By Chris Ostapchuk
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) faced off in the first presidential debate on Sept. 26.
Both candidates seized the opportunity to clearly state their positions and courses of action regarding issues such as foreign relations, terrorism and cyberterrorism, economics, environmental issues, gun laws and race relations.
Ultimately, the debate embodied the great divide and conflict between the two candidates and our nation as a whole, as it eventually erupted into a cloud of interruptions and personal attacks concerning their political experiences and histories of opinions.
With the United States dealing with more division among its citizens than it has in years, it is especially crucial to make your voice heard and make it count by voting for a major party in this year’s election.
Here are six reasons why you must vote this year.
1. Jobs and Income – if you want to be able to afford life.
Clinton opened the debate with her response to the issue of job growth and income inequality.
Her response focused on investing in the middle class in order to build an economy that “works for everyone, not just the people at the top.”
To do this, Clinton cited various ways of creating jobs, making education more affordable, raising the minimum wage, and demanding equal pay for men and women.
Trump countered by successfully including Mexico and China (two countries which he will continue to mention at least six to ten times within the next two minutes) in the first three to four sentences of his response.
The rest of his responses during this segment consisted of boasts of his own accomplishments and investments and bashing politicians who own companies by stating they have “special interests” (even though he’s a billionaire business mogul).
He also confidently stated that he wants to lower taxes for large companies, and that we as a nation must stop companies from moving production to other countries.
Summary: Clinton wants to invest in YOU – the lower and middle classes and young people who can’t afford to keep supporting a government that makes profits on the backs of people, especially students, who are still trying to stand on their own two feet in the world.
Trump wants to invest in himself – large businesses and wealthy companies under the illusion that they’ll share their wealth with the lower classes that make their profit possible.
2. The environment – you should care about the planet you live on.
Clinton brought environmental issues and clean energy investment into the forefront of the debate in one of her responses on how to promote job growth.
She suggested that investing in clean energy policies will create new jobs while simultaneously reducing our nation’s ecological footprint and making the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.
Donald Trump argued against Clinton, stating that clean energy policies are putting people out of work and have been a waste of the nation’s money.
He also has a history of stating that global warming and climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese…
Summary: Hillary wants to invest in ways to create jobs while also dealing with our nation’s environmentally destructive tendencies.
Trump still hates China.
3. Gun Violence, Criminal Justice and Race Relations – if you’re tired of seeing people, especially minority youth, get killed.
Clinton spent a great deal of time during the debate demanding criminal justice reform, stating that “unfortunately race still determines too much” in our society.
She shared plans to increase efforts to restore trust between communities and the police. We need to work to make sure that police are better trained and are more well-prepared in the field to end the tragedies affecting black youth.
She also discussed taking guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them by enacting stricter gun laws and more comprehensive background checks in order to end what she called the “plague of gun violence.”
Finally, Clinton demanded an end to systemic racism in the criminal justice system as well as an end to private prisons that profit off of the incarceration of our citizens.
Donald Trump, in contrast, called for additional “law and order” in our country and expressed support for stop & frisk law enforcement methods. He also stated that most violent gang members are illegal immigrants.
He, for unknown reasons, spent a great deal of time discussing his opinions that our airports are comparable to those in third world countries as well.
Summary: Clinton recognizes the racial division in our country and wants to end the mass incarceration of minorities for non-violent crimes, as well as take responsible action in the serious issue of racial discrimination in law enforcement.
Trump wants police to continue stereotyping and profiling people based on the color of their skin.
4. Foreign and Nuclear Policies – if you don’t want the world to erupt in nuclear war.
Clinton insisted that we will not tolerate cyber attacks from state actors, such as Russia, or any other group, and that we will retaliate against ISIS using technology.
She also expresses the main goal of all politicians: to reduce nuclear weapons throughout the world.
Trump expressed discontent with NATO, blamed Clinton and the Obama administration for the formation and rise of ISIS, suggested abandoning our allies unless they pay us, and challenged China to solve the issue of nuclear weapons in North Korea for us.
Summary: Clinton aims to fight against terrorism and reduce the chances of nuclear war.
Trump wants to force other countries to pay us and then take care of all of our problems.
5. Supreme Court Appointments – old people are on their way out, and new old people will get to run our social lives.
The next president will most likely get to appoint two to three new Supreme Court justices. Those are the judges who get to make the big decisions about issues like abortion, gay marriage, and all the rest of the big-ticket issues that really get some people out to the polls.
Who do you want picking these judges?
6. Your vote WILL make a difference.
Pennsylvania is a major battleground state in every election, this one in particular. Highly populated urban areas such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh often vote Democrat, while lowly populated, more rural areas in the majority of the state typically vote Republican.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are currently neck-and-neck in the polls.
According to Real Clear Politics, Clinton is currently leading in Pennsylvania with 43.6 percentage points as opposed to 41.8 for Donald Trump.
If even half of the people refusing to vote or choosing to vote for a third party candidate (because frankly, that’s wasting your vote: Gary Johnson has 5.8 percentage points, and Jill Stein has 2.6) choose to vote for either of the major party candidates, that would greatly tip the scales to one side or the other.
Think about it. Make your choice, and own your future.
The last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Oct. 11. Register to vote at pavoterservices.state.pa.us.
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