By Hira Shahbaz
Hello, future voter! It’s that time of the decade again where the good citizens of the United States of America collectively decide on who should be our new leader, and seeing how this election season has been one giant crazy bus that has no idea that brakes are an invention, it’s safe to say that all of us are a little bit worried about the outcome. So it stands to reason that the more informed the voter, the less chance of a spectacular crash we may most probably end up in.
This is the first year millennials are getting the chance to vote so I better see you standing at those polls (or turning in an absentee ballot like I have to) changing our country for the better. Because if you don’t, here’s a complete breakdown of all the Presidential candidates’ stance on some important topics to convince you that yes, your vote does matter.
Note: I am going to try to be as unbiased as possible in giving you the facts, but even still I want you to visit the links below just in case I sound like I’m leaning more towards one candidate than the other. I hope you gain enough information to make that fateful decision on November 8th.
Gary Johnson, Libertarian: Just so that we’re all on the same page, I like to define broad terms such as libertarianism. This idea encompasses the belief that our federal government shouldn’t be involved in making big decisions regarding our economy, and that it should try to stick its nose into it as little as possible. He’s open-minded about some topics like funding Planned Parenthood but takes a more controversial stance on others like the famous Citizens United case which said that “corporations are people.” Keep that in mind, he’s a tricky dude.
Pros: One of the main things he emphasizes is the empowerment of the individual and his freedoms – through supporting policies like drug legalization and free trade, and the near complete withdrawal of the government from the market; he wants to establish a laissez-faire government (a government that is minimally involved in any type of regulation) which means getting rid of a lot of government departments such as the Departments of Education, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development. He has a pretty extensive tax plan but he essentially wants to implement something called FairTax which calls for slashing taxes immensely, basically eliminating all types of taxes like income and corporate taxes and replacing them with one federal consumption tax. It’s got a lot of benefits like creating jobs and boosting economic growth, but it’s a risky maneuver. One thing he is adamant about is having no intervention in foreign affairs; defunding foreign military aid and focusing on domestic problems is his concern. Lastly, he feels abortion is wholly a woman’s right and decision.
Cons: When companies inevitably do go under the government won’t bail them out but there’s no telling to what extent that might hurt the US economy. He supports corporate growth through more privatization. Huge companies will have even less restrictions than before so starting up small businesses will get much harder. He’ll cut social welfare benefits like Social Security and doesn’t believe free college is worth the cost to the economy.
Controversial stances: pro-gun rights, repealing Obamacare
Yeah, he’s also a bit of a weirdo.
He thought he could get away with this on TV but I guess he didn’t count on the Internet’s ability to sniff out anything even remotely incriminating.
Here’s a good website that summarizes what his party believes in: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/281399-5-things-the-libertarian-party-stands-for
Jill Stein, Green: “Clean Up America” is the slogan for Stein’s Green party. It focuses on the environment and what we can do to help out this Earth we live in and reverse some of the damage humans have done to it, and includes a detailed plan on how to achieve that, unlike other candidates. She believes in dispensing justice and is strongly against the torture and inhumane treatment of human beings, regardless of what side they’re on. Her plans are ambitious but her heart’s in the right place.
Pros: Her main focus is to halt global climate change and discontinue the usage of fossil fuels. She bases a lot of her policies on switching to clean, renewable energy and protecting the Earth, including extensive research and implementation into new types of energy. Preserving the national parks and public areas is one of her priorities. She advocates for labeling GM foods until proven safe, encouraging the sale and consumption of organic foods. In terms of foreign policy she is much like Johnson: cut military spending and don’t get involved with foreign affairs. She is also very big humanitarian movements – stopping inhumane treatments of prisoners, both domestic and foreign, and huge reformation of the police system in the US. Similar to Sanders, she wants easier access to healthcare for everyone.
Cons: Though she has a rough plan for compensation switching workers between energy industries creates a loss of jobs and for a time we might be facing a high unemployment rate, which could mess up the economy quite a bit; it’s gonna be rough moving all those jobs. Her radical stances may be too unrealistic for her to get elected, so she may have to compromise a lot to appease the majority of voters especially with her renewable energy policies, but thanks to Sanders popularizing progressive movements like these the compromises may not be so bad. When asked about details on her policies besides energy, however, she always gives vague answers which don’t give us much confidence.
