The clear frontrunner in the Democratic primary is Hillary Clinton. Adopting fringe left politics such as gay marriage, cannabis decriminalisation, and gun control only when they become mainstream, Clinton is a member of the old guard but is willing to adapt; however on some issues such as militarism and corporatism she remains staunchly hawkish. Despite a series of scandals recently including her use of personal email and charitable donations, she is still polling well and set to take the primary by storm.
Although it will be close to impossible to beat Hillary and her centrist left base, Joe Biden is polling a distant second. With a track record similar to Hillary, Biden has done little to differentiate himself from the pack, in fact, he has hardly publicised his run at all. In the end, a presidential endorsement is likely the only thing that will really put him into the running. President Obama has so far not indicated whether he will endorse Clinton, his former secretary of state, or Biden, his VP (if anyone at all).
Bernie Sanders, an unapologetic socialist and registered independant, is perhaps the favorite of the far left and is polling third, A crusader for a welfare state, and a supporter of social justice, Sanders is running on the platform of reform. Although he is the posterchild of residents of cities like Seattle and San Francisco, Sanders’ fringe left politics alienate the vast majority of voters.
Other notable figures include Elizabeth Warren, another far-left progressive who, despite refusing to run, is polling above both Biden and Sanders. Vermin Supreme, a bearded performance artist/activist who wears a boot for a hat, is registered to his own ‘Free Pony Party’, and is known for campaigning on a platform of compulsory tooth-brushing, time travel research, and free ponies. He consistently garners up surprisingly large amount of votes in various local and national elections; he won 1.4% of the 2012 Iowa Democratic Caucuses.
The Republican primary is set to be much more contentious than that of the Democrats. The frontrunner by a narrow margin is Jeb Bush, a member of the infamous Bush political dynasty, he is as reliably right-center as his brother was. He is the only frontrunner republican candidate who is running on a right-centrist platform rather than a pure conservative one. Although he may be weighted toward gay marriage and voices his support for the middle class, he is basically running on the premise of a 3rd Bush presidency, which will gain him support amongst the old school republicans and more moderate right-wingers.
Next up is Scott Walker, who is polling in second despite not yet having announced a run. Walker, the 45th governor of Wisconsin, apparently is not suffering from his lack of a college degree. His platform is slightly more conservative than Bush’s, although they agree on most major issues.
Polling slightly below walker is Marco Rubio, a young and very conservative candidate. Despite trailing walker by about 3 points, Rubio has a very loyal and vocal base.
Behind Rubio are Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee. Ted Cruz, like Rubio, has a very loyal and extremely conservative base. Paul stands out from the other republicans by being a true Libertarian, and thus appealing to some voters who are socially progressive but politically conservative. Huckabee, the 44th governor of Arkansas, is rumored to have the backing of super-donor Sheldon Adelson.
Ben Carson, the famous neurosurgeon, along with Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO have both recently announced campaigns. Other notable conservative politicians such as Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, and Chris Christie are considering runs as well.
All of these republican candidates are currently vying for the support of The Koch Brothers (who plan to make $889 million in political contributions for the 2016 elections) and Sheldon Adelson, who donate massive sums of money to candidates using PACs (Political Action Committees).