Get to know the 2016 candidates


Mark Joseph

The Presidential primaries have lasted for months and are heating up as the fight for delegates is becoming more brutal. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are contending to be the Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential bid. On the Republican side, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are seeking to achieve a majority of delegates. John Kasich is still in the Republican race, but does not have the support to fight for the majority of delegates at this time.

        In the presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton has shown great strength. Campaigning along with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, Clinton has a lot of  support from people over the age of 45 and African-Americans. Her delegate lead is substantial over Sanders, but she still needs 442 more delegates to reach the 2,383 requirement for the nomination. On the other hand, Bernie Sanders needs 1,192 more delegates. Bernie Sanders shares the same position as Hillary Clinton on many political issues. Both believe in a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, raising taxes on the wealthy, tightening gun control laws, supporting abortion rights, and action on climate change. However, Sanders has lashed out against Clinton for collecting donations from special interest groups, enormous Wall Street banks, and oil companies. Bernie Sanders has support from millions of young voters, who account for over 80% of his donations. Sanders argues that Clinton will not take action against climate change and big banks’ control. Subsequently, Clinton notes that her track record in government is impressive and shows that she can tackle many of the political issues facing America.

        On the Republican side, Donald Trump continues his strong campaign. He looks to gain 392 more delegates to reach the 1,237 threshold needed for the nomination. Even optimistic predictions show that he will barely reach this number. Most of the news media has predicted a contested convention because no candidates will reach 1,237 delegates by the Republican National Convention in July. To reach 1,237 delegates, Ted Cruz needs 678 and John Kasich needs 1089. Ted Cruz is the voice of conservative Evangelical voters, pushing back against the political reforms of the past decade. He has fought against same-sex marriage as well as abortion rights; he believes there should be no exceptions for rape and incest. Cruz  also opposes legalizing undocumented immigrants and wants to strengthen our borders. All the Republican nominees oppose gun control laws, support capital punishment, and support replacing the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. Kasich opposes regulations for climate change, while Cruz and Trump doubt man-made climate change. Kasich also believes in balancing the federal budget, cutting taxes and making the tax code simpler, and strong political reform.

        It is important to note that Trump is the only candidate that lacks a political background. He has been attacked by news media for failing to understand U.S. foreign policy. He wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it. He also believes in lowering corporate tax rates and a national concealed-carry weapons permit. In terms of political experience, Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and a New York Senator, and Bernie Sanders is a Vermont senator. Ted Cruz is a Texas senator and John Kasich is governor of Ohio. Donald Trump is a business mogul with a net worth of $4.5 billion. His slogan “Make America Great Again” and far-right rhetoric have alienated many and gained the support of others. There is a deep divide in the public’s view of Trump. In a recent poll, approximately 30 percent of voters had a favorable view of Trump, while 70 percent had an unfavorable view. Yet he leads in New England states by double digits against Cruz and already looks forward to winning against Clinton in the general election. Only time will tell if Sanders will rise to gain America’s vote or if a brokered convention will result in an unexpected Republican nominee.