2016 Primaries candidates

Caricatures of 2016 primaries candidates

Image credit, Tribune News Service

As the March 8 Michigan primary draws closer, the Voice wanted to take the opportunity to provide the community with some of the main issues candidates are focusing on. After talking with dozens of students at the most recent Welcome Day, we gathered some insight on which issues students are most interested candidates addressing.

For the Michigan primary, people have the chance to cast their vote as their voice for who they want to lead the country in the not-so-distant future. With more than seven million Michiganders registered to vote, our state has the opportunity to make our mark this election season. Show your support by voting, or if you can’t that day, make sure to contact your city or township clerk to request an absentee ballot. The deadline for doing so is Saturday, March 5 by 2 p.m.

By providing the candidates’ stances on key issues, we hope to not only inform readers, but also motivate them to cast educated votes.

Jeb Bush

Education: Bush has recently proposed a new method for students to pay back their student loans. His solution to the problem is allowing individuals to repay their student loan based on how much they earn after college. Bush wants students to pay one percent of their income for each $10,000 they borrowed, over the course of 25 years. The interest and total payments are capped at 1.75 times the amount borrowed.



Climate change: Bush is an opponent to climate change. He looks to repeal EPA restrictions on the clean water and clean power. He thinks that we should let the market decide whether or not to use ethanol instead of gasoline. Bush embraces the idea of the Keystone XL pipeline. When it comes to global warming, Bush is a firm skeptic and does not consider himself a scientist.


Gun Policy: Bush is a candidate who wants to reduce gun violence, but still protect the second amendment. As governor of Florida in 2005, Bush signed NRA legislation expanding gun rights, so that Floridians could use deadly force in public places when threatened. Bush favors allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons. Bush was also quoted saying “I support an instant background check for all guns purchased at a gun show.”


Healthcare: When it comes to healthcare, Bush feels Obamacare is flawed from its core. Bush was quoted saying, “I don’t think it will work.” If he were president, he would let it fail due to the dysfunction. Bush is opposed to the federal government aiding Planned Parenthood. Instead, Bush found good care providers for women saying that there are 13,000 of these community-based health care providers for women. Bush also believes that parents should vaccinate their children.


Marijuana: Bush was expelled from high school for bullying. He says that he smoked pot and drank alcohol when he was in school which led to his expulsion. Bush describes his high school experience with the drugs as “wrong’’ and “stupid.” Bush has since then been opposed to the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. He says that medical marijuana is, “just a guise toward legalization,” opposing its use for the treatment of debilitating illnesses.


Immigration: Bush is sometimes considered a moderate compared to most conservatives when it comes to immigration. His wife is a Mexican-American and Bush has been known to use Spanish on the campaign trail. Still, Bush and his wife want a secure wall on the Mexican border. Bush says that we should treat illegals with compassion – he feels that they come here illegally because they have no legal path to come. He wants them to assimilate into the American culture and to become a citizen, they should be able to pass an exam in English and civic history.


Ben Carson

Education/ Student Debt: He believes “the American education system is failing our children.” He proposes five principles to address the problem: school choice, granting school districts greater autonomy, encouraging innovation, rewarding good teachers, and removing the Department of Education from student loans. The first four principles would allow for more charter schools, and loosening federal involvement in K-12 curriculums. As for funding college, Carson said, “There’s a four letter word that works extremely well, it’s called w-o-r-k, work.”


Immigration: Carson’s immigration plan can be divided into three major parts. The first is border security; Carson would like to complete a layered wall along the southern border, increase the number of border patrol agents, allow local law enforcement to be more involved in border protection, and use the National Guard when necessary. The second part addresses legal immigration, and the implementation of a biometric screening process. Finally, Carson would grant the 11 million undocumented immigrants temporary work permits without a path to citizenship, provided they meet certain requirements.


Healthcare: Carson would fight to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Health insurance would cease to be mandatory. Medicare beneficiaries would be given a fixed amount of money towards paying for insurance. Also, the Medicare eligibility age would be raised to 70. Carson would introduce Health Empowerment Accounts, which “will enable patients to have increased options and choices at lower costs.”


Marijuana: Carson accepts that marijuana has medicinal benefits, but does not endorse its recreational use. Carson believes that the effects of marijuana can have permanent effects on developing brains and lower IQ. A Carson administration would enforce Federal drug laws in states like Colorado and Washington, where recreational use has been legalized. (marijuanapolitics.com)


Gun Policy: Ben Carson believes there should be no limit to firearm ownership except in cases of insanity. He is “extremely pro-Second Amendment and would never let anyone tamper with it. Carson believes that Americans should have access to assault rifles and armor-piercing ammunition to defend themselves from an “overly-aggressive government.”


