Donald Trump's Presidency

Start Free Trial

Student Question

Who were the 2016 presidential candidates and what were their strengths and weaknesses?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This question is actually a bit easier to answer today than it was a few weeks ago, because several of the candidates have dropped out. 

The Republican candidates who are still running are Donald Trump, a businessman from New York; Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas; Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from Florida; John Kasich, the governor of Ohio; and Ben Carson, a surgeon from Michigan.

The Democrat candidates are Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State; and Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont.

Obviously, the strengths and weaknesses of each is a very subjective question, and supporters of the various candidates would give very different opinions.  I will try to list a few strengths and weaknesses of each, as neutrally as I can.

Donald Trump - Strengths:  successful businessman, with a large amount of money to spend.  He appeals to people for his frank discussion of issues and a straightforward approach toward problems.  Weaknesses:  limited political experience and a tendency to make outlandish, brash statements that can offend groups of people.

Ted Cruz - Strengths:  experience in the U.S. Senate.  Intelligent individual who seems to know how to say "the right thing."  Weaknesses: limited time in politics, not highly charismatic

Marco Rubio - Strengths: experience in the U.S. Senate.  Charismatic and engaging individual with some fresh ideas.  Weaknesses:  youth, and limited leadership experience

John Kasich -- Strengths:  experience as a state Governor, which requires more individual leadership than membership in Congress.  Knows how to make decisions and get things accomplished.  Weaknesses:  less charismatic and compelling as a candidate than the others, he is less able to attract followers.

Ben Carson - Strengths:  very intelligent individual, with thoughtful, fresh ideas for change.  Weaknesses: no experience in politics, so he is having difficulty getting his message heard against the other candidates

Hillary Clinton - Strengths: a life in political service, she has been First Lady, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State.  She probably has the most experience closely related to the Presidency than any other candidate.  Weaknesses: if elected, she would be the first female President, which is an unfair challenge, but is a challenge nevertheless.  She is also connected to former President Bill Clinton, whose turbulent Presidency may be a challenge for her.  She is seen by many as being too closely tied to the current administration and therefore less likely to bring about positive change.

Bernie Sanders - Strengths: a long career as a U.S. Senator, he understands Washington politics and he is very familiar with the important issues facing our country.  Weaknesses: he is from a very small, very liberal state (Vermont), so getting his message out is an uphill climb.  He expresses great desires for positive change, but is criticized for not having a feasible plan to accomplish his ideas.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial