Category Archives: Editorials

Real competition? Mellark faces potentially potent candidates in race for reelection

President Peeta Mellark (Liberty-D12) may have began his reelection campaign at the tip-top of the polls, looking like he might coast to reelection in the same way as his first run, but now the President faces a potentially different scenario.

President Mellark, while still remaining popular, is now officially facing a distinct possibility that three popular major candidates will rise from the primary battles waged in Panem’s opposition parties.

Currently the Centre nomination is set to go to Senator Julie Roydon, who has made a name for herself since her election in the previous midterms and proving that she is no political lightweight. Her crowds are regularly that of around 6,000 people at least, showing large support. Roydon consistently has polled highly in presidential polling, typically ranking second to the President.

In the Civic primary, Senator Patrick Newsom has risen to the top of the polls lately after his landmark debate performance against opponent Samuel Trenton. Newsom, to many Civic voters, represents a more activist wing of the party that has typically been pushed aside in favor of the more centrist establishment. Newsom has also been noted for his grassroots support. At this early point, it’s hard to tell if Newsom will be the nominee, but if the campaign continues like it has, it’s likely that Newsom will be able to pose a real threat to the President in a general election.

Last, but certainly not least, is former Governor Kaitlyn Jones. Known for her tenure as the last remaining Conservative governor in Panem, Jones was swept out on an anti-Conservative wave that even her popularity in her district could not save her from. However, Jones unexpectedly declared a run for president this year, despite most analysts predicting that at most she would run for vice president. More unexpected is the amount of support that Jones would garner in a general election. While she currently is third in Conservative primary polling, Jones polls higher in general election polling than her two rivals, typically even edging out Newsom and Roydon when included. This is likely due to her anonymity and due to her campaign to rebrand the party. Voters tend to associate the party with her rivals (Robert F. Maxwell and Kurtis Pierce) and both do not poll well due to their own scandals and relationship to disgraced former President Rick Canth.

However, a true nightmare scenario for President Mellark is if all three of these candidates managed to make it to a general election. True, the president is popular. However, the military intervention in Greece is causing a major dip in his approval numbers, decreasing them by the day. Panem voters when polled have indicated less and less support for the intervention as time has continued, and it’s highly unlikely that Mellark will be able to sustain a massive level of popularity for much longer, especially if the intervention lasts until election day. This is why this scenario is considered dangerous for the President: falling approval ratings along with the three strongest possible candidates could result in a nearly tied election as four candidates take around 20-25% of the vote each, along with potential for spoiler candidates from the Labor Party and independent candidates. In that case, it’s anyone’s guess who the president of Panem will be at the end of the day- and if the current President survives reelection.

However, the likelihood of such a nightmare scenario would be pretty low as of today. Just one part of the conditions that would cause it not occurring (say, Mellark pulls the troops out of Greece sooner rather than later) would likely result in a greater chance of a Mellark reelection, particularly if Jones or Newsom (or both!) lose their nomination fights.

A Second Term

President Peeta MellarkThe President of Panem, Peeta Mellark (Liberty Party-District 12) is only a year and four months into his term as president. However, he’s already accomplished more in a year and a third than the disgraced and incarcerated Rick Canth did while he was president before him.

Which brings us to the questions that everyone is longing to ask, only to be halted because of the antiquated rule of “Thou shalt not speak of presidential elections until after the midterms:” Will Peeta Mellark see reelection, and is he destined to win reelection?

Of course, presidential elections are notoriously hard to predict. Hardly anyone predicted the election of Rick Canth in the House of Representatives, and likewise many did not believe that his fall would be so titanic. Elections that seem to be a runaway win for a candidate a year or two out can easily transform into close elections (see Everdeen Pt. 2) and ones that seem to be on razor-edge at the beginning can turn into massive landslides (see Mellark’s election/Canth’s defeat).

However, something must be said for the fresh and new President of Panem. Peeta Mellark is no fool; he did not rise as quickly as he did just to fall as quickly as he started. Mellark has strategically risen following the failure of Celine Oswald to win the presidency. Mellark, then the First Gentleman of Panem, plotted the beginnings of his political career in District 12, where the climate would be more friendly. The people of District 12 are in complete adoration of the Everdeen-Mellark family and all those associated with it. It is no surprise to see the success of Rebecca Tarson’s districtwide career when one factors in her friendship with the First Couple. As such, when Peeta Mellark became interested in the open Senate seat in District 12, the field cleared for him and he began his first foray into the world of politics. His success was due to a strong party structure, name recognition, and a large rolodex assembled by his wife’s previous campaigns for public office. Peeta Mellark won the Senate seat, becoming the new Senator-elect, and immediately got to work.

