MASTERING MONDAY: MASTERING THE 2016 ELECTION
For some of us, keeping track of all of the headlines, issues, and candidates of the 2016 presidential election has been a difficult task. This election, in particular, has been unlike any other. Sometimes it seems more like a reality show than a political campaign, but it is still important to know the politics behind the circus act.
I have found that it is nearly impossible to find all of the information necessary to make an informed decision for this election in one, concise article. Therefore, I have researched and summarized what I feel to be the most hot-button issues of the election season, as well as each party and candidate’s stance:
The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings caused several states and cities to pass strict gun control measures. In response, state lawmakers in gun friendly states in the South and West passed bills that would strengthen Stand Your Ground laws and allow weapons in most public places. In 2014, 21 states passed laws that expanded the rights of gun owners allowing them to possess firearms in churches, bars, schools and college campuses.
However, the federal government has not officially passed any gun control measures since the 1994 Brady Bill and 42 states currently allow the possession of assault rifles. In the U.S. in 2010 there were 19,000 firearm suicides and 11,000 firearm homicides.
Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun?
Democrats: 81% YES
Libertarians: 84% NO
Green Party: 80% YES
Republicans: 81% NO
Trump (unwavering support of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms) wants to:
- Get serious about prosecuting violent criminals.
- Get gang members and drug dealers off the street to make our cities and communities safer. Empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves.
- Expand mental health programs keep the violent mentally ill off of our streets.
Clinton (for gun control reform) says:
- “Yes, require strict background checks, psychological testing, and training.”
- “More than 33,000 Americans are killed by guns each year. It’s time to act.”
- “As President, I’ll take on the gun lobby and fight for commonsense reforms to keep guns away from terrorists, domestic abusers, and other violent criminals—including comprehensive background checks and closing loopholes that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands.”
Johnson (against reform) says:
- “No, only for criminals and the mentally ill.”
Stein (for gun control reform) says:
- “Yes, require strict background tests, psychological testing, and training.”
Planned Parenthood Funding
Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health services in the United States and internationally. In 2014, federal and state governments provided the organization with $528 million in funding (40% of its annual budget). The majority of this funding comes from Medicaid which subsidizes reproductive healthcare for low-income women. In 2014, abortions accounted for 3% of the services they provided. The majority of the other services include screening for and treating sexually transmitted diseases and infections and providing contraception. Proponents of funding argue that federal funding for Planned Parenthood does not pay for abortions and that the vast majority of government funding that the organization receives is through Medicaid reimbursements. Opponents of funding argue that the government should not fund any organizations that provide abortions.
Should the government continue funding Planned Parenthood?
Democrats: 93% YES
Libertarians: 56% NO
Green Party: 91% YES
Republicans: 68 % NO
Stein: “Yes, their services reach far beyond abortions and can save many lives through cancer screenings, prenatal services, and adoption referrals.”
Trump: “no, and the government should not give funds to any organizations that perform abortions.”
Abortion is a medical procedure resulting in the termination of a human pregnancy and death of a fetus. Abortion was banned in 30 states until the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. The ruling made abortion legal in all 50 states but gave the individual states regulatory powers over when abortions could be performed during a pregnancy. Currently, all states must allow abortions early in pregnancies but may ban them in later trimesters.
What is your stance on abortion?
Democrats: 89% PRO-CHOICE
Libertarian: 73% PRO-CHOICE
Green Party: 89% PRO-CHOICE
Republicans: 68% PRO-LIFE
Trump (Pro-life) says:
- “The primary responsibility of the federal government is to protect the rights of its citizens. Life is the most fundamental right. The federal government should not diminish this right by denying its’ protection.”
- “I am opposed to abortion except for rape, incest and life of the mother.”
- “I oppose the use of government funds to pay for abortions.”
- “As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I’m pro-life”
Clinton (Pro-choice) says:
- “Politicians have no business interfering with women’s personal health decisions.”
- “I will oppose efforts to roll back women’s access to reproductive health care, including Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.”
