In barely twenty three months, Barack Obama''s second term as America''s 44th president comes to an end
By Moses Walubiri & Agencies
In barely twenty three months, Barack Obama's second term as America's 44th president comes to an end.
Before his awe inspiring inauguration in 2009, the prospect of a black man taking a shot at America's highest office was at best inconceivable and at worst sacrilegious despite talk of equality in America's declaration of independence (1776).
"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," Thomas Jefferson's famous words in the declaration of independence read.
Yet for 233 years, only white Christian men could aspire for the presidency, with women gaining suffrage in 1920 and blacks 35 years later.
As a testament that his presidency has verily broken the glass ceiling, women and Latinos are among potential contenders to succeed Obama. Below, we chronicle some of them although none has declared their intentions.
Hillary Clinton (Democrat)
If she throws her hat in the ring and wins the presidential poll next year, Hillary Rodham Clinton would have joined an exclusive club of six former Secretaries of State to ascend to the presidency.
This prestigious club has Thomas Jefferson as its member, America's first Secretary of State who went on to become its third president.
But a former first lady, Clinton, an alumni of Yale Law School, will seek to break the proverbial glass ceiling by becoming the first female president of the US. She served two terms as US senator representing New York.
Ted Cruz (Republican)
A former domestic policy advisor to President George Bush, the 44 year old is the first Latino to hold the office of US Senator from Texas.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (L) and Governor Greg Abbott hold a joint press conference February 18, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Erich Schlegel/Getty Images/AFP
Ted Cruz is seen by many Republicans as a rising political star despite his membership to the divisive Tea Party faction of the Republican Party.
The former Associate Deputy Attorney General is an accomplished lawyer and adjunct professor of Law at the Texas School of Law where he taught US Supreme Court litigation (2004-2009) before joining politics.
However, according to political pundits like Tom Murse, "Cruz is considered a divisive figure in the US politics, an ideological purist whose resistance to compromise on key principles makes him a popular figure among Tea Party Republicans but alienate him from main stream members of the party."
To political US connoisseurs, Cruz's realistic chances of mounting a serious challenge for the White House can only be realized if he tones down on his fiery rhetoric and rigidity that appeals only to the radical Tea Party members.
Marco Rubio (Republican)
Since Obama broke the glass ceiling in 2008, Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American, has been touted as a potential contender to become the first Latino to become president of the US.
The 43 year old senator from Florida and a former State House Speaker is a popular figure, whose willingness to compromise on issues close to the hearts of main stream Americans has earned him political kudos.
One such issue is on illegal immigration – an issue that Republicans have been reluctant to compromise on with the Obama administration.
Rubio has called upon government to find ways of accommodating those living illegally in the US.
In the wake of Mitt Romney's puny attempt to wrest the White House from Obama, Rubio risked the wrath of Republicans when he authored a treatise calling upon party's top brass to reconsider their rigid position on illegal immigrants.
Nicknamed the 'Latino Obama', the 40 year old Julian Castro is the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Before he took on his current docket, Castro served three terms as mayor of San Antonio, Texas, from 2009 to 2014.
Castro has stuck out his head above the parapet in opposition to the strict crackdown on illegal immigrants in state like Arizona – an issue that is a staple of all major political contests in the US.
An Alumni of Stanford University, Castro was chosen to give the key note speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 – the first Hispanic to do so in Democratic Party history.
For pundits, the decision by organizers of the convention to choose Castro was symbolic given the fact that the Hispanic community is one of the fastest growing in the US.
Castro is credited for helping Obama garner a substantial portion of Hispanic votes in his 2012 re-election battle with Romney.
Elizabeth Warren (Democrat)
The 65 year Elizabeth Warren is an academic and a senator from Massachusetts.
After spending a considerable part of her adult life as an academic – specializing in Bankruptcy law at Harvard University – Warren made heads to turn when she defeated Republican Scot Brown for the Massachusetts seat that had for decades been held by Democratic Party stalwart, Ted Kennedy.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a hearing before Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee February 10, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP
Warren has served the Obama administration as a special adviser to the Consumer Protection Bureau.
Warren who was given a prominent speaking role at the 2012 National Democratic Convention has been voted twice by Time magazine as one of Time 100 most prominent people in the world.
Chris Christie (Republican)
The 52 year old is the 55th Governor of New Jersey and a popular figure across all 'constituencies' in the Republican party.
A lawyer, Christie, according to Tom Murse, seems to tick all boxes for many constituencies that normally determine party primaries and presidential polls.
Among independents, Christie is popular for his plainspoken character yet his conservative nature has earned him 'iconic' status among Tea Party supporters.
In the 2012 race for the White House, Christie was touted to be Mitt Romney choice for running mate, before the former Governor of Massachusetts zeroed in on Paul Ryan.
However, when it appeared that Obama's re-election campaign was floundering, Christie riled Republican supporters when he inadvertently handled the incumbent a lifeline.
When Hurricane Sandy 'flattened' New Jersey, both Obama and Romney put a lull to the campaigns as rescue operations took center stage.
It was during these operations that Christie, as New Jersey Governor, appeared in public with Obama during storm clean-up efforts.
From an incumbent who had been portrayed as not in charge, the storm cleanup efforts saw Obama's rating pickup – a momentum he maintained to the finishing line.
Jeb Bush (Republican)
A former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush is the younger brother of former president George W. Bush and son of former president, George H. W Bush.
Although he declined to throw his hat in the ring for 2012 primaries, there is a groundswell among Republicans that the party requires a candidate with his clout to end the Democrat's eight year stint at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
However, although the young Bush has not confirmed his candidature in Republican primaries, his entry will prove to be a double edged sword.
Despite the advantages that will come with the connections and clout of the Bush political dynasty, his name has the baggage of the odium associated with his elder brother's disastrous hawkish foreign policy that saw America get mired in an avoidable Iraq war.
Possible successors to Obama