Last night saw the last Republican presidential debate of 2015 and this Saturday will see the last Democratic debate of the year. Americans will be going to vote for their next president in November 2016 and as it is getting closer to the election, I thought I would write my prediction of what will happen next year with the election. Of course, I could be (and probably will be) completely wrong in my predictions, but from the current situation I have made a narrative of what I expect will happen in 2016.
Let’s start with the Democrats, as they only have three candidates running. Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. There is no way she will not end up being the nominee. Bernie Sanders, whilst particularly popular with the online echo chamber, will not gain the momentum to beat Clinton who has been destined for the presidency since entering politics. Martin O’Malley, who is polling at around 4% right now, has no chance of winning the nomination, as much as I like his centrist policies and presidential demeanour. Clinton will annihilate Sanders and O’Malley in the primaries, and that’s if O’Malley even makes it to Iowa. I predict O’Malley will drop out soon as there have been rumours for weeks now that his campaign is slowly running out of funding. When Clinton inevitably becomes the Democratic nominee, I can see her potentially choosing O’Malley as her running mate. He has been very respectful to her in the previous two debates and many have questioned whether he is running for president just to become Clinton’s vice-president. Two other potential running mates for Clinton are Julian Castro, who would help secure the all-important Latino vote, or Tim Kaine, a name often passed around by politicos when discussing Clinton’s likely vice-president. Most likely though, I can see the Democrats choosing Clinton as their nominee and her running mate being either O’Malley, Castro or Kaine, in order of likelihood.
As for the crowded Republican field; Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum will not make it to Iowa, especially those who took part in this week’s undercard Republican debate. They either have little name recognition or are seen as too hardline, or conversely, too weak. Jeb Bush may also be a casualty before Iowa, but his performance at the presidential debate this week was more impressive than before; I am hoping he can turn his campaign around. This would leave the Republican field open to five candidates: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump. Cruz will win in Iowa, closely followed by Trump who will slowly lose momentum as the election season goes on. Unless the U.S. suffer another terrorist attack the scale of 9/11, Trump will not be the Republican candidate. I think it will be between Cruz and Rubio, with the winner of the two likely being the latter, an Establishment favourite. For his running mate, Rubio could potentially go for Bush, though residency rules for presidential candidates would mean he would have to declare residency in another state like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did. Bush would balance the ticket; contrasting young Rubio’s Hispanic working-class roots with his experience and WASP upbringing. Another potential running mate for Rubio could be Kasich, a moderate Republican from Ohio. He would also offer the same balance as Bush.
I predict the election will be fought between Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio. Scandal-ridden Clinton will be an easy target for the GOP’s attacks and her poor foreign policy record will be open to scrutiny. Rubio is a great debater and his comparatively lack of scandals will see him survive against Democrats’ attacks. Providing Donald Trump does not run as an independent and split the Republican vote, Rubio should win the election. However, Trump will inevitably run as an independent if he is not picked as the GOP candidate, so those who share his disdain for Washington insiders will not vote for the Establishment candidate Rubio. The 2016 presidential election will be decided by Donald Trump of all people. If he runs as an independent he will hand victory to the Democrats, however, if he admits defeat, something he rarely does, Rubio will be the next president.