Donald Trump is a real estate mogul from New York. His father is an immigrant from Poland. Trump is a businessman, who has excelled in his field. He has authored several books, such as The Art of The Deal and Trump: How to Get Rich. Trump has never held any political office.
Trump is known for having many political positions different from the ones held by many typical GOP candidates. Trump agrees with the rest of his party on the basics: he opposes the Iran deal but supports slashing funding to Planned Parenthood and repealing Obamacare. But Trump holds many values not held by other Republicans. Trump believes that the Iraq war was a mistake. He also supports the funding of Social Security and Medicare. Over the course of his campaign, Trump has advocated to build a wall across the US and Mexico border, further affirming that Mexico will pay for it to be built. Due to his large net worth, Trump is self-financing his campaign. He has criticized other candidates for being bound by those supporting their campaigns. The only other candidate who can claim that he is not accepting large donations is democrat Bernie Sanders. It was believed that a Trump campaign would be a far-fetched liberal fantasy, but that is now a reality. Yet, somehow, Trump is now holding his number one position, a position he has retained since he confirmed his campaign this summer.
Ben Carson is a pediatric neurosurgeon who was a director at Johns Hopkins. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Carson holds a psychology degree from Yale and an M.D. from the University of Michigan. Carson completed his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Carson has never held any political office.
Ben Carson is considered a further right candidate. Carson does not believe in climate change. Carson is often criticized for somewhat outlandish statements and claims. For example, he believes that the holocaust would have been prevented if the Jews had guns, he compares abortion to slavery, he says that Obamacare is the worst thing to happen in America since slavery, he believes that students who take AP United States history courses will "be ready to go sign up for ISIS," and he said that "a lot of people go into prison straight, and when they come out, they're gay." Ben Carson has gained the favor of many voters, making his way up to second (and in some, first) place in the polls.
Jeb Bush is the son of former president George H.W. Bush and brother of former president George W. Bush. Bush grew up in Texas, but moved to Florida after his father was elected Ronald Reagan's vice-president in 1980. Bush was elected governor of Florida in 1998, and served as governor till 2007.
Bush is credited as a more moderate Republican, at least when compared to the other Republicans in the field. Bush supports fracking for natural gas. Bush also supports the collecting of phone records by the NSA in accordance with the USA PATRIOT Act. While governor of Florida, Bush lead the national charge for Common Core. Bush also supports national immigration reform, something that many other candidates have not. Although Bush was named the presumptive nominee after the 2012 election, Bush has recently been falling in many polls. In the most recent debate, Bush had the least screen time of any candidate.
Marco Rubio is a first-term senator from Florida. In 2000, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, where he eventually was elected Speaker of the House in 2005. After serving as Speaker, Rubio ran for his current senate position, which he has held since 2010.
Rubio won his senate position with a large support from the Tea Party, but now he is beginning to lose their support. Rubio, like most Republicans, supports repealing the Affordable Care Act. While in the Senate, Rubio voted to extend the USA PATRIOT Act and voted against increasing background checks for gun purchases. Rubio is known for supporting comprehensive immigration reform, which differs from other Republican candidates. While in the senate, Rubio helped write a law that would make it easier for illegal immigrants to receive legal status. Rubio's debate performance has significantly brought him up in the polls, placing third in the polls used for the most recent debate.
Born in Alberta, Canada, Ted Cruz is a first-term senator from Texas. Before his career in politics, Cruz was a lawyer, holding a degree from Harvard Law. As Solicitor General of Texas, Cruz represented the state in several cases. One of the most outspoken in his field, Cruz has often criticized many Democrats and Republicans in his time as senator.
Cruz is known for upholding many classic conservative as well as Tea Party values. He takes a very strong stance against any sort of gun control, and is one of the few Republican candidates who has been given an A grade by the NRA. He and fellow candidate Rand Paul both made a public pact to filibuster any sort of gun control legislature that came to the senate floor. Like many other candidates, Cruz does not believe that climate change is a manmade phenomenon. After the Supreme Court's verdict of Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized gay marriage, Cruz urged states to ignore the ruling. Cruz has been surging in the polls, and now sits behind Marco Rubio at fourth place.