Mellark’s ascent in the Senate was as quick as his ascent in the political structure of District 12. His talent for public speaking and private conversation proved useful in the quick-moving Capitol, ensuring the passage of multiple key pieces of legislation. Mellark made history with his oratorical skills, delivering a twenty-nine hour filibuster on the use of District 12’s funds on the creation of the new Capitol that now holds the record for longest filibuster. His reputation became one of a leader on Capitol Hill, even as he did not hold a leadership role in the Senate. However, that changed when the majority leader, Michael Debroff (Liberty Party-District 13), sat him down in his office one day. Debroff was looking to make a change in leadership and had dismissed his Majority Whip only a week prior for insubordination. The majority leader offered this position to the new Senator from District 12, elevating a freshman to the number two position in Senate leadership.

Mellark’s reputation as a straight-shooter is well-documented. As Whip, Mellark kept the Liberty Party conference in line while taking over as Majority Leader when Debroff was unavailable. He was known for his no-nonsense attitude and efficient decisions. In one incident, Mellark began Senate proceedings on the hour as promised. Ten senators were missing and nearly missed the vote on a contentious funding bill and were not pleased- but Mellark all the same governed on a schedule. Be there, do your job, do it well, and do it on time.

His time in the Senate put him on a pedestal as a potential nominee for higher office. Following the defeat of Celine Oswald, the Liberty Party was in disarray on every level. The Liberty National Committee chair, Vance Irsine, insisted that his plan for the party was the correct plan- no other way would do. Oswald was defeated under him, and the largest movement against Liberty rule occurred in the midterms under President Canth. When it came time for the next presidential election, the field was wide open. It was supposed to be the time for Amy Oaksmith, the former runner-up to Oswald, to get to be the nominee. Some said Oswald should get another shot. Some said Descoteaux. However, all eyes turned to the junior Senator from District 12, only four years into his term, in order to see how he would play his hand.

Mellark played a royal flush. He declared his run for president to the surprise of LibNC officials who had urged him to remain out of the race in order to build prestige in the Senate. Forever undaunted, Mellark pushed through several debates, taking heated attacks on his image, particularly on his independence from his wife and on his inexperience. However, when it came down to it, Senator Mellark would win the nomination against four other high-profile opponents and would begin his general election campaign with his new running mate and dear friend: Governor Rebecca Tarson of District 12, who pulled off an upset of her own for her nomination. The general election campaign was the most bruising in history, but blows were glancing for the Liberty ticket: even when things seemed roughest for Mellark and Tarson, the ticket endured and always came out on top. In the end, the ticket would coast to the largest electoral and popular vote landslide in history, surpassing that of former President Katniss Everdeen, the wife of the new President.

Upon his inauguration, President Mellark noted in a candid interview that he had very little room for error. “After the damage that the last administration performed to our country, the people of Panem are looking for change. That’s what I’ve been elected to give to them, and if I don’t do that, I’ll pack my bags myself and leave. This country needs a change. That’s what my administration is going to do.”

That change has come. Even if you ask the Red-Green Coalition, the new opposition coalition between the Labor and Civic Parties which also serves as the President’s staunchest critics, the President has enacted change. For Liberty members, this change is exactly up their alley. For the left wing, not so much. The President has presided over tax and economic reforms; over a successful push for a better education system; and most recently, over the successful defeat of the Oceanian Empire. It’s hard to argue that the country is ascending instead of declining- just ask anyone how their personal economic outlook is and they will note that things have changed.

Of course it seems clear that the President would seek reelection. He’s young. He’s been successful thus far. And there’s no doubt of his popularity, which has swelled to nearly ninety percent following the success of the war in Oceania. All odds for now seem to be on Peeta Mellark running for reelection. Our second question, however, is who could possibly stand a chance? The other parties of Panem have significant issues with national elections. Frankly, it has become clear that the Panem public is not interested in electing Cecelia Paylor president once more after her first and only term. People are not excited for Felicia Ren despite her known quantity with Panem citizens. The Conservatives are almost to the point of extinction following the embarrassment known as the Canth family and the electoral massacre that occurred as a result of their familial run. So, who’s even remotely close to pulling a couple of votes away from the President?

