EDITORIAL: By any account, an incumbent president is normally supposed to have an edge when he or she comes up for reelection. However, for President Rick Canth (Conservative-D7), reelection is slated to be a hard-fought contest, and at the moment very few analysts are predicting that he will win.
The President announced his reelection campaign recently, stating that he wasn’t done conveying the vision of the Conservative Party for Panem. However, while voters have begun to back the Conservative Party in the House, Senate, and in certain district governments, polls indicate that the presidency may not belong to the party come this next November. Canth is incredibly embattled by the events of his term, particularly by the electoral scandal that rocked Panem politics where it was revealed that the House vote that elected the President last election was affected by bribery, likely illegally propelling President Canth to the Capitol. His approvals nationwide are low, sitting in the upper 30s and lower 40s. Matchups against contenders from the Liberty Party have proven to be hypothetical blowouts with all contenders, even first-term Senator Peeta Mellark and Governor Gale Hawthorne, who is considered unelectable. This has left many in the Conservative Party to find another candidate in a last-ditch attempt to save themselves. Many were approached, and none have surfaced. However, a movement around Secretary of Intelligence Lynn Germaine has gained the most attention, though Germaine has not signaled any sort of interest.
Away from the Conservatives, primaries are set to be fierce in the Liberty Party. While other parties are fairly resolved in who their nominees will be for president, Liberty is chaos incarnate. By all means, Secretary Celine Oswald should have the upper hand. After all, she is polling incredibly well in all general election scenarios and was previously the presidential nominee. However, the former VP is being challenged by the new VP, Dale Wilson, of whom she ran with last election. Vice President Wilson is currently considered to be Liberty’s party leader as he is the highest-ranking Liberty official in Panem’s government. Also in the contest for the nomination are Senator Peeta Mellark and likely also Governor Gale Hawthorne and Governor Rosalie Descoteaux. Wild card candidates include Secretary Jonathan Madison and Governor Amy Oaksmith, the previous runner-up in the last primary. It’s literally a toss-up of epic proportions for this nomination.
In the Labor Party, recently reelected Governor Felicia Ren of District 8 made a splash by defeating then-Governor Elizabeth Steinbeck in a comeback bid. She’s since launched another bid for president, seizing on her political capital as the party’s previous presidential nominee. The party has cleared the way for her, and while other contenders have not announced their intentions, it appears that Ren will not have a true competitor.
In the Civic Party, it’s almost assured that Secretary Cecelia Paylor will make yet another quixotic bid to reclaim her former office as president. No news here.
However, even with Liberty’s chaos and the consistency of Panem’s other party nominations, the true wild-card of the election this time around isn’t a person. It’s a bill heading through the Panem Congress. Following the electoral catastrophe of the last election, Representative Constantin Richelieu (Liberty-D14) introduced the Electoral Reform Amendment to reform Panem’s electoral system. The bill would bring forward a constitutional amendment that would amend the electoral system to perform a runoff system. The Electoral College would remain in place, but should there not be one candidate with a majority at the end of the contest, the top two contenders would advance to a second round where Panem citizens would choose between the two. Whoever receives the top amount of electoral votes in that competition would win the presidency. In the event of an Electoral College tie, the popular vote winner would win the presidency (this scenario, however, is considered to be unlikely.)