Highlights of the Presidential Candidates for the 2016 Election

Madison Ratkowski and Nicole Clapp

Considering the complexity of the upcoming 2016 presidential election, it is not surprise that many students could be overwhelmed by the plethora of political mudslinging, campaign promises, and varying stances on the issues. We decided to make a poll with the most prominent candidates and share it with our Facebook friends to get an informal tally of what direction people are leaning. The top 5 candidates were chosen from the poll to be further analyzed and to deepen the understanding of their policies and views on the most highly contested topics.

Top Five on the Top 5

This survey had 92 participants. It was posted in the Glenbard West Junior Class Facebook group and to our personal Facebooks. Here we discuss the top five candidates from our poll and explain their views on the top five most relevant to high school student issues: Education, Gay Rights, Abortion, Tax Reform, and Gun Control.

  1. Bernie Sanders- Democrat- 38.04%

Popular amongst American youth, Bernie Sanders ranked number one in our poll by a substantial margin. Many are energized by his highly liberal policies and heavy emphasis on communal equality. Sanders has yet to comment on the Common Core debate, but he has been an advocate of cost-free public colleges and universities. In terms of gun control, Sanders maintains that laws and regulations are decisions for the states, with the exception of universal background checks and a ban on semi-automatic weapons. Bernie Sanders is completely, 100% pro-choice. He’s a huge advocate for family planning and funding for contraceptives. On another social topic, Bernie Sanders also completely supports gays and gay marriage. He supports LGBT equality, which really appeals to the LGBT community and especially America’s youth. Fiscally, Sanders wants to raise corporate taxes, end subsidies to big businesses, raise taxes on the wealthy, and raise taxes up to 50%. Sanders wants to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, so that anyone working 40 hours a week would not be living in poverty. Sanders has many huge ideas that would have an enormous change on many aspects of American life.

  1. Hillary Clinton- Democrat-21.74%

Gaining some ground in national polls following the first democratic debate, Hillary Clinton ranks second overall, and in her democratic field, based on our poll. Clinton appeals to many liberals, especially those looking to finally have a woman in the white house. On education, she strongly believes in letting families decide their own public school, and advocates for higher salaries for educators. Clinton’s stance on gun control falls in line with that of many other democrats; all guns should be reined in, and there should be a federal ban on assault weapons. In terms of tax reforms, Clinton seeks to act in the best interest of the middle class, wanting absolutely no tax increase on those earning under $250K, and instead to more heavily tax the wealthy. While Clinton’s stance on abortion is pro-choice, she hopes to lessen the practice by supporting foster care, as well as adoption. When it comes to gay marriage, quite simply, Clinton is an avid supporter, and applauds the Supreme Court’s action of ruling it as law. Overall, many Americans, as well as those who participated in our poll, find Clinton likable. Perhaps there will be a Ms. President, come 2016.

  1. Ben Carson- Republican- 11.96%

In the current polls, Carson is trailing behind Donald Trump. Interestingly enough, he surpassed Trump by 2.18% on our survey. His views on gun control consist of believing that all law-abiding citizens have the right to own a gun without registration and is a huge advocate for the second amendment. Ben Carson is strictly pro-life, and he once said “the thought of abortion for convenience is repugnant.” His views are very similar to his other Republican candidates. Carson would go as far to ban abortion after 20 weeks of fertilization. Carson does believe gay people should have rights, but he does not support gay marriage. He believes that being gay is a choice. Despite these views, he still accepts the Supreme Court’s decision. For education, Carson does not support Common Core, and states on his website that “common core must be overturned.”  If you are not a fan of the Common Core system, this may be the candidate for you. As for tax reform, Carson explains on his website, “We need a fairer, simpler, and more equitable tax system,” and wants to “get rid of the IRS as we know it.” Ben Carson seems to be a good choice for people who are fed up with the IRS, and who would strictly identify as a Republican.

  1. Donald Trump- Republican- 9.78%

Gaining much attention throughout his campaign for candid statements and political banter, Donald Trump comes in second out of the republican candidates, falling fourth overall in our poll. While liberals criticized Trump for being too harsh and aggressive in policy, supporters are applauding his strict reform measures. In terms of education, Trump seeks to halt any further progression of the Common Core standards, calling them a “disaster,” and believing that the government should allow schools to be run at a local level. Trump’s gun control policy falls in line with many others in his party, seeking to support the Second Amendment, but tacking on longer waiting periods before weapons can be received, documenting mental history, and instituting a ban on assault weapons. To aid in pulling America out of its massive debt, Trump is advocating a one-time, 14% tax on the wealthy. Abortion has been highly debated between the two parties, and Trump’s current views, which have evolved from a once-democratic stance, are that late abortion should be banned with exceptions for medical and special circumstances. On the highly-contested topic of gay rights, Trump finds that the power to decide marriage equality falls in states’ hands, not the federal government, though he personally believes that marriage is limited to a man and a woman. While Trump has been neck-and-neck with Ben Carson in recent national polls, our poll demonstrates that many Glenbard students are not buying into Trump’s methods to “make America great again.”

  1. Jeb Bush-Republican-7.61%

Coming from a line of presidents, Bush placed #5 in our survey. Will he continue his grandfather’s and father’s legacies in 2016? Here are his opinions on the issues. On education, Bush supports Common Core, regardless of anyone from the GOP’s opinion. In 2014, he said, “Common Core is the right thing to do for our country.” He would support the right for states to opt-out of the system if they don’t want it in their schools. As for abortion, Bush would restrict abortions to cases of rape, incest, or harm to the mother. Bush is most definitely pro-life. Bush supports traditional marriage, but does recognize gay couples. Recently, many people have been arguing if businesses should be allowed to reject gay customers based on their own religious beliefs. Bush supports this. On the issue of gun control, Bush believes that 99% of people should be able to keep their guns. Unlike some other Republican candidates, Bush does support background checks before being able to own a gun. On tax reform, Bush wants to lower corporate tax to 20% (which is lower than China’s) to bring manufacturing back to the US, which would create more jobs. Like Carson, he wants to simplify the tax code and lessen the power of the IRS. It is possible that maybe we will have a 3rd Bush in office in 2016.

While the majority of Glenbard West students will not be eligible to vote in this presidential election, it is still important to be informed about politics and current events. We truly are the future and our voices will be heard. To learn more and grow in your political knowledge, joining Political Science club is a great option, which meets on Tuesdays after school in room 223.