Climate Change: Carson believes the climate change debate is “irrelevant.” He does not believe climate change is man-made. Carson sees the climate change debate as a “distraction from the role of the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in regulation.” However, speaking at an event at the University of New Hampshire in 2015, Carson said, “I don’t care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative, if you have any thread of decency in you, you want to take care of the environment because you know you have to pass it on to the next generation. There is no reason to make it into a political issue.”

Hillary Clinton

Climate Change: Hillary Clinton says she plans to take on climate change by making America the world’s clean energy superpower. She wants to set national goals to generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America and  install a half a billion solar panels by the end of her first term. She thinks this is possible by cutting energy waste in homes, schools, and hospitals by a third, as well as American oil consumption by a third. By launching a $60 billion clean energy challenge to partner states, cities, and rural communities she believes this will give people the tools and resources they need to go beyond federal standards in cutting carbon pollution.


Gun Policy: In the fight against gun violence, Clinton supports instating comprehensive background checks, and keeping guns out of the hands of those who mean to do harm, like terrorists and domestic abusers. She plans on cracking down on illegal gun traffickers, and holding dealers and manufacturers accountable when they endanger Americans. She also plans to close loopholes in existing laws that prohibit those suffering from severe mental illness from obtaining firearms, as well as, work to keep military assault weapons off the streets.


Healthcare: Throughout her career, Clinton has been fighting to expand access to quality, affordable health care for every American.  She plans to continue and build on these efforts to ensure that families can also benefit from these reforms and not just the drug and insurance companies. By lowering out-of-pocket costs and reducing the cost of prescription drugs, Clinton believes in slower growth of national spending through lower costs. As a planned parenthood defender, she wants women to have access to reproductive health care, such as breast exams and cancer screenings.


Immigration: Clinton wants to push for immigration reform that provides an equal path to citizenship and treats every person with dignity – while still upholding laws and national security. She will focus enforcement resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety, and work to ensure refugees a fair chance. She believes we should let families—regardless of immigration status—buy into the Affordable Care Act exchanges, and that families who want to purchase health insurance should be able to do so.


Marijuana: Clinton wants to move marijuana from a Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 drug, so that researchers at universities and national institutes of health can start researching its health benefits and see how it works with other medications. Clinton supports medical marijuana, but has not endorsed legalization.  Clinton said she first wants to see “how it works” in states that have legalized, before considering any national plan. (CNN)


Education/Student Debt: Under Clinton’s plan of action on student debt, the New College Compact, community college would be free, and the cost of attending a university would be reduced by thousands of dollars. Students would prospectively contribute their earnings from working 10 hours a week, while having their families make a realistic contribution as well. She wants states to also do their part to invest in higher education by maintaining current levels of funding and reinvesting over time. Everyone will be able to enroll in a simplified income based repayment program so that borrowers never have to pay more than 10 percent of what they make.



Ted Cruz

Education: It is kind of unclear how Ted Cruz wants to tackle student debt. Last year, Cruz empathized with students by sharing he recently paid off his student loan bill of $100,000. Yet, Cruz blocked a bill that would help student loan borrowers from refinancing their loans at a lower rate. While campaigning for his senate seat in 2012, Cruz proposed that states should deal with the funds instead and to also get rid of the Department of Education altogether.



Climate change: When it comes to the environment, Ted Cruz is in denial of climate change. Cruz voted “No” on protecting oceans, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. Cruz is an opponent of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires corn-based ethanol. He was quoted “Picking winners and losers.” In 2010 Cruz signed the No Climate Tax Pledge supported by the Liberty Americans for Prosperity.


Gun Policy: Ted cruz leads the candidates in opposing gun restrictions on the Second Amendment. Cruz has authored a brief in 31 states supporting the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Cruz voted “No” on banning high capacity magazines more than 10 bullets. Along with 50 other senators, Cruz signed a letter to Obama opposing the UN Arms Trade Treaty.


Healthcare: Ted Cruz is a huge opponent of Obamacare. In fact, Cruz has vowed to repeal Obamacare. Cruz has a plan to save Medicare and protect seniors. His plan includes increasing the eligibility age and by moving to a premium support system which expands market choices, opens up innovation and utilizes the market forces. Cruz supports the Christian Coalition Voter Guide and their idea of a market-based health insurance.


Marijuana: Cruz was recently asked about marijuana. He said that he does not support the legalization of marijuana, and he has criticized Obama for not cracking down on states who have legalized it. He has since toned down and says that the states have the right to make their own decision.



Immigration: Cruz is quite concerned with immigration into the United States. Cruz, in the Senate, wants to end Obama’s amnesty through Congress’ checks and balances. In his home state of Texas, Cruz discussed he didn’t support the path to citizenship for 1.65 million illegals. Cruz wants to triple the size of the border patrol and also wants a wall and boots on the ground.