One particular option is Panem’s newest political party. The Centre Party has not engaged in a national election as of yet, but following their massive success on the Congressional level and their major push into districtwide elections for the upcoming midterms, it’s highly probable that a Centre nominee for president and vice president will emerge. The viability of such a candidate is uncertain- centrists have not been a true force in Panem politics, at least not as a political party or movement. If a nominee is fielded, however, it would be good for a test run to run against Mellark.

The other option lies with Elizabeth Steinbeck and Pauline Crystal. The Steinbeck/Crystal ticket overperformed on election day, pulling into second in both the electoral and popular vote counts. Steinbeck’s previous run for the presidency was not as successful; she did not manage to get a single district win and did not break single digits. This past election was different: the country was looking for a change, and the populism championed by Steinbeck rang true for at least twenty-three percent of Panem citizens. It’s entirely possible that Steinbeck and/or Crystal runs again; Steinbeck has a way with reversing loyalties and promises and Crystal has nothing preventing a run. However, Steinbeck appears to be completely onboard with the President and his administration, especially when one notes that she passed over an opportunity to run against her archnemesis, Felicia Ren, again in District 8.

Regardless of the candidates, it appears (from less than three years out) that President Peeta Mellark will be president on that cold Inauguration Day. For now, no one quite holds a candle.

On His Way Out

President Rick Canth is leaving the Capitol less regarded than when he came here for the first time as a Senator. He was viewed as the future of the Labor Party, at that point; even though he was Canth Impeachmentmuch more conservative-leaning at the time, the District 7 senator was viewed as a potential presidential or VP nominee on the grounds that the party in most people’s minds needed to move to the right to survive. They were right. Canth emerged as a consensus presidential nominee not long after he became senator, and he led Labor to to its largest gains in years. However, he soon became disenchanted with the leadership of the Labor Party, stating that “they wanted me to move to the left…that’s not me. That’s not what I believe.” He left the party in dire straits, leaving Labor to explain the exit of their most recent nominee for president. He called himself an independent in the meantime, and he was nominated and confirmed by the Panem Senate to serve in the Everdeen administration to serve as Secretary of the Interior.

During this time in the Capitol was when then-Secretary Canth decided to found a party to represent his viewpoint. Labor was too far left, hence why he left, as was the Civic Party. The Liberty Party was too obsessed with foreign affairs to fit his political views. He decided instead to form the Conservative Party. When the Secretary of the Interior found that President Everdeen was stepping away instead of running for reelection once more, he announced his candidacy straight away for the presidency of Panem.

His second run for president was no more realistic than his first one. An opposition candidate for president had never been realistically close to the presidency, but that didn’t hamper Canth’s political ambitions. He plunged straight into his campaign with the full intent of becoming the first president who was of a party other than the Liberty Party and the first elected president who was male. And for most of the time, all hope seemed lost. He was well-known and well-regarded, which allowed for him to rise above mediocre nominees of the Labor and Civic Parties, but it hardly made for a winning campaign. However, his performance in the debates made him competitive, just as it did the last election. This time, however, things were different.

The election came down to District 7, the home district of Secretary Canth and Liberty Governor Amy Oaksmith, who was votes away from being Canth’s main competition herself. The race was neck and neck as the night went on. The vice presidential race had already concluded, with a decisive win for Governor Dale Wilson of District 4, a Liberty Party member. However, Vice President Celine Oswald was simply unable to seal the deal. The night was clearly going well for Canth, but he desperately needed District 7. Lucky for him, the results came in for him, but barely; an automatic recount determined the next morning that the Vice President had actually won the district. Canth automatically pushed for a second manual recount, which encountered major pushback from the Vice President’s campaign. The Supreme Court ruled in Canth’s favor, however, allowing for a secondary recount that ended up turning out in his favor. The election would go to the House for the first time in history.

