Hannah Ensley, Editor
April 8, 2016
The presidential election of 2016 has, without a doubt, been one of the hottest topics of the year. With such a broad spectrum of candidates, the people of America are bombarded with campaigns and avid supporters on all sides. Regardless of who you like and what party you’re affiliated with, I believe it is crucial to understand what the candidates stand for, and that we need information free of clever campaigns and mudslinging politics. This is our country, this is our future. And we deserve to know exactly who we are voting into power.
As a quick disclaimer, there is a myriad of issues that the candidates have taken a position on but I chose to explain a few that I believe are important to our generation. So, let’s begin with our republican candidate, Donald J. Trump. On financial matters, Trump wants to grow the economy by 6% annually by ending inversions, and he aims to bring jobs back from foreign countries. He wants to cut certain government departments, such as the Department of Education, Environmental Protection, and even the military, stating that he will build a better military for less money. On education, Trump claims that student loans should not be forgiven, but steps should be taken to help students pay these off, and he disapproves of the federal government profiting from these loans. He strongly dislikes Common Core, using it as support for his plans to cut the Department of Education. He has also stated that he is a firm believer in school competition, and reasons that it would force schools to become better. As for his stance on environmental issues, Trump has been very adamant about cutting the EPA, even going so far as to call them a “disgrace”. When asked what we would do without their environmental regulations he responded, “We’ll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.” He does not support trophy hunting, as shown when asked to respond to his sons’ defending the killing of Cecil the lion. He states, “My sons love hunting. They’re hunters and they’ve become good at it. I am not a believer in hunting and I’m surprised they like it.” He also claims that he does not “buy into” the fact that global warming is caused by carbon emissions, and calls green energy “ just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.” When asked about gun control, Trump said there should be no limitations on who can buy the weapons.
On to our democratic candidates! Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State and former First Lady, states that she is for green energy. She wants to “generate enough renewable energy to power every home in america, with half a billion solar panels installed by her first term”. She advocates for CAP and trade systems for reducing air pollution. According to Hillary’s website, she wants to cut emissions of methane by 40-45%. On education, her vision is a system where students would contribute earnings toward their higher education while families also contribute based on their financial ability. The federal government would make a major investment as well, for states that commit to funding goals. She also states that community colleges would be free. She is for strengthening background checks on gun buyers, and tightening “dangerous loopholes in the current system”. In addition, she wants to “hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable”. She also supports reinstating the assault weapons ban. On issues of the economy, she is for raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour. She also has a plan to give a 15% tax credit to companies that share profits with their employees in addition to their salary. She also wants to reform the tax code so “the wealthiest pay their fair share”.
Last but not least, we have Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders has been in government for 30 plus years, and has been a mayor, congressman, and senator. On environmental issues, Sanders believes that the US should lead the international community to combat climate change. He wants to invest in clean, sustainable energy while transitioning away from fossil fuels. Lastly, he is in favor of overhaul our electric and transportation system, specifically investing in mass transit and electric vehicle charging structures. Economically, he does not support any free trade agreements, stating that he believes they do not create US jobs. His economic policy focuses on reducing income and wealth inequality. To do this, he has proposed increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2020. He advocates for the wealthy and large corporations to pay “their fair share” of taxes, and seeks to stop corporations from sheltering their profits overseas to avoid taxes. On gun control, Sanders feels that “people have the right to buy guns with sensible regulations”. His signature platform for education is making college tuition free at public universities. He also wants to stop the federal government from making profit off of student loans, and wants to allow people with existing college debts to refinance with today’s lower interest rates. To pay for his plan, he proposes implementing a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators.
So, now you are armed with all of this knowledge about our candidates. “But Hannah,” you might ask, “what do I do with this knowledge?” Well, that’s up to you. Whether you’re eligible to vote or not, your voice still matters, and it’s important to know what’s happening in the world. After all, if you don’t know, how can you change it?