2016 Presidential Candidate Overview: Who Has Your Vote?

Orry Phillips

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The 2016 Presidential Election is rapidly approaching. Two candidates representing the major parties have already debated the issues once on national television. Representing the Republican Party is Donald Trump. Possibly the most controversial American political figure in years, Trump has been a businessman for his entire life. He owns numerous casinos and buildings across the United States, including the famous Trump Tower in New York City. He previously ran for President in 2000 for the Reform Party. He also mulled over running in 2012. Trump has arguably been the most-talked about American in the past year, for good and bad reasons. His supporters enjoy the fact that he is not a politician, and he is not backing down from the opposition. On the other hand, detractors dislike him for his remarks on immigration and Muslims. Despite that, he easily beat out the sixteen other candidates facing him for the Republican nomination.

On the other side, there is Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Clinton, wife of 42nd President Bill Clinton, is also a former senator and served as Secretary of State for President Barack Obama from 2009-2013. She leads in most of the major polls, and most political experts came to the conclusion that she beat Donald Trump in the first debate. She carries strong appeal with most of the Democrat Party, since she has experience in politics and appeared more prepared on the issues in the first debate. The fact that she would be the first female president has given her even more approval from her party. However, Independents and even Republicans who do not want to elect Trump are still concerned about her history, keeping them from swinging to her side. In her past, events ranging from her email scandal to her handling of the attack on Benghazi in 2012 present examples of these obstacles to Trump’s detractors.

Third-party candidates are also drawing some appeal this election. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is seen as possibly pulling off a “Ralph Nader” and taking away a percentage of voters who normally vote Democrat and Republican. He is relatively popular compared to previous third-party candidates and has collected a following from former Bernie Sanders supporters. Granted, his chances of winning are as small as they can be, but he could end up playing spoiler for one of the candidates in the election in several states. Green Party candidate Jill Stein also is seen as someone who could steal votes from primarily the Democrats, but to a much less extent than Johnson.

On the issues, Donald Trump stands out, unsurprisingly, as the one farthest to the right. He has expressed his support of stricter border measures and sending ground troops to the Middle East to fight ISIS. He has also expressed his disapproval for stricter gun laws, Obamacare, allowing entrance of Syrian refugees, raising federal taxes, the funding of Planned Parenthood, abortion, and the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage. Hillary Clinton is slightly more moderate than Obama, but she is still to the left on the political spectrum. She supports stricter gun laws, Planned Parenthood, abortion, Obamacare, raising federal taxes, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, the entry of Syrian refugees, and the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage. She does not approve of sending ground troops to fight ISIS, stricter border measures, and the Keystone XL pipeline. She also supports the nuclear arms deal with Iran, while Trump does not.

Clinton and Trump agree on a few things, though. While their opinions on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use is not clear, they support the use of marijuana medically. They also support raising the minimum wage, the use of Affirmative Action in colleges, and the death penalty. They have also expressed their disapproval for the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is seen as a more conservative version of Hillary Clinton and a more liberal version of Donald Trump. He fits the mold of a Libertarian, except he may be slightly to the left a little more than previous Libertarian candidates. On social issues, immigration, and foreign policy, Johnson’s views are pretty close to Clinton. However, he leans conservative on many economic and domestic issues. Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s views almost mirror Hillary Clinton’s. However, some sources rated Stein as farther to the left than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, which might help her get votes from Democrats.

The four remaining candidates have made it far to get to where they are now in the election. The road will only get tougher, as the two major party candidates still have two debates (a vice presidential debate occurs in early October) to discuss the issues. Expect them to go back and forth until Election Day, when America decides who will become the 45th President of the United States.   

Hillary Clinton, Democrat Candidate

Hillary Clinton, Democrat Candidate

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Candidate

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Candidate

Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate

Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate

Donald Trump, Republican Candidate

Donald Trump, Republican Candidate

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2016 Presidential Candidate Overview: Who Has Your Vote?