The rush to win the House election began immediately. The Liberty Party was in full crisis mode as they scrambled to ensure that their representatives kept the party line to ensure a victory for the Vice President. It all went wrong for Liberty when Labor decided to give their votes to their former nominee- the beginning of a long night for Oswald. Canth’s team was quite pleased when the Liberty Party Speaker of the House of Representatives, Constantin Richelieu, told the representatives to vote their conscience, not on party lines, in the vote. Oswald’s team, on the other hand, was furious. Ultimately, 46 of the 100 total Liberty representatives in the House broke with the party line, voting for Secretary Canth. This gave him a majority, electing him the first male and opposition party President of Panem.

Tensions were high in the first days of the Canth administration. Considering how Canth got into office, everyone was waiting for the first slip-up. Canth’s approval ratings were already middling, skipping the obligatory honeymoon phase experienced by most presidents. It of course did not help when it was revealed that two representatives, both Liberty Party members, were bribed in exchange for their votes for Canth. A Congressional panel was convened along with a federal investigation, both of which found that the new President did not have anything to do with the bribes but that it was highly likely he was elected illegally.  His numbers tanked rapidly, with approvals reaching as low as 22%. This was the lowest of any post-Revolution president, even Cecelia Paylor.

However, Canth rebounded. He found his way back up through bills combating crime in Panem and through his cooperation with Liberty to increase funding for space technology. His approvals rose to the standard 49-50%, typical for a Panem president halfway through their first term. In the midterms, the Conservative Party defied political gravity as they rose to the second largest party in the Panem Congress after being largely nonexistent before. However, then came the Archibald Center attacks. 100,000 people dead, thanks to the Oceanian Empire. At the time of the attacks, Canth was in District 7 at the time championing an education bill at an elementary school. Very quickly he drafted an address to the nation to confront this new terrorist threat, turning an education speech into one of national security.  His response was later characterized as “sloppy” and “impeachable” by his political adversaries. Once again, his approval among the citizens of Panem dropped steeply.

President Rick Canth (Conservative-D7) at a charity benefit in District 9. The embattled President of Panem is the first from a party other than Liberty and the first male president. Canth faces a long road to reelection in November.And yet, he decided to run again. President Canth announced his third run for the presidency, and it seemed like last time around that
he would be unopposed. Then came along Robert F. Maxwell: a billionaire businessman with nothing to lose. A bruising primary ensued, dividing the Conservative Party into the Canth and Maxwell factions. The primary ultimately ended up on the floor of the
convention hall as the candidates’ surrogates fought for dominance. Ultimately, President Canth and his brother, Representative Jackson Canth, were nominated for president and vice president respectively, despite the fact that Maxwell and Lynn Germaine were set to be nominated. As a result, the two opponents filed as independent candidates to face the Canths once again in the general election.

For a while, everything ran smoothly. Though the President wasn’t wildly popular, he was liked enough to stand a decent chance of reelection. He hovered between second and third in the polls, depending on how Maxwell was doing that day. He fended off all attacks that came his way, despite his tarnished record. In a stroke of bad luck though came the recession. It hit hard, and it hit fast. The report that announced its arrival was the death knell for the Canth campaign. They dropped to near zero in the polls and were unable to revive their bid following that. Their opponents hammered them time after time, insisting that the Canths had failed Panem. As if it couldn’t get any worse, then came the hacks. Sure, Maxwell’s campaign was hit first, throwing all confidence in him into a political wastebasket, but the presidential hack was infinitely worse. It revealed that not only was the Capitol vulnerable, it was corrupt. The President’s office was allowing access depending on a price. He was unable to ensure the safety of classified information. And of course, he happened to be directly involved in a massive cover-up of electoral fraud, as did his brother and his chief of staff. It ensured that the President would not get reelected even if it were possible, and on election day, Senator Peeta Mellark, the husband of former President Katniss Everdeen, was swept into office on the largest Liberty wave election in history.

Which brings us here to the impeachment. The House had zero issue ensuring a bipartisan vote to impeach Canth. In fact, the bill was expedited through the House. Now, Canth faces the Senate virtually alone. Following the revelations of electoral fraud, the joint Liberty/Conservative senatorial deal fell through, ending any chance of mercy among his former Senate colleagues. It now poses a major question:

How will the President leave? Will he leave by the process of impeachment, putting him in jail and ceding power to Vice President Dale Wilson, a Liberty member? Will he resign his office, preserving the integrity of his reputation and the office, also leaving Wilson president? Or will a miracle occur, allowing Canth to win over the Senate and remain President for the little time he has left?