- “As president, I’ll stand up for Planned Parenthood and women’s access to critical health services, including safe, legal abortion.”
Johnson (Pro-choice) says:
- “The only way to respect all citizens is to allow them to make all personal decisions themselves.”
- “It should be left up to the woman.”
Stein (Pro-choice) says:
- “Providing birth control, sex education and more social services will help reduce the number of abortions.”
- The government should require health insurance companies to provide free birth control.
Same Sex Marriage:
On June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses violated the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The ruling made same sex marriage legal in all 50 U.S. States.
Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage?
Democrats: 94% YES
Libertarians: 92 % YES
Green Party: 96% YES
Republicans: 67% NO
Johnson: “Yes, but allow churches the right to refuse same-sex ceremonies.”
Trump: “No, marriage should be defined as between a man and woman.”
LGBT adoption is the adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 25 countries. Opponents of LGBT adoption question whether same-sex couples have the ability to be adequate parents while other opponents question whether natural law implies that children of adoption possess a natural right to be raised by heterosexual parents. Since constitutions and statutes usually fail to address the adoption rights of LGBT persons, judicial decisions often determine whether they can serve as parents either individually or as couples.
Should gay couples have the same adoption rights as straight couples?
Democrats: 97% YES
Libertarians: 91% YES
Green Party: 97% YES
Republicans: 62% YES
Gary Johnson: “Yes”
Jill Stein: “Yes”
Trump: “No, gay couples should not be able to adopt children.”
In 2014 the U.S. Senate blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act which would make it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform the same work. The goals of the act were to make wages more transparent, require employers to prove that wage discrepancies are tied to legitimate business qualifications and not gender and prohibiting companies from taking retaliatory action against employees who raise concerns about gender-based wage discrimination. Opponents argue that studies which show pay gaps don’t take into account women who take jobs that are more family-friendly in terms of benefits rather than wages and that women are more likely to take breaks in employment to care for children or parents. Proponents point to studies including a 2008 census bureau report that stated that women’s median annual earnings were 77.5% of men’s earnings.
Should employers be required to pay men and women the same salary for the same job?
Democrats: 92% YES
Libertarians: 63% NO
Green Party: 87% YES
Republicans: 70% YES
Johnson: “No, there are too many other variables that affect pay, such as education, experience, and tenure that determine a fair salary.”
Stein: “Yes, and businesses should be required to publish their salary ranges for each position.”
The federal minimum wage is the lowest wage at which employers may pay their employees. Since July 24, 2009 the U.S. federal minimum wage has been set at $7.25 per hour. In 2014 President Obama proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and tying it to an inflation index. The federal minimum wage also applies to all federal employees including those who work on military bases, national parks and veterans working in nursing homes. Since December of 2015, the minimum wage has been increasing.
Should the government raise the federal minimum wage?
Democrats: 84% YES
Libertarians: 81% NO
Green Party: 87% YES
Republicans: 78% NO
Clinton (supporter of raise minimum wage) believes:
- We are long overdue in raising the minimum wage.
- $12 minimum wage
- We should go further than the federal minimum through state and local efforts, and workers organizing and bargaining for higher wages, such as the Fight for $15 and recent efforts in Los Angeles and New York
Johnson (against) says:
- “No, and eliminate all federal wage standards.”
Stein (supporting) says:
- “Yes, and make it a living wage.”
Trump (unclear) has:
- Opposed an increase in minimum wage
- Supported an increase in minimum wage
- Opposed a federal minimum wage in general
- Most recently supported raising minimum wage to $10, but really it should be up to the state governments
Last Spring the U.S. Senate defeated The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act by a vote of 58-38. The act, proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would lower the interest rate on existing student loans from 7% to 3.86%. The act would be financed by levying a mandatory income tax of 30% on everyone who earns between $1 Million and $2 Million dollars per year. Proponents argue that current student loan interest rates are nearly double normal interest rates and should be lowered to provide relief for millions of low-income borrowers. Opponents argue that the borrowers agreed to pay the interest rates when they took out the loans and taxing the rich would hurt the economy.
