MHS Students Prepare for the 2016 Presidential Election

Trevor Fox, Staff Reporter

With Obama’s final term ending January 2017, the nation will have a plethora of candidates to choose from for the Presidential Election next November.

Election Day is Nov. 8, 2016. Prior to that day, there will be debates, conventions, nomination events, primary races and more. At these events, the candidates will be discussing their track records, what they stand for and what they would do as President. The debates are underway, as the first was on Fox News on Aug. 6, 2015, and the second was on CNN on Sept. 16.

CNN political analyst Stephen Collinson said of the latest debate in a Sept. 17 article that “none of the candidates — even the political novices — committed a clear gaffe. Several shone.”

The Fox News Debate consisted of the Republican candidates in the top ten positions in the polls. The CNN Debate included the top eleven, with Carly Fiorina added to the mix.

“But with an unwieldy field of 11 in the top-tier debate, even a three-hour conversation didn’t provide enough time for everyone to show what they can do,” said Collinson.

Center stage at both debates was businessman Donald Trump. According to a CBS/New York Times nationwide poll, he leads the Republican race with 27 percent.

Trump has centered his campaign on the slogan “Make America Great Again!” and his main position is Immigration Reform. Trump, as well as many other Republicans, looks to change the current immigration system in favor of clear pathways to citizenship and less illegal immigration.

According to, Trump said that “a nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the Southern border.”

By this, Trump has set a plan to create a border patrol that he sees as stronger than the current one and that will decrease the number of immigrants who enter the nation illegally.

Trump, however, has competition in the other candidates, which includes retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who is in second place nationwide with 23 percent.

With a motto of “Heal, Inspire, Revive,” Carson has centered his efforts on certain focuses, including healthcare reform. He said on his website that “more freedom and less government in our healthcare system will mean lower costs, more access, and continued innovation.”

Like Carson, many of the other Republican candidates say that Obamacare is a disaster and not helping society.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on his campaign website that he wishes the U.S. had a healthcare policy that was as efficient as the one he set up in Florida.

“Our state’s businesses were paying thousands of dollars a year for insurance, which was not only much higher in our state than in other states but also had some of the lowest benefits because of fraud, inefficiency and a broken system. So I rolled up my sleeves, and working with the state Legislature, we enacted reforms that helped businesses, saving hundreds of millions of dollars a year– keeping jobs in the state, and making sure that Florida’s economy could work for everyone,” Bush said on his site.

Along with immigration and healthcare, the Republicans also share their stances regarding faith. The candidates aim to keep Christianity prevalent in society. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has made his view clear.

“I will never apologize for my faith, my convictions or my values. Period,” said Huckabee on his campaign website

The different Republican candidates will have over a year to continue to push their case as for why they deserve the nomination.

MHS Senior Tyler Marx said that Donald Trump has convinced him.
“He’s also really involved with immigration reforms, and he really wants to kind of look at the whole idea and take a stance towards it because right now there’s nothing really happening,” said Marx. “We’re kind of just in limbo with it, so I want a president who comes straight out and is willing to take action, and from what I’ve seen from Trump, he’s willing to go to the extreme levels to make that happen.”

While Marx commented on Trump, other MHS students have focused their attention on the Democratic candidates, including Senior Angela Peterson.

“Obama’s Presidency has been a mixed bag. There were some really good things that came out of it [and] some not so great things that came out of it….The majority of the American public has not been like “this eight years sucked,” which means that I don’t see a huge trend for reversion to the other party for this election,” Peterson said.

Leading the Democrats nationally is Hillary Clinton. The former Secretary of State has 47 percent in nationwide polling, the highest of all candidates. She has two campaign mottos, one being “This starts with you,” and the other being “Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that Champion.”

Clinton’s mottos are the basis of her vision for the U.S., which includes economic reform. She said she will “make college affordable and attainable” and plans to raise the minimum wage.

Sanders, who refers to the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 as “starvation pay’, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley agree with Clinton that raising the minimum wage is needed.

“We must fight for better wages for all workers so that Americans can actually live on what they earn. This means raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” said O’Malley on his campaign website

These Democratic candidates have also focused their efforts on social change.

“We will place a deliberate emphasis on gender equality [and] defend the rights of LGBTQ individuals,” Clinton said.

On his website, Sanders criticized Republicans for their stances on same-sex marriage and abortion. He said that those are not “real family values.”

“Real family values strengthen the bonds of family and improve the lives of our families,” Sanders said.

The Democrats want social change in favor of marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose. Republicans want social change in favor of traditional marriage and in support of life.

Democrats value increased wages and expanded public healthcare. Republicans value gun rights and tax cuts.

Democrats want immigration reform in favor of giving all immigrants jobs and opportunities to live in America, while Republicans want immigration reform in favor of less illegal immigration and more legal pathways to citizenship.

This is where the clash will begin.

“I think as far as a student platform is concerned, Bernie Sanders will be their choice,” said Peterson.

She said that Sanders is “most akin to the values of most students here [at MHS] because students tend to lean liberal. He’s advocating for a $15 minimum wage and starting, at least, tuition waivers, if not free college places, which is fantastic for students. So, I believe they’d be very passionate about him.”

In nationwide polls, Sanders trails Clinton by 20 percentage points, but per a poll of MHS students, Peterson is correct. Sanders leads all Democrats with 37.4 percent as opposed to Clinton’s 27.1 percent.
Next November, the American voters will decide which candidate best represents their values as they vote for President in the 2016 Election.