Every presidential campaign has personality that mirrors the state of the nation. How did this year's election cycle compare to previous years? Here's a look at the major elections from Obama's first term to the current candidates.

The race in 2008

Then, Sentator Barack Obama came into the 2008 presidential race virtually unknown. He was a young, fresh, junior Senator from Chicago and the first serious African-American candidate to run for president. His Democratic opponent was current presidential candidate, #Hillary Clinton and his Republican opposition was John McCain. Clinton and Obama ran a brutal campaign against each other, but Obama ultimately bested Clinton with his message of hope and change and general likability.

When the final battle between Obama and McCain ensued, it was all but a done deal. Supporters voted for Obama because of his message and opponents voted for Obama because his Vice Presidential choice wasn't Sarah Palin. In a show of solidarity, he even offered the job of Secretary of State to Clinton, which made the country love him more. 

No competition in 2012

The next test for Obama was his campaign for re-election in 2012. He had enjoyed four years virtually scandal-free with an impressive approval rating slightly below 50%. His Republican rival was Massachussetts governor Mitt Romney. Obama once again easily won due to his overall likability and on the strength of his debates against Romney.

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The Republican candidate came off as stiff, unapproachable and some times mean, constantly going on the attack against Obama. However the President lived up to his nickname, No Drama Obama and bested Romney easily. In his victory speech, Obama said, "America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government." The country seemed to be on the right track.

2016: A rehash of 2008

This brings us to the current 2016 presidential race. Once again, Hillary Clinton is running for office and news sites have already declared that she has secured the Democratic presidential nomination after her primary win in California earlier this week. This makes her the first serious female presidential candidate to do so. Meanwhile Democratic opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is pledging his support to Clinton, all the while refusing to drop out of the race.

Republicans, on the other hand, are in a tailspin trying to decide whether or not to support their candidate #Donald Trump in favor of Hillary Clinton, even though they generally agree that Trump is bigot who they do not want representing their party. So, you have a historic Democratic presidential candidate (Clinton) versus an insanely unlikable candidate (Trump). Substitute the name Clinton for Obama and Trump for Palin and you've got the 2008 presidential election all over again. 

The difference is in 2008, there was an air of optimism and activism that had not been seen since the Kennedy administration. Currently, there is an air of cynicism mixed with optimism. The country is excited to see it's first serious female presidential candidate, but it also seems divided and willing to vote for Clinton because she's not Trump. Sanders has tapped into the hope and change rhetoric that propelled Obama to victory, but it hasn't translated into votes for him. For that matter, Obama also seems to be different. He met with Sanders earlier this week as he has met with opponents and dignitaries before, but instead of being gracious, he publicly endorsed Clinton's campaign. To be fair, Obama did wait for Clinton to clinch the nomination before endorsing her, but he still could have waited a day so as not to embarrass Sanders. So, what you have is a hotly contested battle with two polarizing candidates fueled by passionate voters. It sounds like every election since the beginning of time.

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