Top political stories of 2015

Cheyene Miller, Managing Editor

Cheyene Miller

Few years in recent memory have been as revolutionary for American politics as 2015. The year demonstrated how polarized American politics have become, with each side of the political spectrum touting presidential candidates who, until recent years, would have been seen as fringe at the very best. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the year’s top political stories as we prepare for what might be the most consequential election of this generation.

Matt Bevin defeats Jack Conway in Kentucky: Bevin’s victory in Kentucky was representative of a change that is occurring nationwide. Bevin was only the second Republican elected as governor of Kentucky in 40 years. This was a monumental changing of the guard for a state that has consistently voted Democrat at all levels of state government for generations, especially considering Bevin is far more conservative than the typical establishment Republican. Most importantly, his victory shows that American voters need to start taking presidential candidate Donald Trump seriously. If Kentucky voters will choose an ultra-conservative career businessman over a career politician, then American voters can do the same.

The year of the Donald: Americans can’t get enough of Donald Trump. The billionaire real estate mogul made his

announcement to run for president in June, and his campaign became surrounded with controversy from the start. During his announcement speech he suggested that Mexican immigrants are drug peddlers and rapists. Since then, Trump said Sen. John McCain was not a war hero despite being a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and more recently he posited a plan to ban all Muslim immigrants. To the surprise of many on the left, center and even moderate right, Trump’s popularity has for the most part never waned. He still sits atop the Republicans with a 16-point spread.

Bernie Sanders makes huge gains on Hillary Clinton: Hillary Clinton has been poised for more than a decade to become the nation’s first woman president. She was the favorite to win the democratic nomination for the 2008 election until a senator named Barack Obama won voters with his ideals and progressive values. It must feel like Déjà vu for Clinton, as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders experienced a rise in popularity in 2015. The longtime independent advocates the democratic socialist policies, which has made him highly beloved by progressive voters. Young Americans are especially pulling for Sanders, who advocates public funding for college education and raising the federal minimum wage. Clinton still has a nine point lead in the polls, but if Sanders’ popularity continues to grow, Clinton could be in for a fight.

With 2015 in the books, time will tell if big names like Trump and Sanders continue to make waves in the American media.

Cheyene Miller is the managing editor of the Kentucky Kernel.

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