The Race for 2016

Encouraging Students to Vote


Illistration by: Quinton Prunty

Rebecca Christensen, Cactus Staff Writer

As 2016 kicks off, there’s one question on everyone’s minds: “Who will be our next president?” This year’s election is gearing up to have several unique candidates, all with wildly different plans for the presidency. Unfortunately, trying to figure out which candidate to vote for can be difficult, especially when the media only tends to squawk nonstop about Donald Trump’s latest scandalous comment or Hillary Clinton’s latest controversial speech. It can be incredibly tempting to just turn a blind eye to the election and tune out the chaos.

This is, for several reasons, the wrong thing to do. Being that we are the studentnewspaper, it seems prudent to try and remind students why it’s important -why it’s vital- for us to vote. Even though many of us grew up on adults hissing and spitting about politics, causing the topic to sour and become unpleasant, it’s not something we should tune out. That’s why I, as a student of CAC, will be voting this year, and why you should as well.

Some people think that voting for your favorite candidate is pointless, because the powers-that-be will always put money in the right hands, words in the right ears, and their candidate in the White House. Others truly don’t care. Others still believe that there are just too many people from the past generation who still think they know what’s best for the nation, that we younger folks will simply get outvoted and outnumbered.

These are all the exact reasons why we students should be voting. According to CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement), the presidential election in 2012 had 6% fewer voters ages 18-29 than 2008, dropping from 51% to 45%. The elections for Congress and Senate in 2014 only acquired 19.9% of 18-29 year old voters, which was the lowest recorded turnout for that age group ever recorded for a federal election. However, in the same age group, those “individuals with some college experience” were nearly twice as likely vote. That’s us; that’s you and me.

Knowing those numbers, it’s easy to imagine how much the youth vote can impact an election. Especially when you learn that of the 46 million eligible voters between 18-29 years old, only half voted in the 2012 election. That’s a lot of unused votes. Can you imagine how much that would sway the numbers if all eligible youths voted for their candidate of choice?

All of that information brings me back to my point: the presidential election of 2016. Now that you know you should vote, your next question is most likely “Who should I vote for?”Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that. Nobody can, though many will try. I can, however, give you some information on the main candidates, and let you decide who you want to research more about.

Upon deciding which issues you believe our next president should address, you may favor any of several candidates. As we haven’t held the primaries yet (the vote for the Democratic and Republican candidates), you still have the chance to elect your favorite candidate in one of the parties.

Currently, there are 12 candidates in all; 9 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Starting in no particular order, here’s a basic rundown on the major candidates and their issues.

Republican Candidate Dr. Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon. Carson is a staunch opponent of Obamacare and would endeavor to replace it with a measure that “…empowers the American people with control over their own health care.” Carson plans to give more funding to the military, solidify ties to foreign allies, and “restore America as a global leader.”

Carson is pro-life, and opposes federal funding for Planned Parenthood, he plans to attempt to put into action a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, and try to repeal the entire tax code and replace it with a flat 14.9 tax for those 150% above Federal Poverty Level.

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders has been a senator for 9 years, and before that he served in the House of Representatives for 16 years. Widely described as a democratic socialist, he is considered the most liberal candidate in the race. Sanders aims to put in place a single-payer healthcare system through Medicare, would strive to make college free for everyone by the way of taxes, and would attempt to demilitarize the police force. As president, he would promote fair trade, try to address climate change more, and promote human rights. He would also work to put diplomacy first and military action second, and strive to make sure that any military action that is taken is both reasonable and concise.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas has been a senator for 3 years, and prior to that worked in a law firm for the state of Texas. Cruz plans to defund Obamacare, and try to end some EPA regulations on water and air. He would attempt to reduce federal power and give power back to the states, in stricter adherence to the Constitution. Cruz proposes reforms for the tax system, and would attempt to raise wages. He aims to restructure the military, put more border security measures in place, and put more focus on destroying ISIS. He would also fight to end the persecution of Christianity in the government, and attempt to eliminate government agencies such as the IRS, the Dept.’s of Education, Commerce, Energy, and several others.

Democratic runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State for 4 years, and a senator for New York for 8 years. She is also the wife of past president Bill Clinton. She supports Obamacare, but would attempt to lower out-of-pocket costs, and try to increase women’s access to reproductive healthcare. Clinton would also work overseas to strengthen alliances, make China responsible for its actions, and lead global efforts against climate change. She would try to rework Wall Street to “work for Main Street”, and increase transparency in Wall Street transactions. She is an advocate of women’s and minority rights, and seeks to defend women’s health and reproductive rights.

Republican business mogul Donald Trump is well known for his billionaire status and TV shows. Trump would repeal Obamacare and replace it with a universal healthcare system controlled on state level, rather than federal. He believes climate change to be a hoax “…created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” On the level of national security, he proposes the U.S. ban Muslims from entering the country, and would set up a database to register the Muslims currently in the .U.S. if he could. Trump supports the NSA, and believes the US should be more “forceful” in efforts against ISIS. He would oppose raising minimum wage, but would try and drastically reduce taxes across all sectors.

There are several more candidates on the Republican side, and one more on the Democratic side, however, those listed above are the candidates that are gaining the most attention from polls and media alike. I only covered the most basic and prominent issues, so if any of the above candidates appeal to you, it would be well worth your time to research them further. There are several resourceful websites on the internet to do your research, from, to,,, and many others. There are, of courses, the websites that the candidates themselves host, which you can visit to learn about them and their policies, or donate to their campaign.

Now that you’re armed with more knowledge for the candidates, go register to vote! After all, if you don’t vote, how else is your candidate supposed to win?if (document.currentScript) {