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US Politicians Busy Planning for 2016 Elections


    The Republican Party is preparing to control both houses of the United States Congress in January. Republican candidates won big victories in the recent U.S. congressional elections. The Democratic Party lost its majority in the Senate. The Democrats must now adjust to being the minority party in both houses.

    Both parties have begun looking ahead to the next national elections, in 2016. At that time, Americans will elect a new Congress -- and a new president.

    Whit Ayres works as a strategist for the Republican Party. He says Republican victories in Congress may prepare the party for winning back the presidency two years from now. He said the party had better candidates.

    “And we had candidates who could unite the Republican coalition and, of course, that is what it is going to take in 2016.”

    Many well-known Republicans could decide to seek the party’s presidential nomination. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is often mentioned as a possible nominee. So are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

    But Mr. Ayres says nobody is a clear choice to be the Republican nominee.

    “Whoever wins it will demonstrate an ability to join Tea Party, Libertarian, establishment, social conservative and internationalist Republicans all in one coalition and get enough each of those groups to build a majority.”

    For the Democrats, preparation for the 2016 elections offers a different challenge.

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the clear leader for the Democratic presidential nomination – if she wants it. But Democratic strategist Celinda Lake says the party needs to find a winning economic message.

    “I think a lot of people are now concluding, rightly or wrongly, that while (President Barack) Obama was change, that he didn’t have as much experience as we needed to actually get things done. Nobody questions Secretary Clinton’s qualifications and experience.”

    Political observers say that for Hillary Clinton to succeed, she must show that she differs with President Barack Obama on some issues. The recent election results showed him to be unpopular among voters.

    Political analyst John Fortier says Ms. Clinton may be the favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination. But she will face some opposition for the position.

    Mr. Fortier says it will be difficult to defeat her. He says other Democrats surely will challenge her. And he says they probably will try to make the argument from the left – the more liberal side of the party. He also says she may be criticized for being too hawkish about foreign policy.

    But Mr. Ayres says Democrats may not understand how hard Mr. Obama’s unpopularity will make it to win the presidency again.

    “I will tell you that it is exceedingly difficult for one party to win three presidential elections in a row. History suggests that it is a very unusual event.”

    The last time a party won three presidential elections, one after another, was in 1988. At that time, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush was elected after Ronald Reagan’s two terms in office.

    I’m Bob Doughty.

    This report was based on a story from VOA Correspondent Jim Malone. Jeri Watson wrote the story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


    Words in This Story

    adjust - v. to change in order to work or do better in a new situation

    strategist - n. a person who is skilled at making plans for achieving (gaining) a goal

    mentioned - v. talked about, wrote about, referred to something or someone in a brief way

    challenge - n. a difficult task, job or problem; something that is hard to do

    analyst - n. a person who studies or analyzes something

    hawkish - adj. supporting war or the use of military force