Gun control: Ted Cruz leads the candidates in opposing gun restrictions on the Second Amendment. Cruz has authored a brief for 31 states supporting the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Cruz voted “No” on banning high capacity magazines more than 10 bullets. He has been honored by the NRA. Along with other 50 senators, Cruz signed a letter to Obama that opposes the UN Arms Trade Treaty.


Healthcare: Ted Cruz is a huge opponent of Obamacare. In fact Cruz has vowed to repeal Obamacare. Cruz has a plan to save Medicare and protect seniors. His plan includes increasing the eligibility age and by moving to a premium support system which expands market choices, opens up innovation, and utilizes the market forces. Cruz supports the Christian Coalition Voter Guide and their idea of a market based health insurance.


John Kasich


Climate change: While Kasich does believe climate change is real and is a problem, he’s opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency regulating emissions. His concern while protecting the environment is that people’s jobs may not be protected. He says that states and companies should “contain carbon output from coal-burning power plants.”



Gun Policy: Kasich strongly opposed Obama’s gun control executive order and felt as though it undermined the Second Amendment. As governor of Ohio, Kasich enacted laws which protected concealed carry laws, “including protecting the privacy of permit holders and allowing for reciprocity licenses with other states where permit holders can carry their firearms.” Kasich says that hunting and fishing has been a long-time tradition in Ohio and has enacted legislation which removes restrictions on licensing requirements for hunters and instead expands hunting rights.


Healthcare: Kasich opposes Obamacare, wanting to repeal and replace it. He says it hasn’t fulfilled its priority of providing affordable health care and has failed. Kasich states that “Americans get what they pay for” but in some cases, that means more care instead of better care. Ultimately, he would instate a healthcare plan which focuses on patient-centered primary care. He wants to take healthcare to the next level, by not only giving the patient the care they need, but also to keep them healthy.


Immigration: While Kasich disagrees with sending the immigrants, who are already here, back to their countries, he does support needing to protect our border. For those who are here and have been law-abiding, they pay a penalty. If anyone else tries to get in, then at that point he would send them back. In July 2015, he suggested a type of fencing mechanism supported by the use of drones and sensors. Also, he would have a guest worker program which means they could come and go as long as they abide by the laws. If laws are broken, they are penalized or potentially deported. (ontheissues.org)


Marijuana: Kasich voted “Yes” on prohibiting medicinal marijuana in Washington D.C. He’s been quoted in 2015, saying to not send mixed signals to kids by legalizing. Although in the state of Ohio, where he is governor, they rejected legalizing marijuana both medicinally and recreationally, he doesn’t want to “demonize” people for doing it, but doesn’t want to legalize it. At the end of a November interview with Stephen Colbert, he did say that if doctors come to him and say “We need this for people with seizures,” then he’d be O.K. with medicinal legalization.


Student debt: Kasich believes that education is a local responsibility, and not federal. He would have states develop and maintain their own standards and set high expectations for students. Also, he believes that high school students who earn college credit while completing their high school degree, ultimately helps reduce college costs. He says that by paying institutions based on the success of students and graduation rates, instead of enrollment, it incentivizes the higher education system to graduate more students and  strengthen the workforce


Marco Rubio

Student debt/education: As per Rubio’s bipartisan bill, the Dynamic Repayment Act, introduced to the senate in 2014, all federal loan borrowers are put into a program where 10% of monthly earnings are paid toward student loan repayment. The money would be taken directly from paychecks. Borrowers can also prepay their loans without penalty if they prefer. Also, loans up to $57,000 are forgiven after 20 years, and loans greater than that are forgiven after 30 years.


Immigration: Rubio advocates for the security of the borders, enforcing immigration law in workplaces, and putting in place a system for tracking visas. He says that enforcing immigration laws is not anti-immigrant, and that every nation has the right to set such laws. He has supported cancelling President Obama’s “unconstitutional” executive orders, eliminating funding for sanctuary cities (cities that shelter illegal immigrants), deport illegal immigrants, hire thousands more Border Patrol officers, complete the wall on the southern border, and install four billion dollars of security equipment on that wall.


Marijuana: Rubio is open to the medicinal use of marijuana, but not the recreational use. He believes that there is no responsible way to use marijuana recreationally and that legalization would be very bad for the country. Rubio also advises that great care should be taken in the reduction of sentences for possession of marijuana. He has also supported the overriding of state legalizations with federal law in cases such as Colorado and Oregon, where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use.


Gun Policy: Rubio believes that we must examine why people take violent action, not what they’re using to commit the violent act. He believes that mental illness is a significant factor that needs to be addressed more seriously. He insists that the safety of our families is not something the government can provide, but rather a fundamental right that everyone deserves. He says that “dissenters” try to stigmatize gun owners, but he argues that exercising one’s Second Amendment right could be the difference between life and death.


