New York: The US presidential race appears to be as deceptive as politics can ever be. At present, Donald Trump is ahead of all his Republican rivals by a considerable margin and despite being brusque, coarse and rough he is the one who, at this stage, looks to be the most likely challenger to a Democratic nominee. Trump’s speech has no traces of diplomacy or the subtle niceties that are expected of a potential nominee, but is at times both rude and repulsive. A rich man who earned his wealth through hard work and questionable means, he is apparently now wanting status and prestige by being a top contender for the top position.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is evidently facing an uphill task of warding off her main opponent Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party race and is being subjected to standards which for some odd reason are not being applied to other candidates of either party, probably because she is seeking to be the first woman President of the US. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Hillary is perhaps the most competent woman to make a bid for the post and this is the best chance for the country to break the barrier and be led by the other sex.
Bernie Sanders, who is using every trick in the book to embarrass her or hold her back by his speeches laced with socialist idiom, is sounding more like an Indian bureaucrat post retirement. The obvious reference is to Indian babus who flaunt rules on everyone’s face to appear officious, but after superannuation, suddenly start taking up cudgels on behalf of the common people and wearing a reformist hood. Sanders is very much playing a similar role and after doing nothing about the kind of radical ideas he is now talking about during his heydays, he is making things difficult for Hillary. She, however, is undeterred by the offensive diatribes and has kept her campaign on a balanced keel. In the end, there is an exceptionally strong chance for Hillary to be the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party and she is likely to emulate her husband, Bill Clinton’s feat of winning the polls in 1992.
Many pollsters are ultimately predicting a Trump-Hillary one-on-one epic battle. If that actually happens, Hillary could pip the billionaire to the post. This is because, Trump has so far escaped from scathing criticism since the Republican field has been crowded with multiple nominees engaged in trying to hit out at each other. In the confusion, the unconventional Trump has never been questioned on either policy issues or his vision for the United States, though he has been harping on restoring the pristine glory of the past and creating more jobs for the Americans and saving the economy from the clutches of the Chinese, Indians and Japanese, etc. If indeed, Trump emerges as the Republican candidate against Hillary, the Democrats have enough ammunition to blast him and make him look like a novice in the political arena. He would find it very difficult to cover his flanks and his blunt approach would perhaps become his Achilles’ heel against a smooth talking and experienced Hillary Clinton.
However, if the Republican race hots up after Super Tuesday (1 March), resulting in many of the nominees opting out, Trump would start feeling the heat. Marco Rubio, the dark horse in the Republican camp could be a potential nominee, whose emergence could totally change the way the world is looking at the US presidential elections. The 44-year old Rubio, born to Cuban migrant parents, exudes both energy and youthfulness in his campaign. He has already received endorsements from some top Republican leaders, including the 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney and is appearing similar to how Barack Obama did in 2008 in terms of confidence and equanimity.
Watching him score brownie points in TV interviews and debates, Rubio gives the impression of being the most formidable out of all the players who are in the field at this stage, though there is no way of knowing whether he would be setting up the summit clash with Hillary later this year. If it actually boils down to a fight between Rubio and Hillary, it is going to be a contest to watch out for. Unlike the controversial Trump, there would be very little the Democrats would be able to pin him down with. His vitality and freshness would be effective weapons against the comparatively jaded and well versed Hillary, who, despite her impeccable credentials would then look to be part of the old Washington establishment. Moreover, he could have Nikki Haley, the Indian origin Governor of South Carolina as his running mate to add impetus to his effort. However, in order to beat Hillary, Rubio may have to also beat history as other than John F. Kennedy in 1960, no Roman Catholic has been the President of the United States. The majority of the Presidents have been Presbyterians and Rubio would have to break that ceiling. It is difficult to forecast a presidential poll but if new age politics dominates, Rubio could be the man to look out for. Between us.