If you’re anything like me, you often think you’re right and rarely enjoy considering that you may be wrong. However, with the California primaries approaching fast (and with our 172 delegates of growing importance in the primary), being aware of why you are voting for who is a very critical notion. Whether or not you enjoy the “Feel the Bern” movement popular on Tumblr or want to follow every Hillary account existing on Facebook, there is still the responsibility to understand the reality of each candidate. Exciting as it is to be swept away with those who agree with you, learning more about those who disagree with you can be eye-opening.
Before I begin I would like to express that the policies and characters of each of these candidates is much more complex than the four bullets I will provide on each. If you are motivated to investigate these candidates in more detail after reading this, I assure you each of their websites has an “issues” tab with the presidential-hopeful’s self acclaimed views . If you would prefer less biased sources, I am positive typing any one of their names into your search bar will provide you with plenty of options.
Let us begin with the Republicans:
1) He’s a strong Christian.
In a world where politicians’ actual religious beliefs are hazy at best, it is refreshing to have a leader who is open and adamant about his views.
2) He has worked within the Senate.
Like it or not, Senator Cruz has been in Washington. Unlike some of his competitors, he has been inside the works of the Capitol.
1) He’s a strong Christian.
Don’t get me wrong: being a strong Christian is amazing. I support him wholeheartedly in that. However, this strong characteristic may prove difficult in winning other demographics. With this in mind, one may want to consider a candidate who is less divisive.
2) He is not a negotiator.
Okay so maybe all virtues are vices, but really, Cruz is not renown for his bipartisanship. In recent Lugar Center bipartisan ranking, he fell about as bottom as one can get. In an evaluation of the the 103rd-113th Congresses, he ranked 224 out of 227. In their judgement of the 2015 Congress, he was placed 97 out of the 98 listed (in 98th place came Senator Sanders himself).
1) He negotiates like a businessman.
Business negotiations include saying the crazy extreme that you want and working towards a compromise from there, or as Donald Trump has shown us, backing down from a unheard of proposal to look for a more moderate adjustment.
2) He has exposed a problem in the Republican party.
Agree or not with the things he says, Trump has brought the anger and disappointment of many Republicans to the surface. Though some are appalled by the behavior and ideas of Trump’s camp, it must be taken seriously the causes of what drove them to those actions.
1) It is hard to tell where he stands.
A lot of his stances on things change drastically, whether it be throughout decades or days. And not to say one should distrust a candidate for something they said 10 years ago that he or she has changed position on now. That is a normal and healthy human function. However, when these realignments are sporadic and unpredictable, well that can be very dangerous for someone with a great deal of power.
2) He is immature.
Maybe this will fail to affect your vote at all, or maybe it is simply my own perspective. But hearing debates, tweets, and rally speeches he gives hint of a man incapable of respectably dealing with people he dislikes. Good politics is the business of building bridges between people, leading a country of diversity, and understanding that disagreeing and disrespecting are not the same thing. Politics is not the business Donald Trump is used to, and a downside of his election would be his uncertain transition into these new expectations.
1) His campaign is not clouded with negativity.
No matter how positive a candidate is, debates, opponents, news, and ads (run by PACS or campaigns, ran for or against) will somehow manage to shed a negative light on his or her name. Because Kasich is not in the media spotlight, he does not have the negative effects of mudslinging and media targeting that some of the other candidates have experienced.
2) He is a more moderate option compared to his competition
For the moderates, the young, the independents, and the minorities, Kasich offers a less extreme view on important immigration and social issues. Being the governor of Ohio, he has the potential of clinching the vital swing state in the general election (as he did in the primaries.)
1) You may be reading this and have no clue who John Kasich is and are still wondering which party I am talking about here–he’s Republican.
As charming, well-spoken, or temperate you see Kasich to be, his name is not one known to many people. In fact, people actually have issues even pronouncing his name (seeing as he does not have the advantage of it being in the dictionary).
2) He does not have enough delegates to win the primaries.
Unlike Cruz and Trump–whose winning of the remaining 943 delegates could put either over the required 1,237–Kasich’s mere 143 delegates cannot mathematically exceed that. It is not impossible for Kasich to win, however. He can still hope for a contested convention (where no one wins the necessary majority) and that many delegates will change to his side during the second or third ballot rounds.
Now let us take a look at the Democratic side.
1) She is the more moderate Democratic candidate.
In contrast to Senator Bernie Sanders, who is commonly described as a “self proclaimed socialist,” Clinton represents the side of Democrats that would like social freedoms as well as a bit more economic freedom.
2) She has political experience (I mean… lots).
She lived in the White House and carried out the duties of the first lady (and lead the charge for healthcare reform). She was a New York senator from 2001-2009 and then served as the Secretary of State for President Obama until being succeeded by John Kerry in 2013.
1) She is under federal investigation.
This may go absolutely nowhere. The email scandal and “did she break the law?” conversation could go on longer than this campaign season…maybe even the next presidential term. Just this last Friday, the State Department halted its investigation, handing the case over to the FBI. This is not even to mention the confusion surrounding Benghazi investigation.
2) It is difficult for her to reach critical demographics.
Hillary Clinton’s inability to reach young adults remains a popular joke among millennials. Though she is commonly seen in support of minorities and youth, it is Senator Sanders who is continually gaining on her in polls and primary/caucus victories.
1) He is a new outlook for many Americans.
People tend to be frustrated with politics nowadays. The phrases “crumbling infrastructure” and “the American middle class is disappearing” tend to inspired fear and (hopefully) action. A lot of Americans are mad at politicians, Wall Street, and the “wage gap” and now they have found a candidate who says he will do something about it.
2) He appeals to the youth.
Young adults are basically the worst at getting to the polls. Though results have fluctuated on 18-29-year-old turnout throughout the decades, it remains the lowest age demographic consistently. However, Senator Sanders appears to be able to draw the support of this often politically obtuse group.
1) America has not yet had a leader who hopes to accomplish the things Bernie Sanders does.
Some, if not most, of Senator Sanders’ ideas are admittedly socialist in some way or another. America had not even undergone an industrial revolution when the Constitution was written, and it would not see explosive capitalism until the latter half of the 18th century. Many movements and risks were taken by men and women of the 1900’s to establish monitors on the economy. Today, America is still developing, changing and improving its relationship with capitalism. An entirely new economic introduction could be a dangerous course of action.
2) Young voters are not always reliable ones.
Attracting the youth is different from getting them to show up on primary day, and very different from drawing them to a caucus. A base built on a group that may not support you where is counts is dangerous. More importantly, a base should be drawing from many demographics. A country is more than the statistics falling under 18-29.
Alas, those are the five candidates still actively contending for a place in the general election. If you are shocked to see a much longer list on your ballot, rest assured: those who have suspended their campaigns will continue to be an option. I guess it is even harder to get off a ballot than to get on it.