A Background on the 2016 Presidential Candidates–Elyana Schwartz

Today marks the day Americans will vote in what may be one of the most controversial elections in American history, a day that may live in political infamy. As high school students who are not allowed to vote, many may not know much about the candidates: their background, policies, and who they chose as their running mates.

Yet, it is crucial to know about the future leaders of the country and who is representing the American public.

Hillary Clinton is the nominee for the Democratic party. Her running mate is Tim Kaine. Her name may sound familiar, given that she has been involved in politics for the past 30 years. She was the first lady from 1992-2000, was a former senator of New York, and recently served as the Secretary of State. Additionally, she ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, losing to President Barack Obama. She plans to boost the economy by increasing taxes on the rich and increasing the minimum wage. Clinton was in favor of the Iran Deal and against the Trans Pacific Partnership. She is in favor of stricter gun control laws, is pro-choice, and supports government subsidies of clean energy.

She was recently investigated by the FBI because she set up a private email server, instead of using the government email system that she was supposed to use while serving as Secretary of State. During the investigation, it was discovered that 33,000 of emails that Clinton claimed were not related to her government position were deleted. Many voters feel she is dishonest, especially because she has been plagued by scandals throughout her career.

Brett Weinstein. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Brett Weinstein. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. His running mate is Mike Pence. Although he has no political experience, many feel that he is equipped for the presidency because of his business experience. Although many of his initial business plans failed, the real estate developer eventually transformed his family business into a massive multi-million dollar empire. With an extensive background in business, one of Trump’s stronger platforms is economic improvement. He claims that cutting taxes for the rich will spur economic growth.

His unconventional rhetoric, isolationist policies, and anti-immigration sentiment also appeal to many Americans, but also has been condemned by numerous public figures, including several Republicans. A candidate who is not a politician and who speaks his mind, Trump advertises to change the status quo and disrupt the establishment. Additionally, one of his most well-known and controversial proposals is the construction of a wall around the Southern border of the United States to decrease the number of illegal immigrants in the country. In his seemingly unrealistic plan, the wall will be funded by the Mexico. The current Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto has said Mexico will not pay for the wall. Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter, not releasing his tax returns, and seemingly degrading attitude towards women has received widespread condemnation.

Gage Skidmore. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Gage Skidmore. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Gary Johnson is the libertarian nominee. He is the former governor of New Mexico, who balanced the state budget and oversaw economic growth in the state. He plans to reform the tax system by creating a consumption tax which taxes people based on their spendings, not earnings. Johnson believes in less foreign invasion and a stronger military, but has no foreign policy experience. He also actively supports the legalization of marijuana (which, he has admitted to using recently). William Weld is his running mate.

Darron Birgenheier. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Darron Birgenheier. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Jill Stein is the green party nominee. She proposes the “Our Power to the People Plan,” a series of reforms to create a greener environment, a more democratic society and economically stable country. Some of these reforms include: abolishing student debt, converting all energy into renewable energy, closing hundreds of foreign military bases, and decreasing military spending by 50 percent. Her running mate is Ajamu Baraka.

Joe Brusky. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
Joe Brusky. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

The above information is only a short summary about each candidate; there is still much more to know about each individual