A crowded field of can­di­dates vies for the White House

Wisconsin Gazette - - Flashback: The Year’s Top Stories -

a con­tin­u­ing ren­dezvous with destiny. Each Amer­i­can and the coun­try we cher­ish.”

The pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of 2016 dom­i­nated politics in 2015, which was end­ing with three Democrats and 14 Repub­li­cans run­ning for the Oval Of­fice.

Mary­land Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley joined the Demo­cratic race on May 30, say­ing the “Amer­i­can dream seems for so many of us to be hang­ing by a thread.”

U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders, a Demo­cratic so­cial­ist from Ver­mont, of­fi­cially en­tered the race on May 26 and con­tin­ued to run hard for the nom­i­na­tion as the cy­cle shifts into elec­tion sea­son.

Ad­dress­ing “broth­ers and sis­ters” in his an­nounce­ment, San­ders said, “We be­gin a po­lit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion to trans­form our coun­try eco­nom­i­cally, po­lit­i­cally, so­cially and en­vi­ron­men­tally. Today, we stand here and say loudly and clearly that ‘Enough is enough.’ This great na­tion and its gov­ern­ment be­long to all of the peo­ple and not to a hand­ful of bil­lion­aires, their su­per PACs and their lob­by­ists.”

On the Repub­li­can side, today’s front-run­ner en­tered an al­ready crowded race for the party’s nom­i­na­tion with these words: “Wow. Whoa.”

Ty­coon and TV per­son­al­ity Donald Trump an­nounced his can­di­dacy at Trump Tower in New York City in June with a blis­ter­ing cri­tique of President Barack Obama and a vow to build a “great, great wall” on the bor­der with Mex­ico.

“When Mex­ico sends its peo­ple, they’re not send­ing their best. They’re not send­ing you. They’re not send­ing you. They’re send­ing peo­ple that have lots of prob­lems and they’re bring­ing those prob­lems with us. They’re bring­ing drugs. They’re bring­ing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I as­sume, are good peo­ple,” Trump said in his first of­fi­cial cam­paign statement.

For the rest of the year, Trump con­tin­ued to stir out­rage with bizarre be­hav­ior and state­ments that have not been heard in U.S. pres­i­den­tial politics since be­fore the Civil Rights era. As the year ended, the Repub­li­can es­tab­lish­ment was quak­ing at the prospect of field­ing a can­di­date who comes off as a play­ground bully. GOP lead­ers al­ready are pre­par­ing for a bro­kered con­ven­tion.

Mean­while, Clin­ton’s camp is en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of it.

Yet, with each of­fense Trump com­mits, his sup­port among Repub­li­can vot­ers grows stronger.

Trump’s bom­bas­tic style crowded out a num­ber of other hope­fuls, in­clud­ing Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker launched his cam­paign in Wauke­sha with the open­ing re­mark, “I love Amer­ica,” and a pre­dictable speech about base­ball, Boy Scouts, Viet­nam, God and coun­try.

The gov­er­nor sought to cap­i­tal­ize on his pop­u­lar­ity with tea partiers for his as­saults in Wis­con­sin on pub­lic sec­tor unions, re­pro­duc­tive choice, gun re­stric­tions and vot­ing rights. But Walker seemed to dis­ap­pear on the de­bate stage, faded in the polls and saw his do­na­tions dwin­dle.

Walker with­drew from the pres­i­den­tial race on Sept. 21 and, af­ter many ab­sences from the gov­er­nor’s man­sion, re­turned to Wis­con­sin with a $1 mil­lion cam­paign debt. He still owes the state $67,280 for se­cu­rity costs that tax­pay­ers pro­vided him dur­ing his trav­els.

By De­cem­ber, the GOP field was down to Jeb Bush, Ben Car­son. Chris Christie. Ted Cruz, Carly Fio­r­ina, Jim Gil­more, Lind­sey Gra­ham, Mike Huck­abee, John Ka­sich, Ge­orge Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Ru­bio, Rick San­to­rum and Trump.

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