What You Need to Know About The Presidential Candidates

We’ve got a problem, and that problem is simple: We don’t vote.  By “we” I mean you and I, college-age Americans.  In fact, despite MTV’s best efforts, only about 38% of Americans ages 18-24 vote (census.gov).  There are plenty of reasons behind our voter apathy, but lack of information should never be one of them, so I’ve done the footwork for you.  I’m going to break down the major Republican and Democratic candidates going in to the primaries, and I’m going to tell you what their stances are on the issues that matter most to the average college-age woman (in my ever so humble opinion).

So when the California primaries roll around (June 7th FYI), you’ll be ready to exercise your right as a citizen of the United States.  Unless you’re a felon.  You can probably stop reading now if that’s the case.  I’ll be looking at the three issues I think are most directly important to our demographic: college tuition reform, women’s rights, and LGBT rights.

First we’ll take a look at Bernie Sanders, a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.  I was delighted to find that the “Issues” page of Sanders’ website had categories for each of the topics I was interested in.  Information is from berniesanders.com.

Tuition reform:

  • Sanders promises to make tuition free at public universities. 
  • He will also lower interest rates on existing student loans.
  • He will require schools to offer financial aid that will cover all costs, including tuition, books, and living expenses. 
  • Sanders claims he can fund these changes by imposing a tax on Wall Street speculators.

Women’s rights:

  • Sanders will sign the Paycheck Fairness Act to end wage discrimination based on gender. 
  • He will protect reproductive rights by only nominated Supreme Court justices who support Roe v. Wade.
  • He will expand funding for Planned Parenthood. 
  • He will also improve childcare and maternity leave laws.

LGBT rights:

  • Sanders will sign several acts, including the Equality Act, to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people. 
  • He will end discrimination from banks, police and healthcare providers.
  • He will ensure that LGBT people will have access to comprehensive health insurance. 
  • He will also enhance policies to end bullying in schools.

Next up is Hillary Clinton, Senator Sanders’ biggest competition.  Hillary’s website also had sections specific to the issues I was looking at.  Information is from hillaryclinton.com.

Tuition reform:

  • Clinton also promises to make attending a public university debt-free.
  • She will refinance existing student loans. 
  • Additionally, she will hold schools accountable for making tuition affordable.

Women’s rights:

  • Clinton will ensure equal pay for women.
  • She will defend women’s health and reproductive rights. 
  • She also promises to improve childcare and maternity leave. 
  • Additionally, Clinton has a section for campus sexual assault, in which she promises to provide comprehensive support to survivors and expand educational programs.

LGBT rights:

  • Clinton makes similar promises to ensure equality and to protect children from bullying. 
  • Specifically, she promises to end conversion therapy for LGBT children. 
  • Clinton also promises to make HIV and AIDS treatment affordable.

Next on our agenda is Republican candidate Donald Trump.  I have to say, it was harder than it should’ve been to find Trump’s campaign website, as the first link I found on Google went to a website for his company.

Tuition reform:  Trump does not offer a position on this issue.

Women’s Rights: Trump does not offer a position on this issue.

LGBT rights: Trump does not offer a position on this issue.

Trump does offer his position on tax reform, in which he promises to give tax breaks to low-income people (donaldjtrump.com).

Finally, I’ll look at Ted Cruz, who appears to be Trump’s biggest competition. 

Tuition reform: Cruz does not offer a position on this issue.

Women’s Rights: Cruz’s website boasts that he fought to end funding to Planned Parenthood and to ban partial birth abortions. 

LGBT Rights: Cruz believes marriage is between a man and a woman and has fought for states to have the right to define marriage without federal interference (tedcruz.org).

So now that you've got the information you need, put it to good use!  You can register online to vote here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration