Obama, Romney, and... Johnson? HC's Guide to the 2012 Presidential Candidates

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Before we know it, November 6th will be just around the corner and those of us who've chosen to vote (register to vote with the tool on the HC homepage if you haven’t already!) will cast a ballot, thereby finalizing our personal choice for the next President. But even up to Election Day, a good number of us will still be divided over who we want to vote for as choosing the next President isn't always easy.

So who, exactly, is running in this election? What are they campaigning on? To clear things up, here are this year’s presidential candidates, both party-affiliated and independent!

Candidate: Barack Obama
Party: Democrat

Who is he?:
Current President and Democratic Party leader running for a second term

Some big platform issues:

1. The Economy
Obama took office months after the economy crashed back in 2008, and its lack of recovery has analysts branding it as a make-or-break issue for the President. A lot of Obama's economic focus centers on the middle class, with proposals to extend tax cuts for those making under $250,000 a year while upping tax rates on the wealthy. He has also focused on pushing for jobs policies aimed at helping America's manufacturing industry, and advocated measures that would keep jobs in the U.S.

2. Health Care
In 2010, Obama managed to pass the Affordable Health Care Act, which aimed to give millions more Americans health care coverage. Even now after the Supreme Court has ruled that its penalty is actually more of a tax, the President still clearly stands by his health care act and has made it one of his biggest selling points this election. Be sure to familiarize yourself with its provisions, including what health care reform will mean for students and women.

Also keep an eye on...
If you're talking domestic issues, pay attention to Obama's stances on immigration and abortion as well. Back in June, the President issued a directive that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants who are under 30, which was interesting since Obama has actually deported more illegal immigrants than any other president in U.S. history. As for abortion, Obama has always been about pro-life initiatives, though he has previously been criticized for limiting coverage of abortion procedures to cases of rape, incest, and potential harm to the woman's life.

Candidate: Mitt Romney
Party: Republican

Who is he?:
Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts

Some big platform issues:

1. The Economy
While Obama wants to cut taxes for a specific group of people, Romney wants to do so for all income groups, no matter how wealthy or poor. At the same time, he also believes in reducing government spending so the country's deficit can be reduced, a measure that he has touted time and time again on the campaign trail. In short, Romney seeks to achieve a small government infrastructure while also reducing national debt.

2. Health Care
Of course, part of Romney's plan to cut down on government spending involves repealing “Obamacare” as well! Not only does he believe that the Affordable Health Care Act involves too much money, but Romney's also already started attacking the tax part of the law as ruled by the Supreme Court. However, an important fact to understand is that Romney doesn't oppose the Act because he doesn't want universal health care. He has mentioned that he simply doesn't believe that it should be implemented at a federal level, but rather that it should be state-based like the health law he instituted while governing Massachusetts.

Also keep an eye on...
There's a lot of controversy surrounding the efforts to ban Planned Parenthood in many parts of the country, and Romney has been associated with a lot of them. While it seems as though he doesn't have an explicit involvement in reducing women's health services, there's this idea of a GOP “war on women” circulating around that may also hold truth. For now, Romney claims that many procedures should be under jurisdiction of the state rather than the federal government itself.

Candidate: Gary Johnson
Party: Libertarian

Who is he?:
Former Republican governor of New Mexico

Some big platform issues:

1. The Economy
The Libertarian Party has long sought to reduce the role of government, and Johnson is no exception to the rule! While some of Johnson’s economic platform, like his proposal to cut taxes all across the board, is like Romney’s, Johnson ultimately wants to lessen government involvement in the economy as well as in other sectors.

2. Foreign Policy
You may hear Obama and Romney talk a lot about foreign policy, but Johnson’s very different in that he doesn’t believe the U.S. should intervene in any foreign situation whatsoever. In this way, Johnson is quite isolationist, so expect a lot of talk about focusing, and solely focusing, on America!

Also keep an eye on…
You haven’t and won’t hear a lot of talk about drug legalization from Obama and Romney, but Johnson has actually made decriminalizing marijuana one of his primary campaign promises. His rationale for the decriminalization is to essentially counter the “War on Drugs,” which Johnson believes is a huge domestic problem for the U.S.

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About The Author

Annie is a Political Science major at the University of Chicago who not only writes for Her Campus, but is also one of Her Campus UChicago's Campus Correspondents. She also acts as Editor-In-Chief of Diskord, an online op-ed publication based on campus, and as an Arts and Culture Co-Editor for the university's new Undergraduate Political Review. When she's not busy researching, writing, and editing articles, Annie can be found pounding out jazz choreography in a dance room, furiously cheering on the Vancouver Canucks, or around town on the lookout for new places, people, and things. This year, Annie is back in DC interning with Voice of America once again!

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