This article will be the first part of a number of articles that will monitor the road to the next US presidential elections.
With the next US elections being more than a year away the presidential campaigns have already started. It is no surprise that the current president of the United States, Barack Obama, will run for a second term. Even though there is another democrat who has announced he will run for president, pro-life activist Randall Terry, everyone knows that Barack Obama will be the final democratic candidate for the next US presidential elections.
For the republicans, on the other hand, the air is not that clear yet. For the time being 15 republicans have declared candidacy, from the Tea Party Leader, Michele Bachmann and gay rights activist Fred Krager to Jonathon Sharkey, a perennial candidate who is also the founder of the Vampires, Witches and Pagans Party. However, only a few names stand out. Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann are the first three who will be introduced in a series of articles that will follow.
Ron Paul is a member of the US House of Representatives from Texas’ 14th district. It is not the first time he runs for president, in 1988 he ran with the Libertarian Party and in 2008 with the Republicans. Even though he has a small support base, it increases quite quickly. His main source of support is the newly formed Tea Party. His political views can be mainly described as conservative even though he has expressed some liberal thoughtswhich make him likable to a small number of democrat voters. Paul’s foreign policy positions differentiate him from most republicans. He follows a non-intervention foreign policy and maintains that the United States should not spend money on the protection of foreign countries. In almost every crucial decision his vote was negative, giving him the nickname “Dr No”. He has opposed, among other things, the Iraq War Resolution in 2008 and the Gaza War in 2009. On domestic policy issues his views are more conservative. Throughout his political career he has judged the Federal Reserve and has supported free trade policies with absolute no state intervention judging the free trade agreements that lead to managed trade. Paul has been characterized as a wild card by ABC news and even though it is too early to make any predictions yet it is certain that he will not give up the presidential run easily.
Mitt Romney has served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts and was in office form January 2003 until January 2007. He has run for the republican nomination for the presidential elections in 2008 but John McCain won. Throughout his career in politics, Romney has take position in many political issues. As a successful businessman he has been characterized by many as the most suitable person to deal with the US economy. He has judged Barack Obama’s economic policy by stating that the current US president “has failed America”. He has opposed the increase of taxes and when in office, strongly supported G. W. Bush’s tax cuts. Romney was in favor of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and even though he thought that the Bush administration “mismanaged” the post-invasion period he backed Bush’s troop increases. Mitt Romney is considered by many as a strong name not only because of his expertise in economic issues but also because of his family’s political course. His father, George Romney, served as the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 until 1969 and as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973, while his mother Lenore Romney was a candidate for the Senate. However, his religious beliefs may cost him the loss of a large number of republican voters. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (Mormon) which makes him unlikable to conservative Christian voters.
Last but not least, Michele Bachmann is a member of the US House of Representatives, representing Minnesota’s 6th district and is a member of the Tea Party movement. Her political career began in 2000, when she was elected for the Minnesota State Senate; since 2006 she serves in the US Congress. She has adopted a strong stance regarding many social and political issues and her views are considered controversial, to say the least. From a young age she is a pro-life activist, a proponent of creationism, which she considers that it should be taught in science classes, and she strongly opposes same sex marriage. On USA’s relations with Iran she has said that “the US needs to do more than the simple engagement strategy of talking”. On health care issues Bachmann believes that the government should “keep faith only to those who are in the system”. In spite of her radical views on most issues she has a strong voting body especially from voters keen on the Tea Party movement. However, it is difficult to win over republicans with more liberal views.
The three republican candidates mentioned above are considered to be strong names for the republican nomination. However, Mitt Romney is the one who stands out not only because of his name and family but also because he has a coherent plan to propose. Even though Ron Paul is experienced in the political arena he does not have a large number of voters mainly because his views are not always close to the republican values. Finally Michelle Bachmann, despite that she is new in the run, her views do not represent a large number of voters – at least not the voters she needs to win the republican nomination.
This article was published on the online magazine The GW Post