News / USA

    US Presidential Race Shifting Into High Gear

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fans in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Dec. 29, 2015. Those making White House bids in 2016 are stepping up their campaign efforts.
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fans in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Dec. 29, 2015. Those making White House bids in 2016 are stepping up their campaign efforts.

    The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign is about to kick into overdrive only a month before the first votes are counted in Iowa. Contenders from both parties will ramp up their campaign activities early in January, with a heavy focus on the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

    Republican frontrunner Donald Trump will launch his New Year’s push with a campaign rally in Mississippi on Saturday, followed by appearances in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and South Carolina next week.

    Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is also ramping up with an intensified campaign schedule Monday beginning with several stops in Iowa. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, will also take a more active role in the campaign as of the same day by attending organizing events in New Hampshire. The ex-president has a special affection for New Hampshire: It was his comeback second-place finish there in the 1992 Democratic primary that put the former Arkansas governor on the road to the White House.

    Iowa: Key test for conservatives

    Recent polls show Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz locked in a tight battle in the February 1 caucus vote in Iowa, a state where conservative Republican contenders have done well in the past. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucus vote in 2012, while former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the top Republican there in 2008.  Neither man went on to claim the party nomination after winning Iowa. Both men have returned to the Republican field in 2016 but are well behind the leaders.

    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads a town hall meeting at South Church in Portsmouth, N.H., Dec. 29, 2015.
    U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leads a town hall meeting at South Church in Portsmouth, N.H., Dec. 29, 2015.

    Cruz has been surging in Iowa by appealing to evangelical Christian voters and Tea Party supporters, groups that hold considerable sway among Republican caucus-goers in Iowa.

    Surveys show Trump displaying an ability to draw support from a wide range of Republican voters across the country, but experts question whether the Trump supporters who show up at his rallies in Iowa and elsewhere will actually come out to vote. Trump supporters say the large, enthusiastic crowds at his events will translate into support on caucus night, February 1.

    Trump ramps up on TV, Bush scales back

    Trump has spent very little so far on his campaign, thanks in large part to all the free media attention he has enjoyed, especially from the broadcast and cable news networks. But Trump has announced he will spend at least $2 million in television ads in the early contest states in the weeks to come.

    "I feel I should spend," Trump told supporters recently in Iowa. "And, honestly, I don’t want to take any chances."

    Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush continues to lag behind Trump in national and state polls and has also taken steps to refocus his campaign. Bush has decided to deploy nearly all his campaign staff from Miami to the key early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, according to Politico. His campaign is also redirecting $3 million worth of advertising toward voter mobilization and organizing efforts in the early states.

    Bush was considered the Republican frontrunner early in 2015, but his campaign has so far failed to garner much momentum.

    Trump and Clinton target each other

    Trump lately has turned his attention more toward Democrat Hillary Clinton, who recently accused him of making sexist comments. The businessman tried to turn the tables by recalling the sex scandal that led to former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Trump told a crowd of supporters in Hilton Head, South Carolina, that the former president had a history of "tremendous abuse" of women.

    Hillary Clinton has also put Trump in the crosshairs at some of her campaign events recently. During one stop in Keota, Iowa, she seemed to have Trump in mind when she was asked by a voter how to stop the bullying of teenagers.

    "It is important to stand up to bullies wherever they are and why we shouldn’t let anybody bully his way into the presidency because that is not who we are as Americans," Clinton said to swelling applause.

    New Hampshire will test GOP moderates

    New Hampshire will host the first presidential primary on February 9, just nine days after the caucuses in Iowa. Unlike many states, New Hampshire allows independent or "undeclared" voters to take part in either party’s presidential primary. That can be a significant number in a state where about 40 percent of registered voters are not affiliated with either major party.

    For the Republican presidential contenders, New Hampshire looms as a key test for the so-called establishment or moderate candidates like Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

    All four are bunched closely in the New Hampshire polls behind Trump, who has held a big lead in the state for months. The New Hampshire primary’s two most recent Republican winners – John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 – went on to capture the Republican nomination.

    Historically, the Granite State has been a better indicator of who will be the eventual nominee than Iowa, which is why Rubio, Bush, Christie and Kasich will be putting so much effort into New Hampshire over the next several weeks.

    Clinton faces early challenge from Sanders

    Clinton's main Democratic challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, also hopes to take advantage of New Hampshire’s independent voters in the February 9 primary.  Sanders has been leading in New Hampshire and is within striking distance in Iowa, according to several polls.

    Clinton remains the heavy favorite for the Democratic nomination, but early losses to Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire could at the very least lead to a prolonged battle for the nomination, something Clinton supporters would rather not be forced to deal with.

    Early tests likely to winnow GOP field

    Former New York Governor George Pataki became the latest Republican to leave the presidential race, bringing the total number of GOP contenders down to 12 from a high of 17. Other early dropouts include former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

    More dropouts are likely after the results in Iowa and New Hampshire, when lesser contenders will find fundraising and winning endorsements increasingly difficult.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora