If you're a presidential candidate, you're probably more concerned with getting votes than eating healthy this time of year (although, if you're Donald Trump, you might be doing both, so enjoy your two-birds-one-stone moment while you can). The now 15 remaining candidates for president have a big year ahead of them — whether their campaigns last another few weeks or the majority of 2016. What better way to kick off what could be the biggest year of their lives than with New Year's resolutions worthy of presidential candidates?
For some of the candidates, particularly on the Republican side, the goal could simply be to amass more than a few percentage points in the polls. For others, it could be to land the vice presidential spot on their party's ticket. For the leading, big-name candidates, though, they should be looking to reactively turn one of their most damaging weaknesses in 2015 into a strength and to proactively stop doing one of the things that could get them into trouble in 2016. (Here's hoping someone got Trump that filter he's been missing for Christmas.) Of course, they can all consider eating healthier and finding better ways to manage their time, too.
Donald Trump: Think Before You Speak
Republican frontrunner Trump is clearly thinking ahead toward next year, but perhaps he should be thinking about what he says before he says it. Since launching his campaign this summer, Trump has found himself in hot water for attacking Latinos, making comments with sexist implications, and proposing a ban on allowing Muslims to enter the country, among other things. Trump is leading in the polls, so maybe the "ask for forgiveness, not permission" strategy is working for him, but taking the high road every now and then would be a welcome adjustment.
Jeb Bush: Speak Up More
For a member of one of the most recognizable political dynasties in the country, Jeb Bush has struggled to earn that exclamation point in his campaign logo. On many of the primetime debate stages, he has been overpowered by the larger-than-life personalities that surround him. Bush was a hands-down favorite heading into the 2015 campaign season, but as we approach 2016, he has landed somewhere in the middle of the pack with just 4.4 percent in the polls on average — perhaps it's because people just can't hear him or believe him over the powerful voices like those of Trump, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie.
Hillary Clinton: Cut Down On Emails
Most working professionals probably think they should clean up their email inboxes, but Hillary Clinton has more reason to do so than all of them combined. Clinton's email scandal consumed her campaign for much of the year, as she answered for her choice to use a private email address during her time as secretary of state. Clinton remains in the lead on the Democratic side of the race, and the email scandal seems to be behind her for the most part, but should she win the election(s), it would probably be wise to stick with a government email address.
Bernie Sanders: Watch Out For Data Breaches
Earlier in December, the Sanders campaign was hit with a digital scandal of its own when some of his staffers had accessed the Clinton campaign's private data without authorization. Sanders turned the problem around on the Democratic National Committee, saying that the DNC withheld access to Sanders' own data in order to give Clinton an advantage. It was impressive how quickly Sanders' campaign turned the tables on the DNC, but the story certainly threw a wrench into his campaign, which was already struggling to compete with Clinton.
Ben Carson: Mix Things Up
Carson is a doctor running for president, meaning his resume doesn't naturally scream "I am ready to be commander-in-chief." Carson has struggled to make a name for himself in certain issues, particularly national security. Rather, he has stuck to his comfortable message about family values, even when the opportunity to assert himself in other topics arises. Perhaps in 2016, Carson can look beyond those usual refrains to expand his appeal among Republican voters who are increasingly concerned about the threat from terrorist groups like ISIS.
Carly Fiorina: Look Beyond Clinton
As the only woman on the Republican side of the race, Fiorina has developed the noticeable habit of referencing her Democratic counterpart, Clinton, whenever she can — always with a negative message, of course. No, she's not the only Republican candidate to attack Clinton; she and Trump have that habit in common. With Fiorina, though, it sometimes seems like she attacks Clinton more than she talks about her own priorities for advancing women's rights as president. The Republican Party has struggled to relate to women in recent elections, and Fiorina should be doing everything she can to turn that around, in a respectful manner.
All The Candidates: Stop Complaining About Debate Speaking Times
The debate stages have been more crowded than normal this time around, and competition for speaking time has gotten fierce. The candidates have, on several occasions, complained that they didn't get a fair amount of time to speak during the cutthroat debates. I don't know about you, but I'd rather they use that time to say what they came there to say, rather than ask the moderators for more opportunities to speak.
No matter which side of the aisle they fall on, all of the remaining candidates are focused on a similar goal this time of year, and it ends on Pennsylvania Avenue. New Year's resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep, but if the candidates can stay on track, they could earn the biggest job in the country.