Sabria Chowdhury Balland :
"Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their backs on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters."
Abraham Lincoln, President Obama comes to the end of his two presidential terms in 2017. The current presidential candidates view the upcoming election in November of 2016 as one which holds more significance than any other. A primary cause for this shared sentiment is most likely tied to the President being a Democrat and the Senate and Congress (the Legislative Branch of the government) being controlled by the Republicans.
This has inevitably led to a "war of the Titans" situation, with the Legislative Branch of government attempting to block almost all bills put forth by the White House.
It has often even shut down the government and continually threatens to do so on a regular basis. The Conservative road blocks have often led to President Obama issuing executive orders to override the objections put forth by the Senate and the Congress. Why this presidential election holds such importance for the candidates and many voters alike can be broken down quite simply as follows:
If the Republicans continue to control the Senate and Congress with a Democrat President, the likelihood of bipartisan animosity is extremely high.
Therefore, the Democrats obviously wish to take control of the Senate and Congress and keep the Presidency, ensuring an equable and fluid functionality of the government.
By the same token, the Republicans want the same thing- to keep control of the Senate and Congress and to win the Presidency.
This is not to say that there is no historical precedence of the Presidency and the Legislative Branch of government belonging to opposing political parties. However, the working relationship between President Obama and the Republicans has been, from the beginning of his presidency, intensely critical.
This has caused bipartisan collaboration to be virtually impossible.
Hence the extremely significant nature and result of the future 2016 election.
Furthermore, policies hold monumental significance for foreign policy matters, affecting global stability. Therefore, who is in the White House and what his or her belief system is, needless to say, is of utmost consequence.
Here is a look at the most significant Presidential candidates from the Democratic and Republican Parties:
Hillary Clinton has served for two terms as Senator from the state of New York. Following this, she has served as the Secretary Of State in President Obama's first term in office. In addition, she was the First Lady during her husband, Bill Clinton's two terms as President. She is the first former First Lady to serve in both the US Senate and in a President's cabinet.
Her political stance-
-Immigration: Clinton believes that the President should waive deportation for certain undocumented immigrants.
-The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): Clinton would like to keep it and strengthen it. She is a strong supporter of this Act.
-Taxes: Clinton advocates cutting middle class taxes and closing corporate loopholes. She believes strongly that "extreme inequality has corrupted other societies", thus wanting as much as possible to close the income gap.
Israel: Clinton would like to work towards a two state solution in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
-Iran: Hillary Clinton supports the Iran Nuclear Deal and would like to continue to follow a diplomatic path along with efforts towards some sanctions.
-ISIS: Clinton does not support any " boots on the ground". She is for using US air support in fighting ISIS but opposes American and other Western troops on the ground. She advocates that the Iraqis should be providing ground troops.
To date, Hillary Clinton is the leading Democratic candidate according to election polls. Her prospects of winning the presidency are, not surprisingly, extremely elevated.
The Democratic candidate almost with an equal percentage of support at the polls with Hillary Clinton is Bernie Sanders. Sanders is the Independent Senator from Vermont who us now running under the Democratic ticket.
Bernie Sanders' political positions are of a highly unusual nature in the United States. He is identified ( and identifies himself) as a Democratic Socialist, favoring the Scandinavian form of governments and social structure.
The essential core of Sanders' campaign and philosophy is his aversion to "big money" and its extremely monumental influence on corporate America.
Sanders openly praises the Socialism of Scandinavian governments and largely believes that the US would benefit from following their models.
Some of Sanders' positions on issues include free higher education for all, supporting immigration reform in providing citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants, supporting actions to protect the environment, believing that healthcare is a right and should be guaranteed to all Americans regardless of wealth and income.
What is rather astonishing is Bernie Sanders' increasingly significant popularity. He is very close behind Hillary Clinton in the polls and that with his Socialist views.
His political views embody a novel thought process for such a free market, capitalist social fabric and policies such as those which exist in the US.
The popularity of Sanders strongly proves one point: many Americans are ready for major changes in closing the income gap and strengthening the middle class, along with socializing basic human rights such as healthcare and higher education. These points are central to Sanders' political viewpoints and campaign. They are also common denominators in the political positions of both Clinton and Sanders. In addition, both candidates favour gun control.
Bernie Sanders' chances of a win are strong but Hillary Clinton remains the favourite in the polls so far perhaps due to the fact that she fits more into the political and corporate establishment.
The billionsure-turned-presidential hopeful has, not surprisingly, views which are almost utterly contrary to those of the Democratic candidates, as are those of his Republican counterparts.
Trump favors Ronald Reagan's trickle down economics policies, has an aversion to the Affordable Care Act ( Obamacare), distrusts China, has made outlandish comments about building a wall across the United States' southern border in order to keep the Mexicans out, denies climate change, and has without embarrassment used the election platform to launch his personal attacks against basically everyone. He is a frontrunner among the Conservatives, but how plausible it is to win the Presidency with blatant racist, xenophobic and sexist ideologies is yet to see.
The retired neurosurgeon identified himself as pro-life/anti-abortion, denies climate change and is against Obamacare.
He has been criticized at great lengths for his anti-Muslim remarks that a Muslim should not be President of the US and for his accounts about his past which seem to borderline the truth.
Carson's chances of actually winning the Presidency (being almost at par with Donald Trump at the polls) are as high as Trump's statistically and both have an equal chance of winning the Republican nomination.
The former Governor of Florida and the son and brother of two former presidents, Jeb Bush, is consisted to be significantly to the right on policies.
Bush is antiabortion, supports the collection of metadata of phone calls, a supporter of the death penalty, not a full believer of climate change and for expanding gun owners' rights.
Despite his family's influence and surname, he is not even a favourite among the Republicans for their nomination making his actual win more distant.
The other prominent Republican candidates such as Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio are all, for the most part highly Conservative in their views.
They tend to keep with the Republican tradition of completely ignoring global and economic issues, those which actually matter in governance. Instead, the Republican focus seems to be more on womens' health issues and ultra-Conservative religious issues, almost to the point of being xenophobic.
The chances of any such candidates who are running to vent out their personal vendettas against certain ethnic groups, races or religions or utilizing their notoriety to publicize themselves or their interests of winning the Presidency will hopefully be very slim.
The voters in this election need to rationalize and choose extremely wisely, to say the least. Otherwise, as President Lincoln stated, they will certainly pay the consequences dearly. We need to remember to not fall for the trap of "divide and conquer."