The presidential primaries have begun and are fast approaching in many states. People, especially those in the younger demographic, often do not vote because they see politicians as a bunch of old, primarily white men, arguing with one another. Although it may seem like voting can’t really change anything, voters actually do have the power to change the conversation.
Political primaries are the elections of each party’s candidates that then go on to run in the general election. A few states have a different form of voting system, called a caucus, which you can read more about here. These were created in order to give the population more influence over which candidates were running in the general election, instead of the party leaders deciding who would run for their party. If only a few vote in the primaries, the candidates in the general election and the issues that they are fighting for do not truly represent the majority’s values.
The issues that are important during the primaries define the issues that will be important during the general election. Though it sometimes seems like all the candidates from each individual party must have the same stance on the same issues, they actually vary widely. By being aware of the issues and voting for the candidate who most closely represents your ideologies, you are showing all the candidates, and all politicians, what issues matter to you.
Even if the candidate that you vote for doesn’t win their party’s election, the amount of votes they do get before dropping out of the race are likely to influence the winning candidate’s platform in the general election. Meaning the thoughts of each voter are ultimately integrated into the general election, even if the candidate they chose doesn’t make it past the first round. This is why it is vitally important for voters from every demographic to take part in politics because politicians base their campaigns around the issues important to their constituency. Since many young adults do not take part in primaries or even general elections, candidates frequently do not integrate the issues that are important to them into their platform because they do not believe that those policies will win them any votes.
Here at Emerson, it may seem like the entire campus is “feeling the Bern,”but before you make your choice you should know the facts about all the candidates. Here are some of the front runners for each party.
Sanders is a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist. His main platform is dismantling the one percent and getting rid of big business. He stands for the working class, saying on his website that “Nobody who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.” He believes in taxing the wealthy and large corporations and increasing the estate tax as well as increasing the national minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. he also wants to make public colleges free and provide national healthcare for all.
Compared to Sanders, Clinton is much more moderate. As potentially the first female president, Clinton has come out with strong policies on women’s issues such as freedom of choice and equal pay. She also has an extensive policy on preventing sexual assault on campuses. She believes in expanding ObamaCare, but not in creating a Universal Health Care System right now. Her stance on gun control is also a lot stronger than Sanders’.
The front page of Ted Cruz’s website states Cruz’s slogan, “Join the movement of Courageous Conservatives.” Cruz, in extreme opposition of Sanders, believes in ending corporate income tax and introducing a flat tax. He also believes in blocking any current effort to allow undocumented immigrants to become legal citizens and plans to repeal Obamacare. Cruz is very conservative on social issues and believes that states should be able to define marriage as between just a man and women. He also supports strict restrictions on abortion.
Trump’s catchphrase “Make America Great Again!” can frequently be heard rolling off people’s tongues on campus, usually in a mocking fashion, but none the less, he is popular with right wing voters. However, few people actually know his policies. Trump has been particularly outspoken about his policy on deporting all undocumented individuals in this country, freezing green cards and banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., at least temporarily. He has several other conservative policies, such as wanting to limit abortion and send U.S. troops in to target oil rich areas of Islamic States. He even says that he would allow torture of accused terrorists. However, he also has some more liberal policies, such as replacing Obamacare with a more universal healthcare system and placing restrictions on the buying and selling of guns.
Rubio is only a slightly more moderate candidate. He plans to work towards securing the border, possibly granting citizenship for undocumented citizens, and calling for more careful vetting of refugees. He supports the cutting of corporate taxes by 25 percent and severely cutting the taxes for the richest 10 percent of the population. Although, he personally believes that marriage is between a man and a women, he recognizes that the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage is the law of the land and should be abided by.