Do you support increasing taxes on the rich in order to reduce interest rates for student loans?
Democrats: 83% YES
Libertarians: 81% NO
Green party: 86% YES
Republicans: 75% NO
Stein: “Yes, and increase government funding so every student receives a free education.”
Global warming, or climate change, is an increase in the earth’s atmospheric temperature since the late nineteenth century. In politics the debate over global warming is centered on whether this increase in temperature is due to greenhouse gas emissions or is the result of a natural pattern in the earth’s temperature.
Should the government increase environmental regulations to prevent climate change?
Libertarians: 69% NO
Green Party: 94% YES
Republicans: 68% NO
Clinton: “yes, and provide more incentives for alternative energy production.”
Stein: “Yes, and provide incentives for alternative energy production.”
Trump: “No, and global warming is a natural occurrence.”
President Obama recently declared that the U.S. will accept 10,000 refugees from Syria. The U.S. has been under pressure from its Syrian allies to help out with the crisis in which 3 Million refugees have fled Syria in the past year. Those in favor of accepting refugees believe that the U.S. has a duty to join its allies in Europe and accept at least 10,000 refugees. Opponents argue that the U.S. should stay out of this crisis and accepting refugees from the Middle East leads to a risk of letting terrorists into our borders.
Should the U.S. accept refugees from Syria?
Democrats: 84% YES
Libertarians: 70% YES
Green Party: 89% YES
Republicans: 77% NO
Johnson: “Yes, but only after extensive background checks and continuous monitoring to ensure they have no terrorist connections.”
Stein: “Yes, but we should accept much more than the proposed 10,000 refugees.”
Trump: “No, and we should send all refugees back to Syria.”
Congress has passed at least four laws since 1986 authorizing increases in Border Patrol personnel. The number of border patrol agents on the southwest border has grown from 2,268 in 1980 to 21,730 in 2015. Border fencing has increased from 14 miles in 1990 to 651 miles today. Proponents argue that too many immigrants cross our border every year and anyone entering the U.S. from a foreign country should pass through customs and have a valid visa. Opponents of stronger border controls argue the majority of illegal entrants are Mexicans seeking temporary work and pose no threat to national security.
Should the U.S. increase restrictions on its current border security policy?
Democrats: 51% YES
Libertarians: 65% YES
Green Party: 73% NO
Republicans: 96% YES
Clinton: “No, just enforce the current border policy.”
Johnson: “No, make it easier for immigrants to access temporary work visas.”
Stein: “No, make it easier for immigrants to access temporary work visas.”
At a December 7th campaign stop in South Carolina, Presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. The announcement sparked outrage from across the political spectrum with Republicans and Democrats both deeming it unconstitutional. Proponents argue that the government has little idea who is entering the U.S. through its current immigration system and that a temporary ban on Muslims is necessary after the terrorist attack in California. Opponents argue that the proposed ban is unconstitutional and racist towards Muslims.
Should Muslim immigrants be banned from entering the country until the government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists?
Democrats: 82% NO
Libertarians: 81% NO
Green Party: 88% NO
Republicans: 76% YES
Clinton says: “No”
Johnson says: “No, banning immigrants based on their religion is unconstitutional.”
Green says: “No, banning immigrants based on religion is unconstitutional.”
Trump Says: “We should ban immigrants from ‘high risk’ countries.”
After reading through this, I hope you are better equipped to make an informed decision at tomorrow’s election. Your vote DOES matter! I also suggest that you take a look at the other names that will be on the ballot. There are positions of power other than the president! One of my favorite websites is: https://votesmart.org/ Here, you can take quizzes and read summaries to see which candidates are your best fit. Be informed, be passionate, be a voter!
Written and Researched by Sarah pasquarelli, Peer Educator
- Google searches for quotes. Ex.) “Donald Trump on Gun Control” comes right up with his quotes.