champion in college he has shown the capability to defend himself against Trump and other candidates. He uses vivacious rhetoric in all of his speeches, methodically attacking his opponents and promoting himself. Cruz attacks most Tea Partyers and more right winged conservatives.

The third place candidate, Marco Rubio, the Floridian, is the establishment choice. Rubio is the traditional presidential candidate. He talks about his upbringings, doesn’t always attack opponents, and has gone relatively along the path of a prototypical establishment candidate. He has remained in third place for a while, and Iowa will be important to him to gain some ground on Cruz and Trump. To many Republicans, Rubio has the best shot from the Republican Party of defeating Hillary Clinton, and he has made that clear to his audiences. He most definitely knows how to connect with the people, and his presence on the debate stage displays that. As the moderate candidate, Rubio will need to go more on the offensive, which is typically not needed, but in the 2016 election he has no other choice.

These three candidates have separated themselves from the pack. Candidates like Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, or Rand Paul likely just won’t be able to have the political stamina to keep up with the ever growing support of the top three candidates. Despite having a good debate Thursday and having the money to back him, Jeb Bush just won’t have enough of “it” to win the primary. Beginning after Iowa, more endorsements will begin to come in, and Super-PACs (Political Action Commitees) will supply vast quantities of money to the candidates enabling for the campaigns to grow in size. This evening will be a good indicator of where the candidates stand, and of who is the true frontrunner of the party. No matter who the candidate is, he or she will likely have the struggle of facing the monstrous political machine of Hillary Clinton (assuming she doesn’t get arrested) if she wins the Democratic nomination.

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