The race for the White House in 2016 has gained new fervor with the recent announcement of two additional presidential candidates: Republican Senator Marco Rubio from Florida and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Clinton joins the race with two valuable advantages – the most political experience and public visibility. However, as demonstrated by the 2008 presidential election, a longer tenure will not necessarily secure an election from American voters.
A more holistic evaluation of each candidate’s impact, strategy and target demographic must be taken into account when characterizing the current outlook for next November.
Based on her first campaign steps, Clinton seems very much aware of the constituencies that require her attention. Her candidacy announcement video was a direct appeal to middle class Americans, and her heavy use of social media, including the recent creation of her Facebook account, shows an effort to increase the interest of young millennials in her campaign.
Clinton’s outreach to young people through social media is a savvy approach, as the youth vote has historically played a large part in presidential elections.
According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, nearly a fifth of the electorate in 2012 was comprised by voters ages 18-29 years old. College students and young professionals could have a large influence on the election outcome and it has never been more crucial to stay informed and knowledgeable.
At the same time, Clinton’s colossal presence at this stage of the race will make it incredibly difficult for other Democratic candidates to enter the ring with a sufficient base of support. Many voters will be drawn to the most established name and any Democratic candidates who declare their bid at this point will likely fall under Clinton’s lengthy shadow.
For Republicans, on the other hand, plurality rather than singularity poses a problem. The declared candidates, Rubio, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, are each prominent figures with their own loyal supporters.
Even without considering additional candidates like Jeb Bush, these three contenders will have to scrimmage over a limited slice of the electoral pie.
Considering our current system of popular presidential primaries, a divided voter base could be extremely detrimental for the final Republican nominee. Mudslinging within the party could definitively split the Republican vote when it most needs to be united.
It is still extremely early to make any definitive predictions, and the long stretch between today and Election Day is still ripe with opportunity for campaign surprises.
Right now, the biggest task for candidates is to spark enough support to maintain momentum for these next 19 months.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.