By Conor Johnson
November 8 is Election Day, the day upon which our next president will be elected. In a normal year, this day holds tremendous significance, but in a year such as this, with two candidates that are so significantly different, the election comes to hold even more meaning.
The chance to vote and have a say in determining the next leader is a powerful responsibility, but it is also a great privilege. In the United States, Americans can take for granted that free, fair elections will occur annually, and that once every four years the time comes to determine who will serve as our president. However, in many countries, citizens lack this basic freedom, which is why I believe it is important that we take advantage of our right to vote.
So who are the candidates this year? Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. Hillary Clinton’s political experience includes most recently serving as President Obama’s Secretary of State (2009-2013). Prior to this position, she served as Senator for New York State (2001-2009), and of course, she was First Lady during President Bill Clinton’s eight-year administration.
Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. He has no prior political experience, but has instead been a businessman and real-estate mogul throughout his career.
The two candidates are quite different in terms of points of view, with very little common ground between them. For example, Hillary Clinton is a proponent of increased gun regulation and the continued expansion of the Affordable Care Act. Donald Trump opposes both of these measures. Clinton calls for higher taxes, while Trump instead advocates reduced taxation. Hillary Clinton is sympathetic towards immigration and opposes barriers, while Donald Trump has called for a wall at the Mexican border to curb illegal immigration. All of these stances represent just a few of the ways in which the candidates are very different. Their debates have been particularly fiery and volatile.
The St. Joseph’s College community, like our country in the larger scale, is far from uniform about their favorite candidate. As President of the Political Science Club, I have observed a great deal of debate and contention between the supporters of Hillary Clinton and the supporters of Donald Trump.
At our club’s very first meeting this semester, our discussion turned to immigration, which has become a cornerstone issue of each campaign. Supporters of Hillary Clinton argued that building the wall would not be effective, and that, in their view, any forced deportations would be harsh and inhuman. The supporters of Donald Trump conversely argued that curbing immigration was essential to maintaining national security, and, in their view, that something had to be done instead of what they described as failed policies.
The meeting’s dialogue continued in this manner with the two sides enthusiastically debating back and forth. Having spoken to many students here at SJC, there is certainly no lack of passion for their chosen candidate.
With the election right around the corner, this is a very exciting time. For most of the students here at St. Joseph’s College (myself included), this will be the very first presidential election in which we will cast our vote. Doubtless, it will be one we will never forget. What I say to you, the SJC student body, more than anything else, is this: remember to get out and vote on November 8!