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Despite low poll numbers, candidates persist against Trump, Biden

Ohio voters will head to polls March 19 to vote in federal and state-level primary elections to decide who will be featured on the Republican and Democratic ballots in November.

According to polls from RealClearPolitics, projections show Trump, at 74.8%, and Biden, at 72%, winning their respective parties.

For the presidential primary, top candidates for the Republican party include former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, according to an Associated Press article.

Trump’s key campaign points emphasize rebuilding the U.S. economy and extending his growth from his presidency. Some key policy points include embracing patriotism, building missile defense shields and adopting a “Parental Bill of Rights,” which would require schools to allow parents and guardians to make certain choices about their children’s education, according to the issues on his website.

Haley’s campaign centers around being a new leader and emphasizes a need for younger U.S. politicians, according to a Spectrum News article

“We won’t win the fight for the 21st century if we keep trusting politicians from the 20th century,” Haley said during a rally in South Carolina.

Trump is projected to win the South Carolina primary Saturday, coincidentally Haley’s home state. Despite these projections and increased calls to end her campaign, Haley has repeatedly stated she plans to keep her campaign running.

Trump is currently highly favored to win the South Carolina nomination, according to FiveThirtyEight polls. As of Feb. 22, Trump is leading with a 63.6% average in the state’s polls and Haley is following at 33.1%. 

Some notable previous Republican candidates include former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, all of whom have now ended their campaigns. 

Governmental Affairs Commissioner Dan Gordillo said Trump and Haley have similarities in that they’re both conservative, but there are still differences between the candidates. 

“We’ve seen (Trump’s) policies in 2016-2020, he wants a continuation of that … he’s an even deeper hardliner,” Gordillo said. “I don’t think he wants to work with the other side at all; whereas Haley’s trying to present herself a little differently. She’s trying to present herself as a softer Trump.”

Donald Theisen, a freshman studying economics and a governmental affairs senator, noticed potential changes in the candidate’s ideology.

“It’s interesting, historically, Haley is also very conservative,“ Theisen said. "I think socially, she’s probably more conservative. Being in a competition with (Trump), she has to present herself as an alternative.”

Trump and Haley have other key campaign differences, including their goals in international relations, Johnny Susany, a junior studying political science and governmental affairs vice commissioner, said. 

“Trump has been very vocal about his desire to end the war between Russia and Ukraine, and while he’s been somewhat vague about the way he would do that, it seems it would be done through diplomatic measures,” Susany said. “Meanwhile, Haley has been a very ardent and outspoken supporter of continuing to fund Ukraine in their fight against Russia.”

Susany said Haley has been “outspoken” in her continued support of Israel

Incumbent President Joe Biden also faces competitors for the Democratic nomination. Notably, Rep. Dean Phillips from Minnesota is challenging Biden’s nomination. 

Phillips’ campaign platform includes lowering the cost of living, increasing wages and transitioning to a Medicare for All system, according to his campaign website. Phillips also was vocal against GOP’s Israel Funding Bill, which the House of Representatives rejected Feb. 6.

Susany said Phillips is taking an alternative route in his race, and he is trying to present himself to voters as a progressive liberal who is younger and has more energy than Biden. 

Biden’s campaign emphasizes continuing and expanding on his policies and legislation from his first term as president. His initiative, "The Build Back Better Framework,” aimed to serve and support middle-class U.S. citizens in getting and maintaining jobs. Biden’s platform focuses on increasing efforts toward affordable health care and investing in children and caregiving funds, according to the White House website.

Biden is currently highly favored to win the national nomination, according to FiveThirtyEight polls. As of Feb. 22, Biden is leading with a 75.7% average in national polls and Phillips is following at 7.2%. 

“The primaries count,” Gordillo said. “The primaries really matter, so get out there and vote. Don’t just sit inside and let this go by; we have our right to vote for a reason, and you should use it.”


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