President Peeta Mellark (Liberty-D12) had a particular set of names that he wanted to see emerge victorious in the opposition primaries a week ago. Specifically, those names would be former Secretary Samuel Trenton as the Civic nominee, Representative Sylvenia Denton as the Labor nominee (or at least former Secretary Walter Delta), and businessman Robert F. Maxwell as the Conservative nominee. The more candidates from his list to win, the higher the President’s reelection chances rose.
Not one hand fell in his favor.
Instead, the President now faces what is likely to be the closest election of our lifetime. We now have a five-way race for president: Mellark vs. Canstrom vs. Newsom vs. Jones vs. Roydon. Each candidate is particularly remarkable and exceptionally strong; each party, against the odds, has fielded a candidate that could conceivably win.
In the Civic Party’s first competitive primary, voters have selected Patrick Newsom, the firebrand senior senator from District 3. He stunningly defeated Samuel Trenton, the former VP nominee and establishment candidate in a fashion that could only be described as a wipeout. Telegenic, an excellent debater, and known for never equivocating on his progressive values, Newsom’s future as a candidate now depends on ensuring that Samuel Trenton’s wing of the party, along with former President Cecelia Paylor, decide to vote for him in the general election after a destructive primary that determined the future of the Civic Party. Furthermore, his trailblazing attitude is attractive to some, but not to all. A docile VP pick may set worries to rest for many who dislike him.
The Labor Party surprisingly produced Senator Iris Canstrom as their pick for president. Canstrom, the current Labor leader in the Senate, ran as a reformer for both the Labor Party and for the nation. Since her campaign announcement, Canstrom has been viewed as the underdog, and yet she managed to dispatch longtime Labor heavyweights Joan Kindred and Walter Delta in the primary. Her path to victory lies with convincing centrist and Civic voters to come her way; which group she decides to woo will likely be determined by which VP candidate wins the nomination at the Labor National Convention in June.
From the Conservative Party comes former Governor Kaitlyn Jones of District 11. Jones snatched the reins of the Conservative Party when former Secretary Kurtis Pierce and businessman Robert F. Maxwell were too busy bickering over minor debate details, sweeping the primaries and leaving only 600 delegates between her two competitors. Like Canstrom and Newsom, Jones was viewed as a political novice in national politics as analysts insisted that Pierce or Maxwell was most likely to finally take the nomination that they longed for. Jones is complemented by her running mate, former Secretary Delia Sutherland, who adds foreign policy experience from the time that she served in the Presidential Cabinet as Secretary of Intelligence. The ticket is well balanced in terms of Conservative voters; Maxwell voters like Jones’s style, while Pierce voters appreciate the complementary presence of Sutherland. Jones’s path to the White House lies in convincing Liberty and Centre voters that President Mellark isn’t doing enough to reform the nation and that he has spent too much time at war and not enough time at home.
Finally, there’s the Centre Party’s Julie Roydon. A senator sworn in only two years ago, Roydon is articulate and challenging, stubborn and bold. She’s been at the forefront of the Senate’s most brutal and high profile battles, only second in notoriety to her colleague Senator Clarke Randall. Roydon was unopposed in her run for the Centre nomination and will be able to select her own VP nominee as well. Her path to victory has significantly increased over the past week; with more candidates, there’s more vote splitting. As long as Roydon and her running mate can keep her voters committed and turning out, along with collecting unhappy Liberty, Conservative, Labor, and Civic voters, she may be able to build a ragtag coalition that will manage to put her in the White House.
The biggest obstacle to every candidate, however, is the Electoral College. In recent years, opposition parties have pushed for the abolition of the entity, stating that it is stacked in favor of the Liberty Party, but those cries were largely hushed with the election of President Rick Canth, a Conservative. With five strong candidates of different political stripes, it’s hard to predict (minus a few districts, of course) how the vote will break down in the EC. There’s a real possibility that the Electoral Reform Act may come into play for the first time. For those who don’t recall, the ERA was passed under President Canth following his election as president, where Canth was elected by the House of Representatives following losing the EC vote to Celine Oswald. This act removes the House from the EC equation, stating that in the event no candidate hits the needed number of electors to be elected president, the election will go to a second round with the two candidates that received the most EC votes. Voters will then vote in the runoff election, and whoever receives fifty percent of the electoral votes will, of course, win the election.
In this case, it’s not hard to see how President Mellark could find himself on the losing side. Even if he manages to make it to a second round, he could find that the voters of the other candidates choose to vote for his second round opponent. Likewise, the voters could turn on his opponent in favor of him.
There’s only one way to describe this election now: too close to call.