Know Your Candidates

Retraction Statement: It’s been brought to the attention of The State Times that some of the information originally posted about  the candidates was incorrect. We apologize for any inconvenience. Below is an updated version of the original article.

Rebecca Pollard, Culture Editor

Cheyenne Dorsagno, Copy Editor

“Voting is among our most fundamental domestic responsibilities and important civic opportunities. Without free and open elections, American democracy would not exist.”

These are the first words that appear on the United States Census Bureau’s “Population Characteristics” web page. Voting is a privilege that many Americans historically have fought for, and if not for their triumphs, many of us would not be allowed to participate in the upcoming 2016 presidential election. However, despite the common knowledge that voting is the responsibility of every U.S. citizen and a privilege of democracy, college-aged people are among the lowest voting demographic.

In the 2004 election, 23.8 percent of all voters were between the ages of 18 and 34. In the most recent election, that number dropped to just 16.2 percent of all voters. Everyone can come up with some excuse as to why they personally chose not to vote – it was a busy day, they didn’t know enough about the candidates to make a decision, or perhaps they’re one of the masses who believes that their vote doesn’t make a difference. It’s easy to get caught up in our young-adult lives and forget entirely about the outside world. With papers, tests, jobs, and our social lives, who has time to worry about politics, right? Wrong.

Some would chalk up the diminishing voter graphic of 18 to 34 year olds to pure laziness. With the internet nearly constantly at our fingertips, there’s almost no excuse for not knowing who the presidential candidates are, nor for not beginning to form your own opinion on some of the candidates and their policies. In case you’re one of the many who’s been void of all presidential candidate knowledge, here’s a quick overview of who is still in the running for your November 2016 presidential election.

There are only two democrats still in the running for President. Displayed below are their names, along with the first paragraph of their bio taken from each’s presidential campaign website:

1. “Bernie Sanders is a Democratic candidate for President of the United States. In 2006, he was elected to the U.S. Senate after 16 years as Vermont’s sole congressman in the House of Representatives. Bernie is now serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote.”

Some quick Sander highlights are that he opposes the death penalty, he supports abortion rights, he supports action on climate change, and he would like to make current gun control regulations stricter.

2. “Hillary Clinton has served as secretary of state, senator from New York, first lady of the United States, first lady of Arkansas, a practicing lawyer and law professor, activist, and volunteer—but the first thing her friends and family will tell you is that she’s never forgotten where she came from or who she’s been fighting for.”

Clinton highlights include that she would like to make stricter gun control laws, she is for creating a path to citizenship for currently illegal immigrants, she supports action on climate change, and supports abortion rights.

There are six republicans currently in the running for President. Displayed below are their names, along with the first paragraph of their bio taken from each’s presidential campaign website:

1. “Ben Carson had a childhood dream of becoming a physician. But growing up poor in a single-parent household in Detroit with bad grades and a horrible temper, the statistics were certainly not in his favor.”

Carson intends to make a path for some illegal immigrants to be able to legally stay in America, believes in upholding the Second Amendment, doesn’t see climate change as a reason to “not develop our own God-given natural resources,” and would like to make abortion completely illegal, with no granted exceptions.

2. “Ted Cruz: Throughout his entire life, Ted Cruz has proven to be a passionate and effective fighter for limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution. Ted’s calling to public service has been inspired by his first-hand observation of the pursuit of freedom and opportunity in America. Ted’s mother, Eleanor, was born in Delaware to an Irish and Italian working-class family. She became the first in her family to go to college, graduated from Rice University with a degree in mathematics, and became a pioneering computer programmer in the 1950s.”

Cruz is a supporter of the death penalty, opposed to abortion with no exceptions, doubts man-made climate change, and opposes any new restrictions on gun control.

3. “When John Kasich thinks about the future, he thinks about his twin 16-year old daughters, Emma and Reese. What legacy will we leave them? As they’ve done in Ohio as Governor and First Lady, John and Karen Kasich will work hard in Washington to build a better America for the next generation.”

Kasich would like to create a path for illegal immigrants to be able to stay in the country legally, opposes new restrictions on gun control, opposes regulations put on companies to help climate change, and is pro-life. Kasich recently signed a bill to cut state funds from Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform “nontheraputic abortions.” The bill pardons abortions that must be performed in the cases of rape, incest, and preserving the mother’s life.

4. “Marco Rubio: The lives of Marco’s parents were forever changed in 1956 when they came to America from Cuba. Early on, Mario and Oria Rubio struggled being in the United States and wondered whether they had made the right decision. But in the decades that followed, America proved to be that shining city on the hill as they worked their way into the middle class and were able to provide opportunities for their children that had previously been out of reach.”

Rubio supports the death penalty, opposes abortion with no exceptions, opposes new restrictions on gun control, and doubts that climate change is man-made.

5. “Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence while expanding his interests in real estate, sports and entertainment. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance. An accomplished author, Mr. Trump has authored over fifteen bestsellers, and his first book, The Art of the Deal, is considered a business classic and one of the most successful business books of all time.”

Trump would like to deport undocumented immigrants, opposes new restrictions on gun control, doesn’t fully believe that climate change is man-made (and therefor does not plan to take action on climate change), and is pro-life.

Throughout the next nine months, each of these candidates will be participating in debates, interviews, and giving numerous speeches in hopes of raising support for their campaign. Keep in mind that if you’re not following their campaigns, you lose the right to join in discussions about the presidential election. The only thing worse than someone intensely defending their political opinion is someone intensely defending a political opinion on an issue they know nothing about. Now is a great time to begin following your favorites, and forming an opinion on who you think would be best suited to run America.

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