Are You Feelin’ the Bern or Over the Hill?

Grace Griffin

With the 2016 presidential election about a year away, now is a great time to learn about the candidates battling for the democratic nomination. Obama will be passing the reins of our country to someone new next year, and it could be one of the three democrats vying for the nomination.

Hillary Clinton is always in the news between the Benghazi hearings and her email scandal, but there is more to Clinton than her past that the media only seems to focus on. Clinton is the current frontrunner of the democratic party and has been polling around 64%.

Clinton has past experience in the presidential world as a former secretary of state and former first lady while her husband, Bill Clinton, was president.

When it comes to the issues, Clinton takes a moderately liberal approach. One of the things that Clinton stresses in her campaign is criminal justice reform.

She encourages the use of body cameras on police officers to establish trust in the community. She also notes the fact that America encompasses 5% of the world’s population, but also accounts for 25% of the population of people in prison. To combat this, Clinton plans to make alternate solutions such as therapy for mental health, and addiction rehabilitation centers more accessible.

Another issue that is a hot topic in politics right now is immigration. Naturally, Clinton falls on the left side of the political spectrum with her stance on immigration. She hopes to establish a pathway to citizenship for immigrants because she believes it will strengthen the United States’ economy and culture.

Clinton has shown herself as one of the most liberal candidates when it comes to gun control. She has openly supported the Brady Bill (which calls for background checks on those purchasing firearms), and still pushes for more extensive background checks. Clinton also stresses the importance of closing the gun show loophole that allows people to buy and sell guns without the proper licenses.

Another popular candidate in the democratic race is Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a senator from Vermont and has been polling around 25%.

Sanders is seen as the most liberal candidate in the race right now, and has even publicly deemed himself a socialist. Many young people in particular flock to Sanders since many believe he is not the typical politician. This aspect is attractive to those looking for a change in the types of people elected to office, these previous types being more traditional

Sanders stresses the idea of a “living wage” continuously throughout his campaign so far. He ideally would raise minimum wage to $15 per hour in order to make it easier to live on a minimum wage job therefore benefitting the middle and lower classes.

Another reason younger people tend to adore Sanders is because his constant stress on debt free college. Sanders is adamant about the idea of public college being available for free therefore eliminating the massive student debt that many graduates face.

Finally, Sanders is a strong advocate for women’s rights, between offering support to women who are victims of domestic abuse, closing the wage gap, and expanding the benefits of Planned Parenthood.

While Sanders and Clinton have proved to be the most popular candidates in the polls, Martin O’Malley is the final democrat striving for the nomination. O’Malley prides himself on being a democrat all his life. In addition, he was the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland from 1999 to 2007. In 2007 until 2015, he was also the governor of Maryland. On average, O’Malley has been polling around 2%.

O’Malley, like the other candidates, takes a very liberal stance on most issues. One issue that O’Malley emphasizes is clean and renewable energy. Ideally, O’Malley would work to reduce the use of fossil fuels in order to preserve public health, and rely more heavily on clean and renewable resources.

Similar to Clinton’s stance on criminal justice reform, O’Malley highlights the importance of addiction treatment. He hopes to implement a National Dashboard on Overdose to help citizens struggling to combat a drug addiction.

O’Malley also takes a strong stance on social security for elderly citizens. He expresses the importance that retirees not fall into poverty after they stop working. To help them, O’Malley plans to extend monthly benefits and raise wages.

Though all these candidates are ultimately part of the same democratic party, they all emphasize different issues. This is important for voters to know with the election coming up in only about a year. Happy voting!