That’s the real question. And that’s the story of the President who will go down in history as many firsts: first elected male president, first opposition party president, first bipartisan administration, first president elected by the House and without a majority of the popular and electoral vote, first president to be federally investigated, and the first president to be impeached.

 

EDITORIAL: Presidential field and bill brings unexpected competition to Canth’s reelection campaign

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.)

EDITORIAL: Senator West for Vice President?

Well, it’s quite clear now that President Rick Canth has dug himself in deep if he did attempt bribery. However, even if he didn’t, he now has that term stuck next to his name. It makes him damaged goods for this next election, especially if they do find evidence that is damning, as that could trigger an impeachment. It’s not a good sign for a president that only won due to a House election, not even through the popular vote.

His fate, however, rests with a committee. This committee is chaired by a representative and a senator. The representative, Jackson Canth, is his brother, and has promised that despite his connection to the president that he will remain objective. The senator, Alexandra West, has made it quite clear that she’s going to find out the truth, with or without Representative Canth’s help.

Here’s what could happen.

  • The committee finds that there was, in fact, no bribery ever attempted and that it was simply a false set of claims. No action will come out of the Congress in this scenario unless the representatives are outed, in which case they will most likely be forced to resign.
  • The committee finds that there was bribery attempted by associates of President Canth, but Canth was not aware of the attempt. This would result in criminal charges for those associated, but the president would be left untouched. However, this could easily damage his potential reelection campaign.
  • The committee finds that there was bribery attempted by associates of President Canth with Canth having knowledge of the attempts. This would result in criminal charges filed for the associates and a likely impeachment trial for President Canth unless he resigned. If the impeachment went forward, that would mean that Canth would stand trial before the Senate and the Supreme Court. If convicted, Canth would no longer be President and Vice President Wilson would assume the presidency and pick his successor as Vice President.

At this moment, it’s impossible to tell exactly how this will play out. We only have the testimony of the two representatives, who are anonymous, and as a result, no true reliable information. If the president were successfully implicated and convicted of a crime, it would be necessary to look at potential successors for the Vice President. Let’s take a look at some options.

  • Senator Alexandra West: Woah, no way. The new chairwoman is soooo unexpected- not. After all, West has already launched an exploratory committee on running for vice president, whether Wilson runs for president or not. She’s a star in the Liberty Party. She’s tough on corruption. If she succeeds with this chairmanship, she’d be perfect.
  • Senator Peeta Mellark: Go figure that he makes the list. Mellark is already a rumored presidential contender, so this would be the perfect time for Wilson to move him out of the field. He’s also very loved by Panem.
  • Secretary Celine Oswald: Another one Wilson could move out of the way for a potential run. Also, she’s been VP before, and she could feasibly do so again.
  • Governor Rosalie Descoteaux: Great governor with great experience. She’s perfect for the job.
  • Secretary Tyler Thompson: Yet another former VP that could easily fill the role again. Could be a Conservative/Liberty compromise candidate, though Liberty has no need for compromise. Also, it’s important to note he’s considering a VP run as well and has formed an exploratory committee.

EDITORIAL: About this next presidential election…

I know, I know- there’s a midterm before then. There’s races that determine the future of Panem and its districts. We don’t know how the political climate will change. I understand.

This won’t stop anyone from speculating. And with the moves being made so quickly in advance, there’s ample reason to be interested.

Sure, last election was pretty exciting. After all, how many times have we seen an election be truly contested, not have an incumbent, not have a winner from the Liberty Party, and most of all, be decided by the House? For the candidates, however, that pales in comparison to what is to come. Let’s take a little look at who might run.

From the Liberty Party:

  • Secretary and former VP Celine Oswald – At this point in time, I can say it’s pretty likely that Oswald is at least considering it, if not preparing. It isn’t as if she doesn’t have the ambition or experience to occupy the presidential mansion. It’s just that even during last election, Oswald failed to decisively declare herself frontrunner- in both the primary or general election. In all reality, there is no reason that Governor Amy Oaksmith should have given her such a run for her money, and there’s no reason that the Liberty Party should not have kept a hold on the presidency. Should she run, she should expect quite the primary (see below) and yet another contentious general election. She should also expect to be attacked on the fact she may not be electable and for her record as Secretary of State, governor of District 13, and VP.
  • Vice President Dale Wilson – It would be beyond belief if the VP didn’t make it onto this list. After all, he is Liberty’s standard-bearer. And while he seems to get along with President Canth, it’s rumored that he has reached quite a few governing disagreements with the president and may give Canth a run for his money. However, should Wilson run, he also should expect a competitive primary full of big names. He should also be ready to face attacks on his tenure as governor of District 4 and as Vice President.
  • Senator and former First Gentleman Peeta Mellark – Yet another that is quite expected to throw his hat into the ring. Senator Mellark is quite the interesting fellow with his meteoric rise in the Senate after being the longest running first spouse in Panem history. However, if Mellark runs, he should not bank simply on name recognition, considering the entire field will most likely be well-known. This field will also be out for blood, so he should expect to be attacked for his short tenure as senator and his alleged inexperience.
  • Governor Amy Oaksmith – It’s well known that Oaksmith felt cheated out of the nomination last time but sat quietly supporting the Liberty ticket in hopes for securing the nomination a second time. Out of all these candidates, expect Oaksmith to be the first declared, and the first big force to be declared. She should expect to be grilled on her governorship and on her previous run for president.
  • Governor Rosalie Descoteaux – Another well-known figure in Panem politics, the D14 governor has made it known she wants to be a national figure. While it is virtually certain that Descoteaux will run for national office, it’s uncertain if that will be president (a position she occupied on an interim basis for a time), or vice president (a position she also occupied on an interim basis and one that she ran for last election.) If she runs in either field, she should expect attacks on her record.
  • The Wildcards – And of course, there are wildcard candidates. These include: Governor Gale Hawthorne, Secretary Beetee Latier, Secretary Jonathan Madison, Secretary and former VP Tyler Thompson, Governor Trenton Escavel, Governor Bella Taylor, Governor Owen Talton, and Governor Rebecca Tarson.

From the Conservative Party:

  • President Richard Canth – Considering that he is a young incumbent, it’s ludicrous to think that he wouldn’t run again. He also has the support of his fellow party members- there has yet to be one prominent member, from mayor to senator to secretary, that wishes to challenge him for the presidential nomination. At this point, Canth seems to have avoided a competitive or even contested presidential primary. The VP primary, though, will most likely be fierce.

From the Civic Party:

  • Secretary and former president Cecelia Paylor – She’s going to run again. If she doesn’t, she’s probably dead or somewhat ill. Can she win? That depends on just how nasty the election season is and how bad the other campaigns are run. If Liberty and Conservatives take down each other, it very well could turn Paylor’s way. At this point, even if there is a contested primary, Paylor is the indisputable frontrunner.
  • The Wildcards – See Secretary Samuel Trenton and Governor Bertram Spellings. Both are more likely to run for VP, and it’s more likely Trenton will run than Spellings.

From the Labor Party:

  • Governor Thomas Stemp – He seems interested, but not ready to commit. He’s had his chances though and blown them. But hey, third time supposedly is the charm.
  • Former Governor Felicia Ren – If she runs for president again, she will win the nomination with ease. At the moment, there is no figure more prominent, more respected, and more popular in the Labor Party than that of Governor Ren. Even after last election’s dismal results, it seems that voters may be willing to take the country in a leftward direction. However, she very well may opt out of this round- she has signaled to D8 donors that she’s running to reclaim her spot as governor after a horrid election forced her out. It all depends on if she feels up to another campaign literally two years into her potential second gubernatorial term.
  • Former Senator Ophelie Murray – As much as she is a tired candidate, she will most likely run yet again. Not one that many want to see.
  • Secretary Walter Delta – Surprisingly, a formidable contender should he run. He’s well-respected now and is well-known. Keep an eye out. He’s probably going to run, but it’s unknown what for.
  • Secretary Joan Kindred – She’s going to run, and she’ll be out for blood this time after losing that nomination. She’s probably the only one able to even get remotely close to Ren if she runs.
  • The Wildcards – House Labor Leader Teraton Wendle and Senate Labor Leader Iris Canstrom are the only two other remaining prominent figures in the party, and neither of them seem interested in leaving their leadership positions

