With the Iowa caucuses around the corner, the election fever should ideally be catching up. Far from it. There is an apparent gloom looming large over the American electorate. The ebb and flow of political upheaval suggests the elections will be a mundane affair this time. This also makes it easier to examine the prevailing trends and make estimated guesses about the outcomes. There is no intricate guessing game involved either.
Baby Boomers All the Way
Barring Ted Cruz, all the leading contenders have whizzed past the official retirement age. There is an ageism-in-reverse at play with the outcomes heavily skewed in favor of the baby boomers. Donald Trump may clinch the Republican nomination eventually and Hillary is all set to get the Democratic ticket. Let's not get into the nitty-gritty of who deserves to be nominated and whether Bernie Sanders is a better Democratic nominee. Writing on the wall suggests these two candidates will battle it out for the White House. Michael Bloomberg might also enter the race as an independent if Sanders -- by some unlikely twist of fate -- gets the Democratic ticket. This will make it a race between three seniors. The New York Times has endorsed John Kasich for the Republican ticket, who is another baby boomer.
The campaign is largely focused on domestic issues. This reflects the hands-off approach followed by the Obama administration as the world got engulfed in one crisis after another. There are no American boots on foreign grounds thus offering contenders greater flexibility in navigating foreign policy issues. Bernie Sanders has largely focused on the American economy and the struggling middle class. Trump is all about making America "great" again; and Hillary is calling for stricter gun control and abortion rights, among other things. Overlooking foreign issues is not a good thing though, given the omnipresent U.S. global footprint.
The enthusiasm witnessed during the 2008 election did not fizzle out in the next presidential election. Up to 58.6 percent of voters expressed their opinion at the 2012 polls, down from 62.2 percent of the voting-eligible population that brought Barack Obama into power in 2008. The 2004 polls also drew significant voters, at 60.7 percent. Interestingly enough, the 2000 presidential elections had the lowest turnout in recent years, at 55.3 percent.
Turnout in 2016 could emulate the patterns of 1988 elections, when Republicans carried the presidency for the third time in a row. Gloomy voter mode resulted in a turnout of 52.8 percent. Democrats will likely be in that position this year and the turnout could hover in the low 50s. This could be attributed to a lingering fatigue with the process and lack of promising alternatives.
From the President to the 'First Gentleman'
This one also seems highly plausible. Hillary Clinton's road to presidency has little bottlenecks. This is despite her many pitfalls and transparency issues. The dullest election campaign in recent years and no real challenger in sight makes it a cakewalk for Hillary. Bernie Sanders fumbles and stutters and has drawn the ire of the Democratic establishment for his unconventional views. In endorsing Hillary, the New York Times called into question the Sanders campaign, labeling him as inexperienced. With Sanders in hot waters and Trump as the most likely opponent, Hillary will probably breeze through the polls. And Bill Clinton will be the First Gentleman, of sorts.
Hillary might as well turn out to be a one-term president. Many factors curtail her chances of winning the presidency again. Age will not be on her side, the voters will be wary and the global conflicts will get more complicated. Republicans can turn the tide after twelve years of sitting out the seat of power. Mid-terms in 2018 will be a litmus test on whether the Democrats can continue their winning streak in 2020. Chances of it will be very slim though.