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The 2016 United States Presidential Election was the 58th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Incumbent President Barack Obama was ineligible to run for a third term due to term limits set forth in the U.S. Constitution. With the Republican Party on the verge of collapse, Obama's former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, had an overwhelming advantage against very weak opposition. Clinton won by a wide electoral margin in a three way race against Republican nominee Donald Trump and TEA candidate Ted Cruz.
The previous four years of American politics were dominated by the effects of the new Cold War with Russia, and the War with the Islamic State. While the conflict had not ended in victory, the treaty concluded with Iran in 2015 was satisfactory to the American people, and the Democrats received the credit for its conclusion. The Republicans found themselves discredited by their opposition to the treaty and the offensive rhetoric from Republican National Convention of that year. Furthermore, the schism within the Republican party over-saturated their field of candidates, and gave the Republicans no unified voice to campaign with.
In the 2014 Midterm Elections, Republicans faced an internal division along ideological lines that would eventually lead to the Tea Party splintering off into a rival party. This schism in the conservative vote would continue to plague Republicans as the 2016 elections approached and the Tea Party, instead of disbanding, nominated their own candidate for President.
Democratic Party Nomination
Clinton was the favorite candidate of outgoing President Obama and the Democratic party leadership. However, Clinton faced stiff competition from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Also, there was widespread sentiment, especially in the west, that it was time to end the Clinton dynasty over the party. But Clinton's long record of service at home and abroad made her a fitting candidate to succeed Obama. Sanders never really gained the kind of support to carry the party into the White House for a third term. Still, Sanders' supporters posed a significant challenge.
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State from New York
- James "Jim" Webb, former U.S. Senator from Virginia (withdrew on April 7, 2016 and endorsed Hillary Clinton)
- Martin Joesph O'Malley, former Governor of Maryland
- Bernard "Bernie" Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont
- Lincoln Davenport Chafee, former Governor of Rhode Island
Republican Party Nomination
The Republican party was in turmoil after the 2014 elections, with only a small majority of its former members resisting the tide of defections to the Tea Party. By 2015, the five major factions had split and party infighting over the myriad of candidates left Donald Trump winning by major pluralities in the early primaries. The party leadership then reluctantly closed ranks around Trump, hoping that a familiar face would be the best counter to Hillary Clinton. By the time of the convention, Donald Trump was the only candidate remaining who had not dropped out. Texas Senator Ted Cruz , and his delegates famously walked out of the RNC and entered the race as a formal third party.
- Donald John Trump, of New York
- John Ellis "JEB" Bush, former Governor of Florida
- Randal Howard "Rand" Paul, U.S. Senator from Kentucky
- Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas
- James Richard "Rick" Perry, former Governor of Texas
- Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz, Senator from Texas
- Marco Antonio Rubio, Senator from Florida
- Lindsey Olin Graham, Senator from South Carolina
- Benjamin Solomon "Ben" Carson, Sr., retired surgeon from Maryland
- Cara Carleton "Carly" Sneed Fiorina, former CEO from Virginia
Cruz's candidacy was largely out of a sense of abandonment of the Tea Party by the establishment leadership of the Republican party during the Primary. Cruz illustrated the deep divide in the Republican party.
With President Obama's approval ratings at 53% toward the end of his administration, victory was almost assured for Hillary Clinton. The split of the conservative vote between the Tea Party and the Republicans further solidified Clinton's chances, making it virtually impossible for her to loose. With her unrivaled qualifications and support from moderates and liberals alike, a second Clinton presidency was the unsurprising result of the election.
Clinton won the election by a stunning margin, becoming the first female President of the United States.