A former eye doctor, Rand Paul has been a senator from Kentucky since 2011. Throughout his life, Paul worked on his father Ron Paul's numerous political campaigns, including three for president. Rand Paul is known for word-for-word plagiarizing portions of speeches from Wikipedia and multiple news sources.
Paul's political views correspond with many values of the Tea Party, the (somewhat) libertarian party that his father is heavily involved in. Paul supports the implementation of a flat tax rate of 14.5%. As a senator, Paul aligned himself with fellow senator and candidate Ted Cruz in filibustering any gun control laws that came to them in their senate careers. This May, Paul spent nearly 11 hours filibustering the extension of the USA PATRIOT ACT, a 2001 act that extends the government's ability to collect records from citizens, something that distanced him from many other GOP candidates. In the first debate, Paul went head-to-head against candidate Chris Christie on this issue. Paul claims that same-sex marriage "offends [him] and a lot of people.”
Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Hillary Clinton is the presumed front runner of the Democratic Party. Before her political career Clinton was a lawyer in Arkansas with her husband Bill Clinton, who was at the time serving as the Arkansas attorney general. While her husband served as Arkansas governor, Clinton became a full partner at Rose Law Firm. Eventually, she and her husband moved to DC after he was elected President. Clinton is viewed as one of the most influential First Ladies of all time, playing a role in many White House affairs. While serving as co-president, Clinton made her move on the senate, moving to New York in 1999 to pursue a seat. She held the seat in senate from 2001-2009. In 2007, Clinton ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, a nomination and presidency she was expected to win. A debate performance overshadowed by Senator Barack Obama greatly hurt her poll numbers. After the finish of a neck-and-neck primary campaign, Clinton abandoned her bid, endorsing Obama. After defeating John McCain, Obama recruited Hillary Clinton for the job of Secretary of State in his cabinet, a position she held till 2013. For a majority of the primary, she held the position as front runner, but in many state polls Clinton had lost that title to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Clinton, while in the Senate, was ranked one of the top 20 most liberal senators, with Obama being ranked first. She describes herself as a "modern progressive" while many others describe her as a Democrat with a plethora of conservative views and values. Clinton has stated that she believes immigrants should have a path to citizenship. When the vote on whether or not to invade Iraq came to the senate in 2002, Clinton voted to authorize military action, a vote that was not supported by her 2008 opponent Barack Obama or by her current opponent Bernie Sanders. Clinton supports reinstating the federal assault weapons ban that was enacted during her husband's presidency. Until 2013, Clinton reversed her position against the legalization of gay marriage. Clinton also reversed her position in support for the passing of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade deal between the US and other Pacific countries. Continuing with her consistency of inconsistency, Clinton has recently announced her position against the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that she had helped initiate while in the senate. Unlike many of her Republican opponents, Clinton has acknowledged that climate change is a real and immediate threat to the world. Clinton's views allow many progressive as well as moderate Democrats to side with her.
Bernie Sanders is a Vermont senator, and the longest-serving independent senator in congress. Sanders grew up in Brooklyn, and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964. In 1981, Sanders was elected mayor of the city of Burlington, Vermont's biggest city. Sanders served as governor for 9 years. In 1990, he was chosen to be the representative for Vermont's largest congressional district. In 2006, he was elected senator, a position he has retained since then. When he announced his campaign earlier this year, Sanders was viewed a fringe candidate, someone with the intent to push Hillary Clinton further to the left. But since then, it has become apparent that Sanders is all in, and intends to beat Hillary. Some polls from New Hampshire and Iowa reflect just this.
In the Democratic primary, Sanders is making his appeal to the progressive left of the Democratic Party. Sanders strongly advocates for social upheaval in America, challenging many aspects of the political status quo. Sanders' political agenda consists of universal healthcare, free undergraduate college tuition, the attacking of big banks, raising the minimum wage, reversing the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, rebuilding infrastructure, and decriminalizing marijuana. For these positions, Sanders is labeled a socialist by many on both sides of the aisle, a title which he embraces. Sanders welcomes the term, modeling many of his policies off of the policies of Northern Europe. Sanders is the only candidate whose campaign is fueled off of individual contributions alone, with the average donation to his campaign being around $30.