Controversial stances: writing off student loans
I guess you could take a look at her album, too. For an insight into what she truly, passionately believes in… or if you like obscure 90’s rock.
I like it, okay?
Here’s more detail on all of those points: http://www.jill2016.com/platform
Hillary Clinton, Democrat: There’s no denying Senator Clinton is the highest ranking candidate qualified for this job despite all the controversy surrounding her. Her career spans over thirty years working as a First Lady, Senator for New York, and Secretary of State, a position specializing in foreign affairs. She’s made some unpopular decisions in the past regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but she’s become more reserved in this election. She feels engaged diplomacy and activity on the global stage is the best way to maintain our prominent position. Largely influenced by Sanders, some think that she says all these things to get the popular vote, coupled by a surprising amount of scandals accused in her name. Her policies might convince you over her good intent, but working in a predominantly male, constantly judgmental, misogynistic environment tends to take a toll on your cheery personality.
Pros: She agrees on a lot of issues from Sanders’ platform such as universal health care, raising taxes on the rich and establishing debt-free college. Gun control background checks are to keep guns off the streets, not to restrict our 2nd amendment freedoms. In addition to raising the minimum wage to $12, her budget plan will create 10 million more jobs. She vows to work on Obamacare and expand government welfare projects like Social Security and Medicare. Making immigration and citizenship easier for those coming into the country as well as those born in the US from non-citizens. Mass incarceration has gone too far, and the police needs reform to better protect all American people.
Cons: She’s definitely hesitant on stopping fracking – as long as it obeys regulation – but still wants the US to be the #1 clean energy superpower and opposes building the Keystone Pipeline. The only mention of American Muslims has been in reference to them being “our eyes and ears for the American frontlines,” as if every Muslim possesses some inside knowledge to be taken advantage of. Her eagerness to engage in foreign affairs can be seen as “too interventionist,” even though she has cut back on foreign interference it says a lot about her opinion on how eager she wants the US to be prominent.
Controversies: dodges questions on emails, ambivalent on Big Bank regulation reform, huge amounts of money backing her
Her official site: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/
Donald Trump, Republican: There’s not a lot you can say about Trump since the media has already said it all, but if we’re trying to be impartial here there’s one thing we can say about Trump: he’s unique. And he can be unique in that the Republican Party has repeatedly stated Trump does not accurately represent their beliefs, or that Trump is running for a political office even though he has no experience whatsoever, or that Trump is an absurdly-honest and confident individual that’s a breath of peculiar air from shifty politics. He leans slightly libertarian; since he is a businessman, he’d like a free market with less regulation. And yet, many people vote for him because he symbolizes the retaliation to the established order that is our increasingly inexcusable government.
Pros: He speaks to the Americans who are scared, and more importantly disappointed with how previous governments threw their country into the mess it’s in today, and he does that by being especially tough on ISIS and willing to go the extra mile to keep the American people safe. He speaks the truth that everyone is unwilling to voice, with a confidence that’s hard to beat. To help boost the economy, he wants to reduce outsourcing of industries and factories and bring them back into the US, increasing domestic spending and creating an abundance of new jobs as well as sustaining old ones such as the coal industry. His distrust of government officials pushes him for greater term limits on Congress.
Cons: He’s just a businessman, and a bad one at that; he has held no political office or has had any experience at all in political matters. On the big topics, his policies are almost the opposite of Clinton’s: general exceptions include the war on terror and Social Security and most of his stances are based on subjective reasoning instead of hard political circumstance. Diplomacy isn’t his strong suit so foreign relations may be tenuous at first. Increased surveillance among the American people will create more distrust instead of alleviating it.
Controversies: NAFTA trade agreement, numerous scandals
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/political-issues/. This article compares Clinton and Trump on the issues in an easy to read format.
I picked out the biggest, most relevant topics but that’s a short list of what our four candidates’ platforms are. Buckle up, and say your du’as at the polling booths!
If you would like to get more involved with Submissions or would like to submit a piece, please fill out this form.