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The United States presidential election of 2016 was the 58th quadrennial Presidential Election. Democrat Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont, narrowly defeated Republican James Earl "Jeb" Bush, former Governor of Florida.The selected electors from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia voted for President and Vice President of the United States on December 12, 2016. Those votes were tallied before a joint session of Congress on January 8, 2017. Dean received 275 electoral votes, and Bush 263. The election proved to be one of the closest in recent memory.
The 2016 Democratic primary season was ultimately short and uneventful. Former Vermont Governor and 2004 primary candidate Howard Dean was the first to announce his candidacy, on December 15th, 2014, nearly two years before the election. Vice President Joe Biden followed suit, on March 9th, 2015, when no word had come from former Secretary of State and nominal frontrunner Hillary Clinton's camp. Biden shot to the top of the polls, easily defeating Dean and other potential nominees, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. On July 30th, 2015, Governor O'Malley announced his candidacy, followed by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar a week later. On October 1st, 2015, former Secretary Clinton announced her candidacy, and immediately took her place as frontrunner. Senator Klobuchar, due to low polling, dropped out of the race two months to the day later, and endorsed Vice President Biden (thought to be an attempt to share a ticket with him). Governor O'Malley dropped out of the race on January 2nd, after coming in third in the New Hampshire primary, behind Governor Dean and Secretary Clinton, and fourth in the Iowa caucus, behind Secretary Clinton, Governor Dean, and Vice President Biden. After losing a string of primaries, Vice President Biden dropped out on February 16th, leaving the race to the establishment Clinton and the liberal Dean. After losing zero primaries on Super Tuesday, Governor Dean dropped out, leaving Clinton as the only active candidate and presumptive nominee. On August 3rd, at the Democratic National Convention in Boulder, Colorado, Secretary Clinton and her running mate, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, were formally nominated for the presidency and vice presidency.
- Jeb Bush - 1489 delegates
- Chris Christie - 258 delegates
- Rand Paul - 154 delegates
- Bobby Jindal - 142 delegates
- Rick Santorum - 3 delegates
- Rick Perry - 1 delegate
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was the first candidate to announce his candidacy, on January 9th, 2015, followed within the week by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and physician Ben Carson. The three held a debate in March of 2015, and Carson began leading in the polls. On May 15th, 2015, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his candidacy, and, after participating in another debate with the other candidates on June 1st, rapidly overtook Carson as the frontrunner. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced his candidacy on June 15, followed by former Texas Governor Rick Perry on June 29th and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on July 1st. The race quickly became one between Paul and Christie as the pair began a high profile feud. August saw the entrance of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, and former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, followed, on September 2nd, by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. With voters torn between Paul and Christie, Republican officials convinced former Florida Governor Jeb Bush to enter the race, which he did on September 25th, 2015. The day after, Governor Haley withdrew, and endorsed Bush, spending constant time on the campaign trail with him, before being chosen as his running mate in July of 2016. Bush began polling very high, and on November 5th, 2015, Governor Walker withdrew, and endorsed Jindal, in an attempt to revive the candidacy of a more traditional conservative. Dr. Carson followed suit on December 10th, and both men hit the trail hard for Governor Jindal. The first primary was the Iowa caucus, on January 1st, 2016, which Bush won, followed by Jindal and Christie. Governor Brownback, whose candidacy had been placed on Iowa, withdrew that night and endorsed Bush. Former Governor Bush also won the New Hampshire primary later that week, followed by Christie and Paul. Former Senator Brown withdrew after finishing last, followed in short order by former Governor Huntsman; both men endorsed Christie, who began to show better in the polls. After winning no primaries, former Governor Perry withdrew on February 10th, and endorsed Bush, followed by former Senator Santorum, on March 1st. Governor Jindal withdrew after losing every primary on Super Tuesday, and, early in June, primary opponents Christie and Paul also withdrew, cementing former Governor Bush's position as the nominee.
Having sewn up the nomination a month prior to her Republican challenger, Secretary Clinton was able to spend much of the early summer lambasting the Republicans in general and Bush in particular. Once Bush was the nominee, he attempted to lob back, but polls held steady in Clinton's favor throughout the summer. Polls showed that, when asked to choose between the legacies of the previous President Clinton or the previous President Bush, they overwhelmingly supported Clinton. Governor Bush struggled in the polls for several months, buoyed briefly in late July with the announcement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as his running mate, and again in August during the Republican National Convention. Clinton's polling spikes upon the announcement of her running mate, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, and those that came with the Democratic National Convention, remained higher. It wasn't until the first debate, on September 5th, did the situation begin turning around for Bush. The debate was seen as a decisive victory, and, combined with Governor Haley's aggressive campaigning, the Bush campaign began regaining footing with voters. The vice presidential debate, on September 17th, between Nikki Haley and John Hickenlooper, was also seen as a strong win for the Bush/Haley team. Clinton/Hickenlooper began plummeting in the polls.
With the Bush campaign surging, the Clinton campaign had to regroup. Popular Democrats, such as sitting Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Governor Elizabeth Warren, as well as prospective First Gentleman Bill Clinton, began criss-crossing the country to stump for Clinton, and President Barack Obama began campaigning even more vociferously for her. In the second presidential debate, on October 3rd, Clinton was seen as having improved vastly, and her poll numbers began climbing again. On October 11th, two days before the last debate, Bush made a gaffe that was perceived as being extremely insensitive to the poor, which Clinton jumped on at the debate. The Bush campaign started stumbling more seriously, and by November, Clinton was leading again. On November 8th, Clinton was elected, albeit narrowly, with .1% fewer votes than Bush, and less than ten more electoral votes.
|Jeb Bush||Republican||61,875,592||48.9%||263||Nikki Haley|
|Gary Johnson||Libertarian||1,574,433||1.01%||0||Jim Gray|