The 2016 presidential election is upon us. With early voting starting, many of us are now beginning to make one of the most important political decisions of our lives, and for a lot of us, the choice is proving to be arduous. The two major candidates running to become the next commander in chief of our nation, may very well be two of the most disliked individuals in the country. This, of course, poses a variety of new problems for our voters, but more than that, both candidates have a laundry list of reasons to avoid, or not vote for them. How do we weigh these options, and how do we sift through all of the propaganda to make the best, educated decision we can make as a voter? Well first, I think we take a step back and focus on the issues. For the moment, at least, let us take an unbiased look at what each candidate stands for, and then after, we can proceed to further examine other motivations for voting one candidate or another. That is how I intend to structure this post. I will outline the candidate’s positions and statements about impending issues and their plans to support us for a better America, and also possibly help to weigh any personal affairs or other drawbacks of either individual.
Let’s start with Donald Trump. The most unlikely of the two candidates, Trump has taken the political scene by storm, and for better or for worse, he has received unmatched recognition for his bold statements about not only the state of the union, but how he plans on going about repairing it. All of the outrageous, radical comments aside, let’s take a look at the issues first. Donald Trump is the, self-proclaimed business guru. The financial expert with the, once again self-proclaimed, business and negotiation expertise to “put America back in the winner’s circle”. To accomplish this goal, Trump’s economic plans are as follows. Donald Trump first plans to reform taxes in America, by offering “an across the board income tax reduction.” This, he says, “will lead to millions of new good-paying jobs.” He believes in eliminating loopholes that big businessman, like himself, have taken advantage of for many years, at the expense of hard-working, middle class Americans. He believes firmly in doing everything in his power to create many more good-paying jobs for working Americans. Donald Trump is in favor of many of the newer age civil rights and equality movements we have created. He is very adamant about his support for women’s rights, especially in the workplace, even despite what some of his comments or actions might offer to the contrary. He is now in full support of gay marriage rights and is opposed to discrimination in any form, after being on the flip-side of the issue in 2011. Abortion is another issue that Trump has changed his opinion on multiple times, but as of 2016, Donald Trump is pro-life. Donald Trump believes in letting schools compete when it comes to education. He believes in cutting funding from the department of education and is opposed to the Common Core Standards Initiative. Donald Trump has developed the idea that we should “build a wall along our southern border and make Mexico pay for it.” This idea came about as a possible solution to all of the negative effects he believes immigration is having on our nation’s economy and societies in general. He is opposed to the United States excessive involvement in other country’s dilemmas. Donald Trump is also quite adamant about protecting our second amendment rights. He is opposed though, to allowing anyone on a terrorist watch list to acquire firearms. He believes the root cause of mass shootings is not the guns, but rather due to a large mental health problem. Finally, Donald Trump is opposed to the Affordable Care Act, and believes in repealing and replacing it. These are his positions on the issues, and now we can move on to what we are all probably quite a bit more familiar with, the controversy. Throughout this campaign, Donald Trump has become the physical embodiment, the literal epitome, of the word controversial. He has made various statements, from saying that “when Mexico sends its people, their sending their worst…” to making comments of a sexist connotation to reporters and to many, many other women. From saying he could commit murder and maintain his supporters, to throwing insults to anyone who opposed him, without any signs of self-control or remorse. Donald Trump called for a “complete shutdown on Muslims entering the country”, and was openly in support of a punishment for abortions. Donald Trump has called for the killing of families of terrorists, and most recently has stated that he may not accept the results of the election if he does not win, which is a clear threat to democracy as we know it. Recently, an audio of Trump speaking in 2005 was released, which has him bragging about being able to sexually assault and take advantage of women because of his wealth and power. Unfortunately, this is only a few of many more controversies Donald Trump has started in the past year or more, and this is likely just a part of the presidential candidate that you must come to terms with, if you wish for him to become commander in chief.