Healthcare: Rubio advocates for repealing ObamaCare. He claims it has revealed the “painful consequences” of trusting big government. He says that ObamaCare must be replaced with a market-driven, modernized alternative. He wishes to reform Medicare and Medicaid for the 21st century. He has made multiple efforts in the past to repeal ObamaCare, claiming to have warned of a taxpayer bailout of the insurance industry and succeeding in stopping it.


Climate change: Rubio believes that humans are not responsible for climate change in the way that “some of these people would have us believe.” Rather, he believes that the climate is changing now because there has never been a time when it isn’t changing. He questions what percentage of that is due to human activity. He doubts the economic effectivity of “the things they want us to do” (cap-and-trade, etc.). He claims that these measures are not guaranteed to stop climate change, but are guaranteed to destroy the economy.






Bernie Sanders


Climate change: Sanders main policy initiatives include: reclaiming our democracy from the billionaire fossil fuel lobby, accelerate a just transition away from fossil fuels, invest in clean and sustainable energy, revolutionize the electric and transportation infrastructure, and lead the international community to solve climate change and prevent international conflict. In Sanders full-length plan, he begins by stating that America must lead the world in tackling climate change to make sure the planet is habitable for future generations.


Gun control: Should take action against those who illegally and knowingly sell guns to criminals. He’d require instant background checks on those who wish to purchase a gun and would also ban the purchases of certain semi-automatic weapons. He’s voted to end the “gunshow loophole,” which essentially allows the purchase of guns without background checks. Also, those with a criminal history or history of mental illness would not be allowed to purchase guns.


Immigration: Sanders would like immigrants to be able to purchase healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Instead of building walls, he’d instate proper oversight which protects border communities. He would dismantle inhumane deportation programs and private detention centers and would support humane local and state laws that integrate immigrants into the communities.


Healthcare: Sanders strongly believes that healthcare should be recognized as a right, and not a privilege. He says the only long-term solution is to have a single-payer, national healthcare program. One way he would ensure this would be to make sure that anyone who is making more than $250,000 yearly income is paying their fair share in taxes. According to his health plan, families in America would save an average of $5,000 per year. He also says there needs to be a system where the health of working-class families takes priority over the profits of insurance companies.


Marijuana: Overall, Sanders believes that the “war on drugs” has failed. Instead of punishing those because of drugs, he’d like to see more done when it comes to rehabilitate. Sanders wants to take marijuana off the government’s list of outlawed drugs. He says marijuana has medical uses and should be legalized, and that he would vote “Yes” as a resident of a state considering the recreational use. For federal legalization, he has said that he supports ending the federal prohibition and allow states to opt for legalization if they choose.


Student debt: Sanders main goal is to make tuition free at all public colleges and universities. He wants to put an end to the federal government making money off of student loan programs. According to Sanders, over the next 10 years the government will profit $110 billion from these programs. He plans to impose a small tax on Wall Street to aid the cost of public education. Public universities and colleges would be expected to meet 100 percent of the needs of the lowest-income students, including room and board, living expenses and books.




Donald Trump


Student Debt: Trump has been noticed slamming the government on profiting from federal student loans. He believes the problem can be solved by creating jobs in the private sector, and disagrees with raising the minimum wage because he wants to create jobs where “people can get so much more than that.”



Immigration: Trump argues that “a nation without borders is not a nation at all,” and that there must be a wall built across the southern border. The plan is to make Mexico actually pay for the wall, because of their illegal immigration into the United States and using this entrance to export their own countries “crime and poverty.” He plans to triple the amount of ICE officers, “return” all criminal aliens to their home countries (and keep them detained until they are sent home), and end birthright citizenship.



Marijuana: Although his stance on legalization has changed multiple times, Trump has adopted a softened stance on marijuana, claiming that he supports medical usage but opposes overall legalization. He feels as though it should be a state-by-state issue, but feels as though Colorado has had many issues since marijuana was officially legalized there.



Healthcare: Trump plans to completely repeal and replace Obamacare, because he believes it was a disaster. Taking a similar stance as Ben Carson, Trump believes that replacing Obamacare with Health Savings accounts would be more beneficial, and agrees that Medicare may not even be necessary on this plan. He also believes that vaccinations in large quantities cause autism, which he explains as an epidemic caused by too many vaccinations in a short period of time.



Climate change: Trump believes that global warming is a hoax, and was created by the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. He has criticized the White House for money wasted on “green energy failures,” and discounts negative impacts of natural gas, oil, and coal.



Gun control: Trump believes that politicians are “chipping away” at the Second Amendment and that it’s getting weaker and weaker. He says that the right to self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of the driveway, and that’s one of the reasons he has a concealed-carry permit and that those permits should be legal in all 50 states. He doesn’t feel that the government has the right to dictate what type of guns Americans can own, such as semi-automatics.



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