With just under two months until the Iowa Caucuses, the 2016 Presidential campaign has begun in earnest. Candidates are traveling across the nation to make speeches, while the Super PACs blitz the airwaves in early primary states.
Though the field vying for the Republican nomination has seen three major candidates drop out, it remains historically large. All three of the candidates to suspend their campaigns are sitting or former governors. In most years these candidates would be formidable presences, but with the sheer volume of candidates they have been forced to drop out.
During the primaries, one of the most valuable opportunities for candidates to gain ground in the polls in during debates. They allow candidates to accentuate minor policy differences and gain personal attention from the public in ways they are not ordinarily able to.
However, some of the debates in the election cycle have drawn criticism from people who believe they have not been well moderated. Because of the number of candidates, each one has tried to grab media attention. This has led to chaos during debates. This criticism has also been aimed at the media running the debate who are seen as unable to maintain control.
A new issue that has become important in the campaign is foreign policy towards the chaotic Syrian Civil War, and the migrants escaping from ISIS’ reign of terror within. Most Republican candidates have championed a policy of not allowing these migrant into the country for fear there may be radicalized terrorists in their number.
Recently, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s advocated for no longer allowing Muslims to enter the country and forcing Muslims to identify themselves in public. These ideas have been criticized by members of both parties as denying equality and full-rights to American citizens on account of their beliefs.
With regards to how to combat the Islamic State, Republican candidates are split on the specific details of their plans but have advocated a more aggressive military strategy than the Democratic candidates.
These Democratic candidates, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, support plans to allow more refugees from the brutal war into the nation. They have not supported the sending of ground troops to fight ISIS, likening the conflict to the Iraq War which stretched on for a decade as the United States attempted to build a nation.
The debate over the migrants strikes at the core of the anti-immigrant sentiment which Republicans such as Donald Trump have used to gain support. The refugees fleeing from Syria view America as a last hope for their safety, while domestic political issues are preventing them from coming.
Louie Goldsmith can be contacted at [email protected][