Who do you think is the best presidential candidate for the 2016 election? Who is the worst?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is, of course, a matter of personal opinion.  My own view is that Donald Trump is the worst candidate for president.  I say this because he is not running on a set of policy positions.  Any candidate who is running based on actual policies that they support is superior to him.  The only policy of Trump’s that we know about for sure is his immigration plan.  Outside of that, his main arguments are that A) he is so smart that he will be able to get everyone to do what he wants and that B) he is so rich that no one will be able to influence him by giving him money.  I see this as a dangerous platform because it is completely out of touch with reality.  A president cannot govern by superior intelligence, even if Trump really has that.  A president needs policy positions and a president needs to be able to deal with and compromise with other leaders.  Trump shows no signs of having many policy positions or of an ability to compromise with other leaders.  He would, in my view, be the worst possible candidate to choose.

I am not completely impressed with any of the candidates.  If I had to pick the one I think is best right now, I would probably pick John Kasich, though he has little chance of winning.  While he is more conservative than I am, he is not a complete radical by any means.  He has done a fairly good job of governing an important state.  He seems to be open to talking to and compromising with people who disagree with him.  These are the most important attributes, in my view, for a candidate right now.

Overall, I would prefer that a Democrat wins, but I do not necessarily trust Hillary Clinton’s honesty or judgment and I believe that Bernie Sanders is too far left to govern effectively.  Therefore, I prefer a moderate Republican like Kasich. However, it is much easier for me to choose the worst candidate than the best.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an interesting question, and the answer really depends on your personal opinion.  On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders seems to be gaining momentum.  The question about his candidacy is one of electability.  I feel he may be too far too the left which would diminish his chances of winning. The only other announced candidate is Hillary Clinton. The email question continues to drag her down. If people can get past that issue, I would say she is the best candidate on the Democratic side. She has the experience from her role as First Lady and from her role as Secretary of State. She understands how government works and brings a perspective that would be very helpful to working families. She is well known and is a fighter for causes for which she believes. Her candidacy gives the Democrats the best chance to win in my opinion.

On the Republican side, I would say Chris Christie is the best candidate. He appears to be more of a moderate Republican. He probably understands middle class issues better than the other candidates. Many of the other Republican candidates seem to take positions on issues which are much more to the right on the political spectrum. These positions that are more to the right appeal to some groups, but the question of electability remains. Chris Christie is a fighter for the causes in which he believes. In my opinion, he would represent all Americans better than the other Republican candidates would be able to do.

I believe moderate candidates who understand what the majority of Americans faces are best for each party.

santari eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although he hasn't officially declared himself one, I think Joe Biden would be a strong candidate.

I think many of the current candidates, particularly on the Republican side, make a mistake by running against the record of the Obama administration. While there are undoubtedly areas that have left even his core supporters frustrated – such as the lack of prosecution of higher-ups in the financial industry over the 2007-2008 financial crisis, and the failure to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay – the country has recovered economically, and has managed to mostly extricate itself from the morass of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.  At the same time, Obama may be remembered most for achieving detente with Iran through the nuclear deal, as well as a thawing of relations with Cuba.  The former has the potential to fundamentally change the landscape of the Middle East.

As Obama's Vice President during his entire presidency, Biden could campaign on a platform stressing the accomplishments of the previous eight years.

Biden also conveys a sense of empathy that some of the other candidates seem to lack.  In light of the multiple personal tragedies he has experienced, his persona appears authentic.  At the very least, his entry into the race would make for a more robust nomination process.

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would agree that Trump is the worst candidate for President. His public speeches suggest that he is both ignorant and politically incompetent, espousing the sort of extremism and impracticality that would be politically and economically a disaster.

Of the Democratic candidates, Clinton is politically sophisticated, and would be a competent centrist. Her sheer level of experience and tendency to think before she speaks and seek a safe middle ground might lead to a presidential style similar to the leadership of Angela Merkel, sane and effective if not visionary and glamorous. 

Many of Sanders' ideas are appealing, but I'm not sure that he has the political savvy to work effectively with a Congress that may remain heavily Republican. 

Given that we live in a world increasingly dependent on technology and one in which geopolitical tensions are both high and complex (with flashpoints being Islamist insurgencies, the Ukraine, and the South China Sea), I think we need to elect a President who is skilled in patient diplomacy and capable of long-term planning and difficult compromises, rather than one who goes in for melodramatic rhetoric and simplistic solutions. A skilled technocrat would be the most practical choice. 

a-b | Student

The American political system seems broken, so this year I am looking for an outsider candidate. Someone who isn't mainstream, and has ideas that will shake things up and change some of the issues that plague the country.

One of the biggest issues to me is campaign finance reform. The current system essentially allows you to buy influence without even having to disclose who you are. The Citizens United decision equated money with speech, which makes sense as a concept but in reality has a corrosive effect on democracy.

The one candidate who has worked for campaign finance reform is Bernie Sanders. On this issue alone, I think he would make the best candidate. Here is what he has to say on campaign finance reform:

Our democracy is under fierce attack. Billionaire families are now able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the candidates of their choice. These people own most of the economy. Now they want to own our government as well. The Koch brothers, the second wealthiest family in America, plan to spend some $900 million in the coming 2016 election — more money than either of our major parties spent in the last election. That is not democracy. That is oligarchy. To restore our one person-one vote democracy, Congress must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections.

While a constitutional amendment may prove difficult to pass, Sanders has been working through the Senate on campaign finance reform for years. Here is a partial list of his campaign's action items:

  • Introduced the Democracy Is for People constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
  • Voted for the DISCLOSE Act to shine a light on the exorbitant amounts of dark money in our politics.
  • Promised that any Sanders Administration Supreme Court nominee will commit to overturning the disastrous Citizens United decision.

For worst candidate, I would say all of them but probably lean towards Ted Cruz, because he seems dangerously unhinged.