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Politics at Trent


Pupils regularly tell us that they enjoy learning when lessons are related to real-life scenarios, writes Paul Taylor, Trent College Academic Deputy. From a teacher’s perspective, helping pupils to see connections between what they already know and the subject matter can speed up the learning process.

In the first of a series of articles by Trent pupils, Politics students Dominic Kalantary and George Livesey explain that what they are studying is regularly featured in the news.

The term ‘invisible primary', named after the 1976 book by Arthur T. Hadley of that name, is the time before the official process for each US political party choosing its Presidential candidate. This is the current period occurring in the US presidential election cycle. This stage is also known as the ‘money primary’, due to the need for candidates to spend most of their time trying to raise the money required for a Presidential campaign.

The Democratic Party's James ('Jim') Webb has announced that he is setting up an exploratory committee. This allows him to raise money to find out if he would be a viable candidate. Webb was previously Senator for Virginia, and US Secretary of the Navy from 1987 – 1988 back when he was a Republican. The current front-runner for the Democrat nomination is Hillary Clinton, wife of ex-US president Bill Clinton. Mrs Clinton has not yet officially announced that she will be running for office. Fuelled by the release of her new book last year, a common practice for presidential hopefuls, political commentators began to say that it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ for Hillary. The latest polls suggest that Hillary Clinton will win the Democrat primaries and will therefore be the Democrat nomination for President in November 2016. However, the same was said of her in 2007 before Barack Obama, the Senator for Illinois, went on to win the Democrat nomination in 2008 and became US President.

The Republican Party is currently a tighter and more cluttered race with a number of different candidates lining themselves up to take part in the primaries to gain the candidacy and a chance to reach the White House. Possible candidates include: Jeb Bush (brother of President George W. Bush); Marco Rubio (Senator for Florida); Paul Ryan (Vice Presidential candidate in 2012); Rand Paul (Senator for Kentucky); and, Chris Christie (Governor of New Jersey). All of these individuals and others are lining themselves up to look at whether they should run for Presidency in 2016.

Clinton, the Democrat front-runner, is still the favourite to be the President in 2016 despite President Obama’s unpopularity. Traditionally, the governing party would lose the election after two-terms in office; however, a lot can change in 18 months.

Politics students and staff are currently using the #USAinvisibles on Twitter to group discuss articles and announcements that occur during this interesting ‘invisible primary’ stage.

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