By Kyle Dixon and Kyle Kranen
A week ago, we polled M-A seniors on which political issues are most important to them. Here are the results:
The 2016 Presidential race has been a menagerie of colorful characters, divisive rhetoric, and a wide range of opinions on the key issues to the American people. So, where do these candidates stand on the topics that M-A’s voters care about?
Education: Billionaire Donald Trump believes in local-level pre-collegiate education, with little to no federal involvement. Trump is also vehemently opposed to the current Common Core standards. In terms of college education, Trump vaguely stated that we have to do something to restructure and refinance the current college loan system.
Healthcare: Trump supports defunding of Obamacare, but has vaguely promised “something terrific, for far less money for the country and the people.” His opposition to Obamacare mainly stems from the fact he thinks that it will move America towards a single-payer system, which he also opposes.
LGBTQ Rights: For the most part, Trump is a supporter of traditional marriage. He said in a 2013 interview on MSNBC , “I think I’m evolving, and I think I’m a very fair person, but I have been for traditional marriage. I am for traditional marriage, I am for a marriage between a man and a woman.”
Marco Rubio (Withdrawn)
Education: In terms of pre-collegiate education, Senator Rubio is in favor of curriculum reform at a state and local level. For collegiate education, Rubio has proposed ending the stigma against vocational school. In his words, “we need more welders, less philosophers.” Rubio is also a proponent of income-based repayment for federally held student loan debt, meaning that students would receive need-based repayment.
Healthcare: Rubio is in strong opposition to the current Obamacare system, and he is opposed to its concept. He opposes the concept because it represents larger federal government, and doesn’t believe that a healthcare solution can be achieved at a national level. He is also in favor of completely replacing Obamacare with a market-driven system.
LGBTQ Rights: Rubio has constantly opposed the development of LGBTQ rights. He supported the Defense of Marriage Act (going against LGBTQ rights) and stated that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is a provision granting people to marry others of the same sex.
Education: Governor Kasich of Ohio, unlike many of his GOP colleagues (such as Senator Cruz), still supports the Common Core and believes that the Department of Education should not be shut down, although it should be reduced in size. He considers the public school system to be a failing institution and supports expanding school voucher/choice systems and introducing “competition” in K-12 schools to provide a better educational experience. He also wants to see a decrease in the cost of 4-year college and an increase in online opportunities for higher education. Kasich attempted to de-unionize Ohio teachers, but was defeated at referendum. The education budget in Ohio has increased and decreased during Kasich’s time in office, illustrating that the Governor may have not yet made up his mind on the distribution of funding to public schools.
Healthcare: Kasich has flip-flopped on his position for the Affordable Care Act, but has shown his support for much of the contents of the law, at least when implemented at a statewide level. On his official website, he currently supports repealing it. However, Kasich accepted federal funding from Obamacare to expand Medicare in his state, to the chagrin of most Republican governors. He believes that it is the moral duty of the government to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, including those with mental illness and drug addiction. He thinks that the best solution is to create a health care system where costs are relative to quality, not quantity of care.
LGBTQ Rights: Like most GOP candidates, Kasich is against marriage equality and anti-discriminatory laws at the local and federal level. However, Kasich has recently made more supportive statements of LGBTQ persons than his GOP compatriots have— notably Cruz who has maintained hostile and inflammatory rhetoric. Kasich has said that states should abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling, despite his opposition to it.
Education: Senator Cruz of Texas does not think that the federal government should play a role in education. He believes that the Department of Education and nationwide programs such as the Common Core should be dismantled, and that accountability and classroom content should be dictated at the local level. He supports school choice, or voucher programs, as a method to give low income students the same opportunities as those from stronger socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as the right to homeschool.
Healthcare: Cruz has constantly fought Obamacare in the Senate and intends to continue to do so if elected president. He considers the law an ineffective and unconstitutional attempt to fix the current state of American healthcare. Instead, he thinks that the solution is to expand Healthcare Savings Accounts. This would allow the purchase of insurance policies across states lines, and increase competition between insurance companies to bolster the individualization and affordability of insurance plans. He unequivocally supports the right for business owners to deny providing specific treatments on the basis of religious freedom.
LGBTQ Rights: Cruz does not support same-sex marriage equality, citing religious freedom as his main reason for opposition. He has slammed Chief Justice Kennedy for his ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage nationally.
Education: Clinton, former Secretary of State and former Senator of New York, supports the Common Core program. She has changed her view on charter schools and school choice, and now thinks that public schools should receive the most aid. Clinton has allies in the teacher unions and supports legislation to increase training and funding for new instructors, as well as the schools in which they teach. She has argued that all American children have the right to education from pre-school to college, and insists that the cost of higher education should be decreased.
Healthcare: Clinton’s stance on healthcare is to follow the goals and programs of the Obama Administration, namely continuing to defend the Affordable Care Act. She has a record of supporting healthcare and research funding in both the United States and developing countries in need. Her main objectives are to lower the cost of healthcare and medication across the country, and to mandate universal coverage through a mix of Medicare expansion à la Obamacare and private insurance. She has also led the fight against the tobacco industry.
LGBTQ Rights: Clinton has stated that same-sex couples should enjoy the same rights as traditional partnership, though she asserted that their relationships could not be considered marriages in historical and religious context. During the Obama administration, she denounced the Defense of Marriage Act (which Bill Clinton signed in 1996 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman) and has since supported marriage equality. Clinton has urged for equal treatment of all people regardless of gender or sexual identity, and in January was endorsed by the largest LGBTQ rights group, the Human Rights Campaign.
Education: Senator Sanders of Vermont is in favor of eliminating or severely decreasing student debt. He stated, “As President, I will make tuition free at public colleges and universities, lower student loan interest rates for current and future borrowers, ensure all children have access to a quality education by fighting to ensure equal access to educational resources, and make childcare and pre-K universal and affordable.” He has been extremely vocal in the universal access to education.
Healthcare: Sanders has been consistently in favor of a single-payer system. He also voted for Obamacare as a senator, as it represents a move towards a single-payer system. In his own words, Sanders has stated, “My view is simple— health care is a right, not a privilege. We spend far more than any other country on health care, but 29 million Americans remain uninsured and millions more are under-insured. That is unacceptable. The time has come for a Medicare-for-all universal health care system that provides every American with affordable, quality care.”
LGBTQ Rights: Sanders has a strong record on LGBTQ rights, but he has not been an aggressive champion of the movement. Whenever the opportunity has presented itself, he has voted in favor of LGBTQ rights.
Photo credits to Wikimedia Commons.