Election 2016: Meet the Candidates

By: Cassidy Bryant

This year’s presidential election will be one of the most talked about elections for generations to come.  As a college student, I can attest to the fact that many people my age utilize their right to vote and express their opinions about the candidates on a daily basis around campus at USC Upstate. But whether you want to “make America great again” or you “feel the Bern,” here’s the rundown of this year’s candidates and the issues they want brought to the surface.

As of this writing, there are now only three Republicans and two Democrats that are still running for their party’s 2016 nomination.  On the Republican side are,the candidates as follows:

Donald Trump:

  • A television showman, best-selling author, and billionaire with the largest Twitter following in the Republican field.
  • Key Issues and Wants: More government budget cuts, lower restrictions on gun ownership, deport all undocumented immigrants and ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., repeal and replace Obamacare, and ban abortions.
  • He is notorious for his trash-talking about other presidential candidates, encouraging violence at rallies, and his open racism about Hispanics and Syrians.

Ted Cruz:

  • Cruz is U.S. Senator from Texas, firebrand, and former prosecutor.
  • Key Issues and Wants: Cut down on debt by mandating a budget for Congress, block current efforts that let undocumented immigrants legally remain in the U.S., repeal and replace Obamacare, allow states to make their own decisions on same-sex marriage, move toward a flat tax and abolish the IRS, and use air strikes against the Islamic State.
  • He is known for his strong southern Baptist religious beliefs, advocacy of the second amendment, and his joining of the Bush Administration in 1999.

John Kasich:

  • The current Governor of Ohio, Kasich served nine terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, helped write the country’ first balanced budget in decades, and is a N.Y. Times best-selling author.
  • Key Issues and Wants: Encourage knowledge about climate change and limit the EPA’s regulations, cut down on prison time for nonviolent offenders, cut education spending, allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the country legally, repeal Obamacare but keep the federal Medicaid expansion, ban abortions after 20 weeks, send in ground troops to fight ISIS.
  • Kasich is best known as a prodigy politician who won his first state senate election at the age of 24 and for his family values. His campaign is not as popular as Trump’s or Cruz’s, but he is still a contender.

The Democratic candidates are as follows:

Hillary Clinton:

  • She’s the former first lady to Bill Clinton, senator and secretary of state, and two-time presidential contender.
  • Key Issues and Wants: Make public college debt free, ban several types of assault weapons, expand Obamacare, give undocumented residents a path to legal status, raise federal minimum wage, legalize abortion and same-sex marriage, possibly legalize marijuana nation-wide in the future.
  • Known as the only Clinton to win the Iowa caucuses, she was also a lawyer who worked on Nixon’s Watergate scandal. She inspires women and has the potential to be first woman president but continues to be neck in neck with Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders

  • Sanders is a Brooklyn-born Democratic socialist, anti-war activist, junior U.S Senator from Vermont, and social media phenomenon. (#FeeltheBern)
  • Key Issues and Wants: Limit corporate spending on campaigns, charge companies for carbon emission and spread climate change awareness, offer free tuition at public colleges, ban assault weapons, launch universal, government-provided health care, offer paths for immigrants to citizenship, raise income tax for the wealthy class, and withdraw troops from Iraq.
  • Best known for his march with Dr. Martin Luther King, his long-list of political experience, his appeal to young people, and his fight to bring down Wall Street.

USC Upstate student Ryan Ferguson is an active Bernie follower and agrees with a lot of Bernie’s opinions on free university and minimizing student loan debt. “Once we finally have a degree and graduate college, we get to celebrate our hard work by paying off student loans for the rest of our lives. Bernie wants to make college free, so I definitely feel the ‘bern’,” Ferguson stated.

Another Upstate student opposes and proudly displays their Trump supporter sticker on the back of their car. Chad Smith, a senior business major at Upstate, says “It’s time for politics to change. The government is corrupt and is out of control. A guy like Trump could get in there and make anything happen.”

No matter who wins or loses, it is important to know what each of these candidates wants to do for the people of America. Becoming knowledgeable in some political aspects can provide a sigh of relief when approaching the polls in November. Who will be the next President of the U.S.? At this point, it could be any one of them.