Along with the recent announcements of several 2016 presidential campaigns, Georgetown students with experience working with both Democratic and Republican candidates have expressed optimism about the future of the race.
Jenna Galper (COL ’17) previously worked with the Ready for Hillary political action committee, and expressed excitement about Clinton’s campaign, which was announced with a two-minute YouTube video released April 12.
“I’m absolutely excited that Hillary Clinton is running and I think she’ll make a great President,” Galper wrote in an email to the hoya. “My time working at Ready for Hillary PAC has made me even more excited for her candidacy, because I got to meet and interact with such a diverse group of supporters from all over the country who are just as passionate about electing her as I am.”
Immediately following her announcement, Clinton began her campaign with a three-day road trip from New York to Iowa, with several stops along the way.
Galper said that she believes Clinton’s campaign thus far demonstrates a sense of humility.
“As we’ve seen from her first week of campaigning, Clinton certainly isn’t acting like she’s inevitable,” Galper wrote. “By roadtripping to Iowa and avoiding large press events, Clinton is demonstrating that she’s committed to spending the campaign season listening to the concerns of real Americans, regardless of what pundits are saying about her electoral chances. She is clearly running a people-focused campaign, and not a coronation.”
President of Young Americans for Liberty Mitchell Tu (SFS ’17), who previously interned with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who announced his candidacy on April 7, said he supports his campaign, but is also open to other candidates.
“I would love him to win, though to be honest I have more doubts now, due to a slight change in views,” Tu said.
Chair of the Georgetown College Republicans Amber Athey (COL ’16) also said she supports Paul as a presidential nominee, but highlighted other possible candidates as well.
“I have been following Rand Paul’s campaign quite a bit and really identify with his ideology,” Athey said. “However, I believe Jeb Bush has the experience and composure necessary to lead, so I’m torn.”
On the Republican side, two other candidates have already begun campaigning. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the first to announce candidacy on March 23, with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) following on April 13.
According to a CNN/ORC poll, the rest of the nation is similarly torn across potential Republican nominees. Potential candidate Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, has a slight edge with 17 percent of support, but numerous contenders follow closely behind in the poll. Paul, Rubio and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a potential candidate, stand at 11 percent each, with Cruz at 7 percent.
Both Athey and Tu said they believe that the Republican Party is moving in a more libertarian direction.
“The Republican Party has become increasingly pluralistic, as the ideas of economic conservatism and individual liberty resonate with many voters,” Athey said. “I expect that this trend will continue and we will see an increase in Republicans who are economically conservative but socially more liberal.”
Tu added this possible ideological shift could be attributed to views of younger voters.
“The future of the Republican Party, as driven by necessity, will involve more young people and Libertarians,” Tu said. “That is, of course, barring any big changes in the future.”
On the Democratic side, the poll shows a much clearer leader in Clinton. She is still the only Democratic candidate to officially announce a presidential campaign.
According to the poll, nearly 70 percent of Democrats support Clinton over potential candidate Vice President Joe Biden, who came in at 11 percent. Other potential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), former Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), former Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee and former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley rounded out the poll with less than 5 percent of the votes each.
Chair of College Democrats Matthew Gregory (SFS ’17) said that Clinton is in a strong position to secure widespread support due to her experience, despite some dips in poll numbers likely due to the recent controversy surrounding her use of a personal email account while serving as Secretary of State.
“She is right now absolutely best positioned among a weak Democratic field to gain significant nationwide support and win the party nomination,” Gregory said. “Clinton is uniquely qualified for the office after a multidisciplinary career in government, and moreover, has attained consummated levels of familiarity with a number of foreign and domestic issues with which many competitors lack even minimal prior knowledge.”
However, Gregory added that there is no guarantee Clinton will ultimately be elected as the Democratic presidential nominee.
“I would hesitate to say that Hillary Clinton is necessarily the inevitable winner of the Democratic primary,” Gregory said. “A dark horse candidate could still emerge and exploit any signs of complacency Clinton may exhibit.”
Hoya Staff Writer Emily Tu contributed reporting.