TED CRUZ (Republican)
Back in 2011 Ted Cruz was relatively anonymous. While a rock star in the legal world (he had won the “Best Brief Award” from the Association of American Attorney Generals for five years in a row while the Solicitor for Texas), he was little known outside of courtrooms in Texas and Washington, D.C.
Fast forward five years and he is now considered a dark horse candidate for the presidency, a rapid rise for the 44-year-old senator from Texas. Known for his oratorical skills, Cruz is a conservative’s conservative, both fiscally and socially. From gun rights to deregulating Wall Street and abolishing the IRS, if you are a voter looking for the most conservative president since Reagan, Cruz is the way to go.
MARCO RUBIO (Republican)
Another young, Hispanic 44-year-old senator who was swept into office during the Tea Party-dominated elections in 2012, Rubio is often compared to Cruz for obvious reasons. Once seen as one of the most conservative members of the Senate, Rubio has recently come under fire both for not being conservative and for being too conservative. He likes to compromise, which tends to be an asset in the general campaign but a disadvantage in the primary.
Rubio should be able to raise a large amount of money from his home state of Florida. His stance on issues tends to be more fluid than firm, and so far he has yet to announce his main campaign planks. He will certainly be in favor of some form of immigration reform, however, as that was his signature bill that he attempted to pass during his time in the Senate.
Rand Paul (Republican)
Rand Paul is the least orthodox Republican in the field. The senator from Kentucky has held some rather interesting views in areas such as foreign policy and marijuana legalization. He will likely struggle for donations significantly more than either Rubio or Cruz, and certainly more than Clinton, and his campaign rollout has fallen somewhat short of successful, as he has clashed with the media and been accused of being sexist in the last week and a half.
Still, his message of expanding the Republican Party to groups like college students and minorities who have traditionally voted Democratic may well resonate with general election voters, if he can make it that far.
HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat)
The Clinton name has been gold in American politics for over 20 years now. While it might occasionally have been tarnished gold, it has won election after election. Hillary is the hands-down favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and it is not hard to see why. She has huge clout, the support of President Obama, millions of dollars in her war chest, her husband and his popularity, and of course, that last name.
While a couple of sacrificial lambs might be offered up in the primary, Hillary should cruise to victory. Her views tend to be very centrist, and significantly less liberal than those of the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party.