A citizen bares a sign in support of Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, at the Colorado caucus in March.

A citizen bares a sign in support of Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, at the Colorado caucus in March.

     For months now it’s been impossible to avoid the barrage of articles, news clips, and comments about the 2016 Presidential Election. As students, it's very easy to laugh at the craziness of it all -- from the inappropriate jokes to the criminal investigations -- and promptly forget about their significance. However, most seniors and many juniors will be able to vote in November. With such a controversial campaign season continuing to heat up, it’s important that students seriously consider their democratic duties and learn what each candidate stands for so they can knowledgeably vote for the next President of the United States. Here, The Chaparral Crier has compiled a condensed and abridged biography of the five remaining candidates. 
     Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Age - 68 years old. Political affiliation - Democratic. Key platform issues - campaign finance reform, climate change and energy, Wall Street and corporate America, LGBT rights, creating jobs, and health care reform. 
What to watch for: From the beginning, Clinton immediately created a strong voting base within the young female demographic as a strong, successful woman. She also has verbal approval and support from the Obama administration as well as many other important political figures who have admired her time as First Lady of the White House and as Secretary of State. Recently, Clinton has faced some challenging obstacles. She is currently under federal investigation for using a personal server to send confidential emails. Clinton also came under fire regarding the attacks on the Benghazi consulate on September 11, 2012 and her involvement or lack thereof. However, in an eleven hour hearing in October 2015, Clinton proved to be not guilty of any deliberate missteps. Currently, Clinton is beating Senator Bernie Sanders in the delegate count with 1,712 delegates pledged to her and needs 2,383 to win the nomination.  
     Senator Bernie Sanders: Age - 74 years old. Political affiliation - Democratic. Key platform issues - a living wage, free college, climate change, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBT rights, universal health care, Wall Street and corporate America, and creating jobs. 
What to watch for: Sanders acted as the State Senator of Vermont for sixteen years and is currently serving his second term in the U.S. Senate. Sanders has created an astoundingly strong voting base within the Millennial generation. His views are slightly more progressive than Clinton’s, earning him a democratic socialist label. While both Sanders and Clinton argue that Wall Street and corporate America have too much influence, Sanders is quick to point out that Clinton accepts campaign donations from PACs, Super PACs, and large corporations while he only accepts donations from small contributors. Currently, Bernie has 1,011 delegates supporting him. To beat Clinton, he needs 2,383 delegates.
    Senator Ted Cruz: Age - 45 years old. Political affiliation - Republican Party. Key platform issues - protecting Second Amendment rights, securing the border, building a strong military, protecting religious liberty, creating jobs & opportunities, and regulating Washington.
What to watch for: Cruz has a lengthy past in law as the Solicitor General for the State of Texas. He was heavily involved with Supreme Court cases and won many landmark victories. As Senator of Texas, he has worked to repeal ObamaCare and protect the Bill of Rights. Recently, Cruz has become involved in some heated and ugly head-to-head confrontations with fellow candidate Donald Trump. The race for the nomination is most heated between these two candidates with Cruz holding 463 of the 1,237 delegate votes. However, Cruz has struggled to unite the Republican Party behind him which is crucial for him to win the nomination.  
     Governor John Kasich: Age - 63 years old. Political affiliation - Republican Party. Key platform issues - national defense, Veterans Administration reform, a conservative approach to better health care, balancing the budget, defending the Second Amendment, and creating/maintaining secure jobs. 
What to watch for: As Governor of Ohio, Kasich balanced the state budget and worked with the Clinton administration in the early 1990’s to balance the national budget. As the next President of the United States, Kasich promises he can accomplish this once again. He also worked on the U.S. Armed Services Committee for eighteen years and so claims he is the most equipped to deal with America’s current security and defense problems. In what has become a heated race, Kasich has steered clear of becoming involved in “dirty” politics, instead focusing on his track record. However, he is much less well known than both of his competitors and his support shows this. Currently, Kasich only has 143 of the 1,237 delegates backing him. 
     Donald Trump: Age - 69 years old. Political affiliation - Republican Party. Key platform issues - health care reform, tax reform, Chinese relations, protecting Second Amendment rights, immigration reform,  and Veterans Administration reform.
What to watch for: Trump has owned multiple businesses across the years mainly making his name in real estate, hotels and casinos. However, he has also claimed bankruptcy on four of those businesses. Earlier in this campaign season, the Republican Party met with Trump to guarantee that if he did not get the delegate votes needed for the nomination that he would not run as an Independent; the Republican Party has struggled with inner unity and so they are trying to avoid a deeper division. However, Trump recently made an announcement that he may not honor that agreement. Trump has also made a name for himself by using anti-Mexican and Muslim rhetoric as well as repeatedly attacking his opponents’ characters. Many of his supporters, however, believe he is the only candidate who does not simply talk like a politician which in turn makes him the most honest candidate for the job. They believe his business experience qualifies him to help boost the economy and that because he has no prior experience in politics he will be transparent and honest with the American people. Currently, Trump holds 736 of the delegate votes but needs 1,237 votes to win the nomination. 

By Jamie Nickel

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