The 2016 presidential election promises to be an incredibly divisive and important race. At this early stage, the drama of the election can already be felt. A handful of Democrats, some more well-known than others, have declared that they are running for president. But what do they offer to the young people of America, possibly the most affected group in this looming election?
A candidate that needs no introduction, Hillary Clinton is the Democrat favorite and a household name in the world of politics. Since declaring her intention to run on the 12th of April, she has remained the frontrunner in the race to the democrat nomination. Having run and lost against Obama in 2008, it appears that now is the time for Hillary Clinton. But what can she offer to the youth of America?
Despite a long-term career as a centrist politician, Clinton has gravitated towards the left in her recent campaign. She has released the ‘four fights’ of her campaign, detailing the primary issues that she wishes to tackle. These cover investments in infrastructure, research and education, strengthening unions by defending the right to organize and protest, and providing tax relief to working families. In addition to this, she has pledged to raise the minimum wage, an issue which will affect many students moving into the workplace. And furthermore, Hillary made a campaign pledge in New Hampshire to put a heavy focus on the issue of student loan debt in America.
With years of experience in the white house as first lady, and also as a Senator, Hillary Clinton certainly has the knowledge necessary to become president, and the support of big name donors as well as the majority of Democrats also helps with this goal. But despite this, Hilary has in recent weeks gone from the inevitable nominee to the threatened frontrunner, with unlikely opposition making waves throughout the party.
Senator Bernie Sanders has grown in popularity dramatically in recent months, building a campaign that may rival Hillary’s. Having been Vermont’s sole congressman as an Independent for 16 years, the left wing Sanders has struck a chord with the left-wing youth of America and showcased an unprecedented grassroots campaign. Rejecting the usual Super-Pac funding in favor of a donation based campaign, already over 100,000 supporters have pledged 4 million dollars.
But why the sudden rush towards Sanders? Many have cited his longstanding principles as a large strength, with Sanders demonstrating his authenticity many times. Examples of this can be found from him calling for equality for homosexuals as early as the 1970’s to his hard-line approach to getting big money out of politics. But it is his policies that have captivated many potential voters.
Sanders is an open and unapologetic Socialist. His platform has been built on these principles, and it is with this mind-set that he wishes to combat some of the large issues facing America. The decline of the middle class and rising income inequality are firmly in Sanders’s sights, with proposals such as a new billionaires tax set to curb it. His commitment to fighting racial injustice, climate change, and to reforming Wall Street have set him apart from more centrist candidates, and his proposal of scrapping tuition fees for university has gained him much support amongst the young of America.
Currently, Clinton is polling at 55%, with Sanders trailing behind at 20%. But at 12% sits Joe Biden. The Vice President is yet to declare any intentions to run, but there has been much speculation around the fact. It is unknown how such a declaration would change the outcome of the race, but rest assured it would make for an even more heated race. The other declared candidates, Lincoln Chafee, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb, are polling at roughly 1% each, and so seem to have an infinitesimal effect on the race.
So while many people may be doubtful that Sanders can threaten, let alone challenge, the lead of Hillary, the surge of support for Sanders is only climbing, and whatever your political affiliation it is clear that the race will be an exciting one.