For now, the main events in this young race will continue to be candidates officially announcing they are running. Those expected to announce are Republicans Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida, Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, and Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin. All are expected to run with Gov. Bush, Gov. Walker, and Sen. Paul being among the favorites to take the nomination. On the Democrats’ side, Clinton is running as the favorite to win the nomination, however she could get a run for her money from the likes of Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, or Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland. Current Vice-President Joe Biden is also expected to run, but his chances to earn the nomination remain very slim, and the same could be said for Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.
The next stage in the race will be the primaries. These are elections (or caucuses) held in every state between members of the same party to see who will be the party’s nominee for President. The first primaries will be the caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire, tentatively scheduled for the third and fourth weekends of January 2016. Once the primaries are done, there is a National Convention for each party. The Democratic National Convention will be held on July 25th, while the Republican National Convention will be held a week before that on July 18th. The host cities for both conventions are still being selected, but at least one of them will be held in the Northeast, and I’d strongly recommend to anyone interested that they make their way there. It is also during the conventions that candidates name their running mate for Vice President. The Vice Presidential candidate is often selected to balance a perceived weakness of the main candidate. For example, if the candidate is perceived as weak in foreign policy experience, the Vice-Presidential candidate will often be someone with experience and background in foreign policy.
The rest of the 2016 summer will be filled with campaign stops by the two candidates, and it will be interesting to see how they shift their message from the primaries to the general election. During the primaries, candidates look to gain their base support (for Republicans’ that’s Conservatives, while Democrats appeal to Liberals and unions mostly). However, in the general election they are both fighting for the independent vote, who are people that are not registered with any party and who represent a more moderate sector of the electorate. Therefore, the messages a candidate can send are often contradictory with the messages he or she sent earlier in the campaign. All in all, the next 18 months should be incredibly interesting, and you’ll be lucky enough to see it firsthand while living in such a political city as Boston.