2016 



Businessman, television personality and author
Born: June 14th, 1946  (age 70)


When Donald John Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election at the Trump Tower to an audience of about a thousand supporters on a blustery New York morning on June 16, 2015, no one could’ve anticipated the impact that he would have on this election cycle. No one (aside from Ann Coulter) could’ve even envisioned Mr. Trump winning the GOP presidential nomination. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time – even Mr. Trump himself -, there was a leadership void within the Republican Party that was crying out to be filled.

The billionaire’s no-nonsense style, outsider status, business savvy and keen political instincts drew in the support of blocks of politically frustrated middle class conservatives, tea partiers and Ron Paul’s orphaned paleolibertarians, who were all looking for a champion to lead them and give their struggle a voice. In the following months, these disparate groups of voters organically coalesced into a powerful coalition which has propelled Mr. Trump’s candidacy from the fringes of the race to the summit of the Republican nomination leaderboard with surprising, albeit controversial, ease.

And to think, the teetotaler wasn’t even certain about running as late early 2015. There were real fears that similar to the general elections of 1988, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, Mr. Trump would not make a bid for the nomination despite giving indications that he might.

His giddying ascension in the polls has been met with incredulous wonder by the media and more established candidates who have long fallen to the wayside. His combative performances in the debates left his opponents tongue-tied, much to the delight of his supporters. His controversial off-the-cuff deliveries and political incorrectness are viewed proudly by his legion of followers. His war cry, Make America Great Again, has galvanized even the elderly to attend his lively rallies.

Mr. Trump’s in-your-face style has drawn a lot of flak from all corners, but only a fool would doubt that there is a method behind his apparent madness. As the former reality TV star has demonstrated repeatedly throughout his career, his audacity is always accompanied by a ferocious intelligence.

There is simply no denying that Mr. Trump has changed the face of American politics forever. And the prospect of a businessman being elected to the White House has rekindled century-old memories of the Roaring Twenties when entrepreneurs such as Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover occupied the Oval Office.

Mr. Trump’s nationalist populist brand of politics captured the imagination of the nation, and powered his victory in the Republican primaries. However, will the charismatic real estate tycoon be able to use an identical approach in his White House run, or will he pivot to the center and reign in his explosive personality? Will he be able to unite the party’s fractured base and win over the agitated social conservatives? Will Miley Cyrus move out of the country if Mr. Trump is elected?



Oprah Winfrey Interviews Donald Trump in 1988
 
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Declared 2016 



Entrepreneur


Jeremiah Pent was born in Arlington, Texas, and raised in Fort Worth. After graduating from high school and marriage, he and his family moved several times around the country, and currently reside in Pennsylvania. He briefly studied at Texas Christian University, but would eventually earn his Masters Degree (in Divinity) from the Westminster Theological Seminary. Professionally, he is an entrepreneur, having founded and run several businesses in a number of industries including agriculture and toy manufacturing.

Pent speaks in broad terms of the need to address the social and economic issues facing the US. He believes the biggest problem currently plaguing the nation is its own lack of unity, and that all other challenges can more easily be overcome if the divisions between religious and ethnic groups can be ameliorated. Other than admitting that this will be a difficult (but achievable) task, however, he offers few specifics on how it might be accomplished. Economically, he favors a balanced budget, advocating the maintenance of a federal government that operates within its means just as, he says, average American families must do. He believes this goal can be reached through middle class tax cuts and a careful restructuring and streamlining of the government's operations.

Pent is particularly preoccupied with the American educational system and its importance to the nation's children, and speaks at length of ensuring that schools are staffed by competent teachers able to properly guide and instruct their students. Once again, however, he is sparse on describing any specific changes which he feels should be made to or by the schools.

An independent candidate, Pent worries over the stark dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats, and claims that these two parties collectively represent only about a third of the American population. He points out the fact that George Washington, the nation's first President, was himself an independent, and that many Presidents immediately following him also did not formally belong to any political party. Concerned about the influence wielded over politicians by wealthy donors, Pent has pledged to accept campaign contributions only from individuals, not rich supporters who act through Political Action Committees and super PACs.

Due to Pent's reluctance to discuss his specific policy ideas, it is difficult to evaluate which voting demographics would be most likely to support and oppose him.
 
 
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