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2016 Election Observer: Darren Davis

| Thursday, February 11, 2016

Editor’s Note: Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, The Observer will sit down with Notre Dame experts to break down the election and its importance to students. In this fourth installment, News writer Rachel O’Grady asks professor of political science Dr. Darren Davis about the results of New Hampshire and a possible Trump nomination. 

Rachel O’Grady: New Hampshire turned out close to expected, per the polls. What do you make of these results? Beyond that, does Bernie Sanders have enough momentum to beat Hillary?

Darren Davis: The results were expected, and I am relieved the polls came out right. After only one primary in which he was expected to win because he is from Vermont, and that the polls are predicting he will lose in South Carolina, Sanders does not have momentum. If Sanders wins by a similar margin in South Carolina, which most likely will not happen, we may need to start talking about momentum.

ROG: What should we be looking for in South Carolina?

DD: The polls indicate Trump will win by a significant margin and [Ted] Cruz will most likely come in second. [Marco] Rubio, [Ben] Carson, [Jeb] Bush and [John] Kasich are not doing well. We are likely to see more candidates dropout of the race, such as Carson. Clinton should win by a large margin.

ROG: Donald Trump has been a different breed of politician, and many thought he wouldn’t make it this far. Do you see him winning the nomination? If not Trump, then who?

DD: Donald Trump will most likely receive the Republican nomination. Anyone who doubts Trump’s appeal has not been paying attention to the anger expressed toward President Obama for the past seven years. Trump is directly capitalizing off this anger. New Hampshire is important because it showed Trump is a legitimate candidate.

ROG: In your research and opinion, what do you think will be the most important issue in the general election?

DD: The most important issue in the 2016 Presidential election will be a referendum on President Obama’s perceived failures, such as immigration, the economy, national security (terrorism), healthcare and guns.

ROG: Taking it back to college campuses, particularly here at ND, primaries in many of our home states are coming up. What is something we, as college students, should be paying particular attention to?

DD: Students should be paying to issues that affect them as they contemplate entering the job market and starting new families. The economy (job growth), education reform, environment, health care and social security are critical.

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About Rachel O'Grady

Rachel O'Grady is a senior Political Science major living in Ryan Hall. She most recently served as Assistant Managing Editor. Hailing from Chicago (actual Chicago, not the suburbs) she's been a Cubs fan since birth.

Contact Rachel