After U.S. presidential candidates have spent months trading accusations, insults, and one-ups, the elections have entered the countdown stage. In less than a month, the primaries will begin, when party delegates from each state choose their nominee for president.
Next month, February, will give a clear indication as to how the candidates stack up. On Feb. 9, New Hampshire will witness the first primary election, with Republican and Democratic delegates participating.* On Feb. 20, the Republican primary will take place in South Carolina, followed by the Democratic primary there on Feb. 27.
The Republican contenders will be having a debate on Jan. 28. The debate held earlier this month witnessed Donald Trump and Ted Cruz trading insults, reflective of the entire Republican Party. Sarah Palin, a former vice presidential candidate, has endorsed Trump, elevating his name among conservative voters.
If February doesn’t provide a clear enough indication of the parties’ nominees, then March will settle the matter. March begins with what’s called “Super Tuesday,” when primaries are held on the first Tuesday of the month by both parties in 11 states all over the country.
The primaries are punctuated by caucuses: delegates from each party hold a conference in which they choose their representatives for the party’s national convention, which formally chooses the party’s presidential candidate. The first caucus will be on Feb. 1 in Iowa, and there are similar caucuses in March and April and almost every month following until June when the primaries end.
Several election experts expect the presidential rivals to pay upward of $100 million this month to hurl insults and sling mud in television ads. The Republican front-runner, Trump, presented his first ad, which again included an attack on Muslims — both U.S. nationals and immigrants — as he doesn’t want them in his country. It seems as though Trump is happy about his reputation as the election’s devil. So he recently took an interest in Sen. Ted Cruz, whose chance of winning is said to be good, and asked whether the senator from Texas had the right to be the presidential candidate since he was born in Calgary, Canada to an American mother and a Mexican father,** and the U.S. Constitution states that the president must be “American born.”***
Cruz mocked fellow candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, who was also born to Mexican immigrant parents,**** saying that Rubio liked to wear high-heeled cowboy boots, pointing to a recent magazine article, “A Vote for Marco Rubio Is a Vote for Men’s High-Heeled Booties.”
Worse still, Cruz pledged to wipe out the so-called Islamic State if he is elected, and his preferred method is to attack them so as to leave no trace of them behind.
And Trump, blunt as usual, in a speech to his supporters in Columbus, Ohio, asked himself if he agreed with threatening prisoners with waterboarding to elicit confessions from them. He responded saying, “Of course, I would.”***** All of the candidates oppose prosecuting the intelligence agents who tortured prisoners, as the liberal magazine The Nation explained in the title of its article “American Presidential Candidates Are Now Openly Promising To Commit War Crimes.”
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton faces strong opposition from Sen. Bernie Sanders. So their recent confrontation on television was sharp, as they traded accusations, perhaps some of them true. Clinton responded by bringing her husband, former President Bill Clinton, into the race. He gave a speech in Nashua, New Hampshire, supporting his wife and showcasing her achievements. Of course, Bill Clinton’s entrance into the election battle has led many rivals to bring up his past, highlighting his sex scandals, among other things. They didn’t need Clinton’s life story, for they all have enough mud to sling at their rivals.
*Editor’s note: While New Hampshire will hold the first primary in the U.S., the first voting for presidential candidates will take place in the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1, 2016.
**Editor’s Note: Cruz’s father is Cuban.
***Editor’s Note: The Constitution uses the phrase “natural born citizen.”
****Editor’s Note: Rubio’s parents are Cuban.
*****Editor’s Note: Trump actually said, “You bet your ass I would – in a heartbeat.”