The Independents:

  • Governor Elizabeth Steinbeck- We wish it weren’t true, and yet it seems that Panem’s bountiful support for Steinbeck has convinced her to run again. Because, you know, she carried a total of zero electoral votes last time. Soooooo successful. Regardless, she’s going to run. In fact, she’s “exploring” again- do all of you remember that worthless “I’m not running, I’m just thinking” comment from last election? Let her run- Steinbeck will just learn for a second time that the only chance an independent has at winning a presidential election is when their name is Katniss Everdeen.
  • Former VP Plutarch Heavensbee – Probably won’t happen, but we’ll entertain the prospect. Heavensbee, in our opinion, would still do better than Steinbeck. Yes, even with his scandals. That’s how you know how bad Steinbeck is.
  • Former Rep. and two-time VP nominee Sextimus Dalton – Please let him run. He’ll pull votes from Steinbeck.

So, looking at the fields listed, it’s pretty clear of some things. Each party has a frontrunner so far (minus Liberty, but we’ll get to that). Labor has Ren, should she run, and if not, then Kindred will take that spot. Conservatives might as well announce that the President is their nominee again. Civic, as per the usual, will likely nominate Paylor yet again.

And then there’s Liberty. Dear old Liberty very much wants to win back the presidency they held for eight years, and it seems like the presidential primary will be even more bloody than the last one. I mean, you have Vice President Wilson vs. Vice President Oswald vs. Senator Mellark vs. Governor Oaksmith. They all have name recognition, popularity, and electability of some sort. The question is, however, who will end up on top, and which wildcard candidates will siphon off votes from which candidate.

Sen. Peeta Mellark makes splash in first term

Before becoming one of two senators for District 12, he served as First Gentleman of Panem. Before that, he was a victor of the 74th Hunger Games. People have long lauded his oratorical skills, including his politically-powerful wife, while others took bets on just how long he could stay out of politics.

Now, Peeta Mellark is making his mark on society once again. This time, his battlefield of choice is the Republic of Panem Senate.

Senator Mellark was elected during this past election in a resounding landslide- not unexpected, considering it’s in his home district of District 12. However, while analysts were correct about his immediate prominence after leaving office as First Gentleman, no one could have predicted that he would be a major player in the Senate after only a year.

Mellark first made headlines during a filibuster on a bill concerning the allocation of District 12 funds to be used in the creation of the new Capitol. He wasn’t the only politician concerned- all of District 12’s state legislature, congressional delegation, and districtwide government objected, along with former President Katniss Everdeen and other governors. Mellark filibustered the bill for a whopping twenty-nine hours straight, with the only breaks being when he briefly ceded the floor to other senators who decided to assist him in his endeavor. His speech now ranks as the longest-running speech in Panem history. The bill was defeated easily after the speech was concluded.

Obviously, Mellark’s filibuster put him on the map and sparked notions of further ambition- a leadership role perhaps, a spot as VP on a Liberty Party ticket, or dare it be said- a presidential nomination. But his landmark first year as senator was remarkable past that one speech as well.

Mellark did in fact gain a leadership role very soon after his speech. Michael Debroff (Liberty-D13), the Senate majority leader and the leader of the Liberty Party in the Senate, elevated him to the position of Senate majority whip, the second highest position in leadership. The position had been recently vacated and not been filled.

Ultimately, Senator Mellark has three options in front of him.

One: he can remain a senator and not pursue any future ambition. However, given his past, who he’s married to, who he’s associated with, and his current actions, it’s highly unlikely that Mellark will sit still when he can continue to make an impact.

Two: he can stay in the Senate as long as he is reelected and seek leadership roles. After all, he is already the number two Liberty Party senator. He’s a big name. Who is to say that he doesn’t have his eyes on both majority leader and president of the Senate pro tempore?

And three: he can move into true national politics. Sure, some would call senatorial elections “national politics,” but in District 12, it’s not. For now, it’s always an assured hold for Liberty. However, Senator Mellark could potentially become a vice presidential or presidential contender for Liberty. He would obviously be a strong pick for the nominations. Even if he doesn’t choose to do that, he could easily serve as Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the Treasury, or some other cabinet position.

In any case, keep your attention towards Senator Mellark. He’s one to keep your eyes on.