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US election word of the week: front-runner

 © PhotoDiscIn this series we are looking at some of the language and terminology associated with the US electoral process in the run-up to the Presidential election in late 2016. This week’s word is front-runner.

Until last week, the front-runners in the contest for the US Presidential nominations were Donald Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats. While Ted Cruz’s decision to drop out of the race means Trump is now his party’s presumptive nominee, Clinton continues to inch closer to the prize, still some way short of the number of delegates she needs to be certain of victory.

The use of the term front-runner (also often written frontrunner) is consistent with the way political contests are talked about in terms of sporting competitions: candidates run for election, they are ahead or behind in the race, Presidential candidates choose a running mate (originally a horse that is entered into a race in order not to win but to set the pace for another horse from the same stable that is expected to win).

Look out for the next post in this series. You can find past posts on the language of American politics here and here, or search for other posts in this series using the tag US politics.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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