by Isha Lele and Addie Klimek

Are you constantly hearing about the 2016 Presidential election in the news, and have no idea what is actually happening? It may seem far away, but it’ll be voting season in no time. To get informed, here’s a look at the current candidates:

Hillary Clinton:

Everyone should probably know who this is by now. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was the second favorite for the democratic election, behind Obama. Since then, Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state for the Obama Administration and took responsibility for security lapses related to the 2012 Benghazi attack. She’s also the wife of previous president Bill Clinton, who would be an active member in her campaign. Some of her biggest achievements include being the first female senator from New York and the only First Lady to run for public office. Hillary wants to keep abortion legal and safe, and essentially leave it as the women’s choice. She supports same-sex marriage as a basic right that should be given to all, and also believes that military service shouldn’t be based on sexual orientation but rather conduct. She also supports other controversial topics like the death penalty and medical marijuana. She wants to increase funding for education and animal protection, and says we need to further support the EPA to clean our air. Mrs. Clinton is currently the only democratic candidate and works under her statement, “Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion.”

Jeb Bush:

Jeb Bush… sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Jeb is the brother of former president George Bush Jr. and son of George Bush Senior. Bush is the only Republican to serve two full four-year terms as governor of Florida, and now seeks to win the main presidential office. Although he hasn’t officially announced that he is running, the University of Texas at Austin graduate has constantly brought the topic up. While serving as governor, Jeb Bush reduced taxes by $19 billion, increased the state’s reserves from $1.3 billion to $9.8 billion, and presided over Florida, receiving the highest possible bond rating. Jeb Bush seems to stand out from many other candidates because of his vast knowledge, including fluency in Spanish. Part of his ideology includes a pro-life stance, and he supports of abortion only in the circumstance of rape, incest, or health issues. His other views include respecting and recognizing same-sex marriage and respects civil unions. He wants to increase racial and gender diversity in trial judges and also advocates the death penalty. He is against medical marijuana and says it will just lead to legalizing all forms of marijuana. In addition, Bush wants student-led prayers at public schools, whether religious or not, and to teach abstinence only. He has said he is “a skeptic about global warming”, but he wants to work to reduce emissions and greenhouse gases, and turn to more renewable energy sources.

Marco Rubio:

Marco Rubio is a senator from Florida, serving since 2011. His grandpa was a Cuban who immigrated in 1956, and Rubio is now one of only three Latinos currently in the senate. Not only is he a minority in a race perspective, but he is also Roman Catholic unlike many of the previous presidents who were mainly Protestant Christian. Rubio believes that historical marriage is best, meaning he supports an amendment to prevent same-sex marriage. He also does not want gay couples to be able to foster or adopt children, saying it is “social experimentation,” and later stating that he wants to completely ban homosexuals from the military. In the past he voted no on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. His other views on controversial topics including a belief that there is no responsible way to use marijuana and a desire to enforce federal laws, even if states have legalized pot. He thinks that the climate is always changing, and global warming is not a result of human activity, saying, “Our government can’t control the weather.” Because of this, he thinks we should just further grow our energy industry, not switch to clean energy sources, even going so far as to vote no on protecting ocean coasts and great lakes ecosystems. He is opposed to the separation of church and state, and says we should acknowledge God in everything we do.

Rand Paul:

Rand Paul…. most likely, doesn’t sound familiar. This senate member since 2011 is a republican from Kentucky, who graduated from Duke University. Unlike most other politicians, Rand Paul is a doctor who practiced in ophthalmology and established his own clinic in Bowling Green, Kentucky, back in 2007. Like most representatives of his party, he is pro-life, but would allow for a doctor’s discretion in life-threatening cases. He also personally does not support same-sex marriage, but he thinks it should be left up to the state governments to decide. He believes that life begins at conception, however he is in favor of abortion when maternal health becomes an issue. In terms of drugs, he does not want to legalize marijuana unless it is used for medical purposes.

Ben Carson:

Ben Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised by his single mother, living in much poorer circumstances than most other candidates. He didn’t learn how to read until grade 5 and struggled in school at first, but would become a surgeon after graduating from Yale. Ben Carson is a most famously known as a neurosurgeon who cured severe epilepsy in children by removing half of their brains. He is now a republican nominee who holds very strong opinions, especially on controversial issues. Carson not only is opposed to same-sex marriage, but he also believes homosexuality is a choice. Carson is pro-life and only encourages marijuana usage for medical purposes. He also believes that Obama’s Affordable Care Act is the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery. He does not have much experience in politics, seeing that he was never part of the senate or even state government, however he has been an active contributor to past political parties. Mr. Carson is the only black man currently on the ballot.

Looking at these candidates, you may agree or disagree with some of their ideology and perspectives. Hopefully you now know more about the upcoming election, and will make a good decision based off of your own opinions. Happy voting!