Next, we will take a look at Hillary Clinton. Hillary has quite the political resume, and possibly more experience in social service than any candidate in our nation’s recent history. She has served as one of the most politically active first lady’s ever, U.S. Senator (2001-2009), and Secretary of State (2009-2013). This prior experience renders her exceptionally qualified and adequately prepared to accept the awesome responsibility that always comes with becoming the President of the United States of America. Now to the issues. Economically, Hillary is opposed to the “trickle-down” system. She wants to create more jobs for middle and lower class individuals and is in agreement with most conservative republicans of today, in that she acknowledges the immense importance of the national debt issue. Clinton is a very adamant supporter of women’s rights and equality for all Americans. She is in favor of anti-discrimination laws, and believes in fighting systematic racism in education and employment. Clinton is an unwavering supporter of buffing education and doing everything we can to support and fund the systems that help to encourage the growth and thriving of our nation’s youth in an ever-changing society. Hillary is opposed to Donald Trump’s ideas on foreign policy, but it is not clear her exact plans for securing borders and handling illegal immigration. Hillary believes in making gun control laws stricter, by closing loopholes that allow people to acquire guns who should not own firearms, and placing bans and limitations on round capacity and the type of weapons Americans are permitted to obtain. Hillary is in support of a universal, subsidized health care system, and openly backs President Obama for initiating the Affordable Care Act. These are Hillary Clinton’s positions on the issues. Now, as we all know, Hillary has become quite a controversial figure herself over the years. She has been involved in one of the largest ongoing scandals of our time. This is the Clinton email controversy. An FBI investigation found that Clinton had used a private email server to send and receive work-related emails, some of which containing classified information. This was investigated by the FBI, and it was concluded that there was most likely not enough evidence or proof of intent to reasonably attempt to press charges against the former Secretary of State. Throughout her political career, Hillary has had to endure relentless accusations and defamation attempts, whether it was about the actions that her husband and former president, Bill Clinton,took while in office, the death of Vince Foster, filegate, whitewater, Benghazi, controversy around the Clinton Foundation or any one of the other numerous scandals. Hillary has undeniably been exposed as someone who has told many lies, some to cover up more of her lies, and someone who has been consistently deceptive and possibly corrupt. These truths about Hillary are likely a part of her that you must come to terms with if you wish to elect her to be the next Commander in Chief of our nation.
This, of course, is only scratching the surface of all the differing ideas and reform that these candidates embody, and all of the controversies that circle them. But the central idea of this post is not to educate on every single issue, but rather to remind and reinforce the ever-growing responsibilities that we all sustain in a changing America. This year’s election is possibly one of the most important that America has undergone in decades. As always, our decision will bring along massive implications and potential outcomes that come with electing a new Commander in Chief for The United States, but even more so with this election. The 2016 election has seemingly strayed from a quintessential American presidential election. The political rhetoric has predominately become to be comprised of personal insults and degrading remarks, and not necessarily pertaining to the issues that the American people need addressed. This is exactly what we must stand up against in 2016. As Americans, we must demand that the democratic process work in our favor, and to our needs alone, as it should. Democracy is built on the idea of using elected officials to represent and fight for the best interest of the governed body, and this is what we must demand. The current political system continues to work in the favor of those with money and power, and in favor of the kind of demeaning rhetoric that we have experienced all too much of in the ongoing election of 2016. It is for these reasons that we, as Americans, should stand up for our right to be adequately represented, and take on this immense responsibility to make the most educated decision we possibly can. When making this difficult choice, we must also take into account the millions of lives that will be directly affected by our decision. So for the future of the greatest nation on earth, go vote. And vote, not only on the how the issues might affect you or your peers, but vote on how the issues might affect the futures of children, young adults, and all hard-working, middle and lower class Americans who make up the majority in this country.
Photo Attribution: By Krassotkin (derivative), Gage Skidmore (Donald Trump), Gage Skidmore (Hillary Clinton) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons