[Click here for an updated version of this post, contrasting the views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump]

On the public radio show This American Life, the host Ira Glass once noted the widening chasm in American politics:

“Everyone knows that politics is now so divided in our country that not only do the two sides disagree on the solutions to the country’s problems, they don’t even agree on what the problems are. It’s two versions of the world in collision.”

There’s a lot at stake in the upcoming presidential election, and no shortage of disagreement about how the United States should move forward.

Click each box below to learn more about the issues, get a sense of where the majority of Americans stand and see the dramatically different positions taken by the slew of Republican and Democratic candidates vying for the presidency. If the interactive is not appearing below, click here to reload the page.

The Big Issues of the 2016 Presidential Election and Where the Candidates Stand 31 August,2016Charu Kukreja

  • Zoe W.

    Personally, I believe that the gun control issue is completely solvable but our own ignorance is keeping us from addressing what seems to be the real problem. I believe that the Democrat’s POV on the issue and their way of solving it seems to be the most logical, and it seems bogus to believe that we should let the current gun control continue after all of the mass-shooting incidents. So many people have died over the complete and utter ignorance of the officials in charge of making sure that guns are not sparingly handed out to those who would do harm with it. Too much trust has been entitled to humans who mean to do harm with the weapons we have entrusted them with, and there is absolutely no question that we should enforce more control on such an important issue.

  • Elizabeth K.

    I believe that the wellbeing of the economy is one of the most important things to young people today in our world. I believe that people should leave the minimum wage the same. If you raise the minimum wage you will then have to raise the cost of services and goods. If you begin to raise the cost of services and goods then the cost will increase leading to inflation. If inflation happens the ratio of dollars to cost of services and goods will be greater than when the minimum wage was before the increase. We can also see this example in Europe with the Euro. The Euro has been devaluing in value thus leading to the price increase of goods that are in the country. I believe that in order to make our economy well we should make sure that minimum wage should be left the same.

  • Sydney F

    I am all for abortion and I feel it is something that should be allowed because mistakes happen and some women are raped and are left with a child they don’t want. I hope the next president keeps abortion and protects it because it is something we need. There are a lot of people that are “pro-life” but I think it’s ridiculous because these people shoot girls and doctors at abortion clinics, taking away lives. This happens at 80% of abortion clinics, and I hope the president also helps protect these clinics.

  • Isabella G.

    To me, the most important issue to me and my community is gun control, as it is the cause of so much loss of life in situations where it could be so easily prevented. Nowadays, guns are more of a danger than something to keep yourself safe. I do not believe there are any major issues missing from the list.

  • AishniJ

    I think that guns should be banned for the people and only the military should be able to use guns. If no one except the military has guns there will be less chances of shootings. The president should ban the use of guns and take away the guns that are already out there with the people, which will make the United States a better place.

  • Lonnie

    I believe that guns should not be legal in the United States. I say this because there are tons of mass killings in the U.S. that involve shootings. For example, there was a recent shooting in San Bernardino, where 14 people were killed, and 21 people were injured.

  • Pranav D

    I don’t personally have any connections with any of these different topics. But, in a couple of years, I will have to college, so student debt may become a problem after I’m done with it. I don’t know how bad student debt can get, but I am assuming it gets pretty bad because it is an important topic of discussion. I hope that student debt doesn’t cause any more problems for anyone, as I’m at least aware it is a very big problem in people’s lives.

  • Conor Dobbs

    .As much as the prices for college matter later in life, I think we should be focusing on high school and middle school. We are learning trivia that a large majority won’t matter later in life. We should be focusing on learning how to function in the real world, everything that we believe to be mandatory right now should be an option for a higher education. There are several videos on this topic but this is the one that has gotten the most attention https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xe6nLVXEC0. #DontStayInSchool is talking about the subjects he is not encouraging anyone to actually drop out of school

  • Bryanna R.

    I am leaning towards the Republican’s side because they believe that the minimum wage is good as is. I believe that the next president should keep the minimum wage as is because if you raise the minimum wage it will effect many businesses, but mostly small family businesses. I believe that the president should at least lower the prices of taxes, at least.

  • Amanda D.

    I believe that women should get equal pay as men. The average woman makes 9% less than the average man which is not right. It is 2015! Women should have the same rights as men. I hope that the next president will understand that this is wrong and make a change.

  • Cameron Brace

    Cameron B.

    On the afternoon of Sep 4, 2015, shots rang out across the campus of Sacramento City College killing 1 and wounding 2 others. On that fateful day a man brought a gun to the campus and shot it up from the parking lot over a verbal dispute. My uncle teaches a photography class at the school and was at the campus just 5 minutes before the unknown gunman ran into the parking lot and got in an argument and fired shots. The police determined that the man had a mental illness that incited him to shoot over a argument. My uncle barely escaped the violence but this was to close a call, that is why I advocate for stricter gun laws that enforce detailed background checks on everyone who buys a gun no matter how big or small. I also advocate for gun stores to stop selling automatic rifles and semi automatic machine-guns to people without a government clearance to buy them. Congress should pass law prohibiting the sale of high powered rifle and machine-gun rounds to anyone without a government clearance or a strict background check. I also propose that the president help pass laws that limit the power of the National Rifle Association. Gun laws should be enforced with utmost urgency because of the frequency of shootings in the country because of mental illness or over arguments that are don’t require gunshots to settle.

  • Kelly M

    As of now, wealthier people that have to work hard to make their living, are forced to give their money away to those who may not even work, just because they have money. This does not encourage people that do not have a job to get one, I mean why should they if they are already receiving money without working for it? My hopes are that our next president will understand that rising the taxes for the wealthier people and giving it to those without a job will not help any people or encourage them to work, instead encouraging them not to get a job or even work for their money.

  • Mary Kate M.

    I strongly agree with the Democratic standing on climate change. I believe that we should be working hard on stopping global warming, because it is a great issue that can and will effect the entire world if we don’t stop it. It is something that is constantly growing in importance because of how much carbon we are emitting every day of our lives. Everyone should be trying their best to reduce how much energy they use, because we use so much in our every day lives without even realizing how much it effects the environment. If we don’t do something about it, it will become a bigger and bigger problem and get much harder to control the longer we leave it alone.

  • Malyssa P

    Gun Control:
    I think that the government should close down gun shops and any other ways to get guns. The only people who should only have guns are the people that are in the army, or a police, or anyone that helps the country. For example what happened in California in San Bernardino where these 2 people killed 14 people and injured 21 people. This shows that only people that help our country should have guns. If people wanted a gun they should have a good reason and have a license and be accepted by the government to get a gun.

  • Angel A

    I think people should not have guns and the army should only have guns. The president would take away the peoples guns and just give it to the military. In result, there will be less shootings and the United States would be a safer place.

  • Kory C

    Looking upon the issue of money, I believe that the wealthy should not have to be taxed more. The wealthy worked hard and fairly gained their money and if these taxes come up, it’s almost as if their hard work was for nothing. Their money would go to the government who would either waste it by giving it to the unemployed, who choose not to work and live of the government, or spending it on unneeded government projects. Although I agree with raising up the minimum wage, I do not believe it should be raised nearly as high as $15, I would say about $10 would be ideal. My thoughts on gun control are that banning guns would do nothing if not create more problems. First off it’s not the gun who killed anyone, it was the person pulling the trigger. By banning guns, you may prevent the problem of lots of people owning them, but then people would respond with underground and black market deals. My thought on this is that the parents should teach self-control and gun safety to their children. They should also lock these guns up and keep them for self defense later if needed.

  • Max Buscheck

    Abortion is a very serious topic and should not be taken lightly. Some people believe that killing a human is wrong. Now I believe that if one has a good reason, there is nothing wrong with stopping the birth of a child. If a fifteen year old girl got raped and ended up becoming pregnant, then there is no good argument that could say it would be ridiculous to abort the baby. If a fifteen year old girl was pregnant she would miss a lot of class for the baby. She would have to take off almost a year of school just to take care of the baby and recover from giving birth. A fifteen year old girl does not have to go through the pain of birth as a high school student if she doesn’t want to. That would ruin her education because she would miss so much school.

  • Camryn G.

    I strongly agree with the democratic views. My main concern is abortion, I am pro-choice, and women should have the choice to keep the child or not. Republican candidates are all pro-life, which is okay. But to go as far as defunding Planned Parenthood, I believe that’s absolutely absurd. Only 3% of Planned Parenthood is for abortion. Take note that 9% is for cancer screenings, and a mind-boggling 42% is for STD testing and treatment. Planned Parenthood isn’t strictly for abortion, that’s a very small percent of it. Planned Parenthood should be continued to be funded, because it offers many health services to women who are in need. Our new president should be pro-choice, and allow women to make their own choices, rather than being forced to keep a baby that was unplanned.

  • Saniya M

    Wealthier people that have to work hard to make their money, give their money to the poor in taxes. I think that this discourages the poor to try and find a job, and make their own living. The poor rely on the taxes from the wealthy, and the more you increase the tax, the more poor people will be unemployed. My hopes are that our next president will understand that raising the taxes for the wealthy and giving it to those without a job will not help any people or to find a job,but tells them not to even work for their money. I agree with the democratic side regarding the issue with minimum wage. The minimum wage should be increased, but not by as much as double of what it already is at.

  • Alex L

    I think that we should have way stricter gun laws. Shootings occur on a regular basis nowadays. That isn’t right. I hope that the next president will enforce gun laws much more strict. I think that the public shouldn’t be allowed to obtain large guns like shotguns and assault rifles. All we need for self-defense is a simple handgun or pistol of some sort. And even with those small guns, we should have very, very strict laws about them. Guns are taken way too lightly if mass shootings keep occurring almost every day.

  • Anshul P

    I believe that the issue regarding money should be looked at. Financial inequality is never a good thing and should be taken care of right away. If a person does not have much money, they cannot afford essential things that are necessary in life. Money is tied to a lot of other issues such as higher education or health care. For this issue, I agree with both the democrats and republicans, in that the candidates should focus on raising minimum wage. I also think that wealthy people should pay more taxes. This would make a more equal finical system. Often times, people that are not as wealthy cannot control the state they are in. Often times, it is not their fault. Therefore, a main issue that the next president should focus on is financial inequality.

  • Martino C.S.

    On gun control: I feel like the government should be able to put higher restrictions on who can and cannot purchase guns; looking upon more recent shootings. Many lives are ended simply because there aren’t enough restrictions on gun purchases in the US, unlike in other countries, where gun control laws reduce deaths. I understand that guns are used to hunt for sport, and I am fine with that as long as there is a limit on how much you kill, but my ideas on gun control are that they should only be used for hunting if necessary or for self-defense, and that people with criminal records, symptoms of mental illness or disorder, or suspects of crime should not be able to purchase firearms for the safety of the citizens of the US. I hope that the next president will do something about the loose gun control laws that allow killers to slip through and shoot up public locations.

  • Kenneth N

    Gun Control, something that has gone out of hand as the U.S. has more than 350 mass shootings this year. To me, I agree with the democrats because they wanted to have increased background screening procedures and making it a lot harder to buy guns. I think that this should happen because ever since the San Bernadinho incident, it’s becoming apparent that these terrorist attacks are coming anywhere in the world now, even if it is a small city or not. The Republicans want to keep this, but all it ends up is more and more mass shootings. Stop the mass shootings. The more mass shootings there are, the more danger us citizens become.

  • JosieGS

    Gun Control: My personal belief regarding gun control is that guns need to be maintained. Guns lead to violence and death therefore I strongly believe that guns should only be for the use of the military. For this particular situation I stand with the Democrats for their voice in this situation, they want a thorough background check for anyone who wants to purchase a gun. According to the article above there have been around 350 mass shootings in The United States which can lead to many peoples lives vanishing from the Earth. In Summary, I believe that the Government should restrict the purchasing of guns and the use.

  • Ethan W

    I think that the issue of gun control is a very serious one that affects kids a lot. There have been a lot of shootings at schools and have brought up a huge issue. The only way to fix the issue is to regulate the purchasing and selling of guns. Using the argument that guns don’t kill people people kill people is completely unsupported by real evidence. In Australia they passed a law that got rid of all guns and created an application process to get them. People still have guns and still use guns in Australia however they are people who use guns for useful purposes. Such as hunting or sport. The people who have them are not going to go and shoot up a school. You might say that those people could go shoot anyone and the law didn’t solve anything. However you would be wrong once again. Leading up to the law there had been 13 mass shootings in Australia. Since the law passed there have been a total of 0 mass shootings. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on how to solve the issue of guns. However when you use an argument that has no evidence behind it you can’t expect it to work. When you take an argument like mine that has and is working, how do you argue against that.

  • Sana S.

    I believe that abortion should be legal, or pro-choice. Many parents are unable to take care of children because of their economic or mental status. They may be unable to provide food or a safe home for the child, causing it to be put up for adoption or have a troubled childhood. Therefore, allowing abortions will lessen the amount of children who have broken homes and difficult lives. A woman should always get to choose whether or not she’s capable of taking care of her baby. For example, one of my aunts got pregnant when she was a teen, still going through school. She decided to abort the baby. If she hadn’t terminated the baby, she would have had to quit school and she wouldn’t have gotten as good of a job, causing the baby to live a harder life. However, now, my aunt has a better job, a good home, and she has a year old daughter. As a result, her daughter is able to have a comfortable and happy life. Overall, this is why I think abortion should be pro choice.

  • Evgeny P.

    Higher Education:
    Higher education is the most important topic to me right now, and probably will be later. If you want to get a good job and earn money, you need to have a nice diploma saying you finished a good college. Good colleges are extremely expensive, and most of them will have you end up in a heavy student debt. I think that there a lot many people who are at least as capable as those who finished an expensive college, but aren’t able to get a job just because their parents didn’t have enough money, or they didn’t qualify for scholarship for a tiny reason. Now the same story will happen to their children, and this will continue throughout generations, wasting talent and keeping people who are capable but poor down.

  • Dana C

    Gun Control –
    I believe the democrats are right in this situation. The ability to arm ourselves is mandatory for survival. In the case of an on-campus shooter at a nearby area or school, who happens to have an illegal weapon, then I believe we should have the right to take arms. I agree with stricter rules, but guns are designed for protection in cases such as these. The new gun control laws not only limit guns, but they also limit our own rights for protection. These rules are designed to keep us safe. However, statistics show that those with guns tend to survive longer than those without. If we were unarmed in the situation described above, with a nearby shooter or on campus, will you survive?

  • Noelle Jue

    On the issue of climate change I believe that Obama’s decision was the right one to make. The climate change is a serious issue and if we don’t make any efforts to prevent the climate change, then the problem is just getting worse and worse. By taking actions sooner it may help prevent the climate change from happening or getting worse. I agree on what the Democrats say about this issue. I believe we do need to make the change into renewable energy and tax the fossil fuel companies. The Republicans on the other hand, I totally disagree with what they are proposing. They are too blinded by the economy that they don’t realize the big issue worldwide. Humans are a big reason why the climate keeps raising in temperature. Climate change is affecting everything living worldwide. Our next president should be one who will make an effort to help prevent the climate change from getting worse.

  • Megan C

    Regarding the issue about abortions, I believe that the country should have a controlled abortion procedure. I believe that woman should have the right to choose whether they want an abortion or not. Mistakes are going to happen, and when they do occur, I believe that having an abortion is appropriate. I do agree with Arizona’s opinion on banning an abortion after 20 weeks, since at that point in a pregnancy, the baby is viable. However, banning abortion all together is not smart. Some pregnant woman and teens would not be ready to have responsibility of a child, and some may not have the money to support one.

  • Talisa S.

    Money is very important, and almost is too important in this world. It basically takes over people. But you need it to survive. The wealthy people have much money and are in good health and have good jobs that give them loads of money each day. The poor don’t have as great jobs as the wealthy. Some may have some good health but some may have poor health. The poor don’t make as much as the rich, some may work minimum wage, which they only get $7.25 per hour. Minimum wage should be raised for the poor who need to survive. They are people too and it is not their fault they can’t afford as many things as the rich. They need to live and their life is just as much important as the 7 billion people living today.

  • Jacob M

    Gun control has been a very hot topic as of late, but I think that despite the mass shootings, selling firearms should not be disallowed. However, there should be some restrictions on the sale of firearms. People should prove of a clean mental and physical health, have a valid US citizenship, and make sure of being above the age of twenty-one. Banning the sale of firearms is unconstitutional, as the second amendment was created so that the able-bodied citizens of the US would be able to protect themselves and their families, as well as revolt against the government should they forget the rights of the people. I am not a ‘gun person’ myself, but I enjoy being able to test my skills with a rifle or shotgun at Boy Scout camps. If the next president banned the sale of firearms, many activities enjoyed by people would end. In addition to this, many people who think that banning the sale of firearms believe that this will end public shootings once and for all, but it won’t work. In the old days of Soviet Russia, a communist state, the trafficking of illegal firearms was a massive problem that hasn’t been solved. Perhaps needing to get a permit that dictates the use of a firearm would help to reduce illegal use of these weapons, maybe it wouldn’t.

  • Olivia F.

    I think that we should be more strict in addressing the guns and gun laws. Because this situation has been taken lightly, there are many shootings. While it is true that the second amendment grants all Americans the right to bear arms, mass shootings have been the result. For any U.S. citizen to own a gun is allowing them to have a weapon and kill. I hope that future presidents will address this serious issue and enforce more strict laws. While there may be a few exceptions (ex: military, police, etc.) more strict gun laws should be enforced.

  • Jack M

    On the topic of National Defense, I think we should stay out of the area. If we send troops into the Islamic area, we would just give I.S.I.S. another reason to attack us. If we send in troops we will also scare the other people living in the area, or we might make them mad at us and organize an attack. If we just stay out of the topic, we would not be targeted.

  • Giancarlo C.

    Climate change is a very important topic to me. I believe that climate change cause by humans is real and that we need to do something to prevent the growth of it. Research has shown that over time, carbon dioxide emissions have created more greenhouse gases, which cause Earth’s atmosphere to heat up, making more marine life endangered because of water temperatures heating up, and causing the polar ice caps to heat up, making less habitat for animals like polar bears and arctic seals. To fix this problem, I think that we should put a cap on how much coal we can burn, and we can also make cars and other machinery have less emissions. Burning natural gas also creates greenhouse gases, and I also have seen research that shows that beef production also makes greenhouse gases, so we cam find easier ways to do things without making greenhouse gases, and cutting down on carbon emissions. I hope that the next president and an agreeable stance on climate change that includes cutting down on carbon emissions.

  • Immie B

    I have done research on global warming and I believe that it is not true because from what I have read and heard about it research shows that all experiments that were claimed to be proof that global warming is real had major flaws in it. In addition to this many, many experiments have showed that global warming is not real. Also, facts that I have read about global warming do not make much sense, such as some that say that glaciers are melting, but yet Arctic Ice has increased by 50% since 2012. Furthermore, patterns in climate change of the Earth do not support that global warming is real because Earth’s climate is always changing, and usually always in similar patterns, for global warming to be real it would be going against that natural pattern. Honestly, I feel that no information on global warming is one-hundred percent clear, which also leads me to wonder if it is really real. I stand with the people who feel that it global warming a hoax, and a way for people to get money from others.

  • Nick H.

    I have done research on gun control and I believe that government officials need to do something about it. They say it can not be changed because of the constitution. I don’t think that matters though. To many people are dying because of gun control, and something needs to happen fast. Measures need to be put in place for better background checks, so guns don’t end up in the hands of people that should not have guns.

  • Trevor G

    I am incredibly concerned about climate change and realize that it is no small problem and requires immediate attention. Global warming would literally exterminate all life on Earth, including humans. I enjoy science fiction stories, but I find post-apocalyptic genres too depressing to enjoy, and massive climate change could make our species’ worst fears come true. I am glad that a global apocalypse only exists in fantasies, but it is entirely possible that an apocalypse could come to fruition in actual reality. As if that wasn’t depressing enough, humans have complete and total control over whether or not the world ends, and if worldwide cataclysm destroys all life on Earth, it will be all our fault! Renewable energy sources are equally as common if not more common than greenhouse gas producing fuels, and come in literally infinite amounts. It is long past time that human civilization derives technological power from the infinite sources with no negative side effects rather than the finite fuel items that would inevitably instigate more than fatal side-effects. I would expend herculean effort to ensure that the U.S. President enacts to cease climate change.

  • Jacob K.

    I believe that the gun control laws should be stricter. Say that someone with a criminal record or someone who was mentally ill went to buy a gun. There have been 350 deaths this year from gun incidents. There have been too many incidents and massacres that had to do with gun control. This is why I believe there needs to be more serious checks for when someone buys a gun.

  • Robert H.

    Climate change will be a large part of our future, so the next president should cut greenhouse gas emissions and promoting renewable energy related projects. Global warming is caused by the increase in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which destroys the ozone layer, letting in more sunlight and ultimately making the temperature higher because of increased sunlight exposure to parts of the world. Global warming can locally affect children, teenagers, and adults alike here in the Bay Area through ocean rises in cities along the San Francisco Bay caused by melting glaciers, burning heat waves created by the increase in temperature, and more frequent smog, especially in populated areas. Because of all of these possible problems, the next U.S. President should therefore value cutting greenhouse gas emissions and start and fund renewable energy source projects.

  • Lucas H

    Climate change is a problem which cannot be taken lightly and must be fixed immediately. Global warming leads to the melting of ice, especially at the Earth’s poles; this will lead to the rising of sea level, resulting in the flooding of many places, including our community. The melting of the poles will affect wildlife. Scientists report that some polar bears are drowning, for they must swim longer distances to reach ice floes. Additionally, global warming leads to health problems. In July 2006, severe heat waves in North America contributed to the deaths of at least 225 people. Finally, global warming leads to hot, dry weather, which led to a record-setting 2006 wildland fire season with nearly 100,000 fires reported and nearly 10 million acres burned, 125 percent above the decade’s average. Global warming, a problem created by humans alone, will destroy all forms of life on Earth, and make Earth, our only home, an uninhabitable planet if left untreated. Due to these consequences, I hope the next U.S. President would cut carbon emissions and start and fund renewable energy source projects.

  • William W.

    Interestingly, opinions here on the most important topic tend to be either gun control or abortion, with some scattered on income inequality and climate change. I simply noticed this while reading through comments, and (take no offense) it seems like many people chose the topic they heard about most recently on the news or felt would be the easiest to explain. Nobody voiced thoughts about immigration, health care, or national defense, which I found a bit strange as they certainly do affect us the same amount, if not more.
    Here begins my real opinion:
    While all of these issues are highly significant and will definitely be a huge part of our lives after the 2016 election, the problem of climate change looms largest and most concerning. First and foremost, we will all be screwed if we fail to halt the already-irreversible damages to our environment soon, because then neither gun control nor abortion nor immigration nor criminal justice nor income inequality nor national defense nor health care nor student debt will matter at all, ever, for the remainder of eternity.
    I am heavily disappointed in the people who prefer to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that climate change is nonexistent, or even that it is not caused by human activity or will not affect our lives. There are literally tons of papers’ worth of scientific data indicating that global warming exists and is a major problem for life on Earth, and still some people—especially our Republican candidates—continue to dismiss the research and staunchly and stupidly declare that the opposite is true. Whether these unfortunate claims are born of a need to maintain jobs or economy in given regions, an unwillingness to implement environmental policies that may endanger their position, or just utter and total ignorance of the world around them, people like those Republicans simply do not have a good grasp of this subject so important to our future.
    Global warming, if left unchecked or improperly dealt with, will have a profound influence on the lives of all humans. It is not to be taken lightly—surely we have all heard of the temperature rising, ocean acidification and increase in volume, glaciers and icebergs melting, abnormal weather, damage to the ozone layer, higher risk for wildfires, floods, and droughts, losses in regional biodiversity, and generally negative effects on ecosystems on every continent. Even the possibility of mass extinctions arises, if species worldwide are unable to adapt quickly enough to the accelerating changes. Hundreds and hundreds of studies have documented these disturbing consequences, and have ‘with very high confidence’ (read: without a shadow of a doubt) attributed these outcomes to human activity. It should be perfectly, readily obvious how and why global warming will affect us.
    Our next president must come to their senses and immediately determine an effective and feasible environmental policy which will not leave out any issue or nation and can be enacted as soon as humanly possible. We can at least start with cutting greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, and begin the transition to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.
    Permanent damage to the environment and the planet have already been made, and we can do nothing to reverse our past mistakes. However, we can educate ourselves in environmental protection and unite to prevent future mistakes, and so maybe—just maybe—we can bring humanity back from the brink.

  • Tolu A

    I believe that higher education is a very big issue in America today. Some students aren’t able to attend good colleges because their parents don’t have enough money to spend on college and support their family at the same time. It’s unfortunate that sometimes when they get a student loan, they aren’t able to pay that as well. I think that this might be one reason why college students drop out or don’t go to college at all. This is a very big issue because without going to college, you aren’t very likely to get a good job that pays well too. More and more people will be under educated and working jobs where they don’t get payed very much. Many people have the potential to be a great scientist or doctor, but they can’t follow their dreams because money is the main factor. I wonder what would happen if all the people who couldn’t go to college were told that it was now free. I bet many people would take the first plane ride to college and maybe they would be the ones to find a cure to a terminal disease.

  • Elsa P

    I have never experienced any terrorism attack, or something where we need help from our national defense, but there has been many things that have happened like the attack on paris, and 9/11. I think that national defense is very important to the world because if we are attacked by people, we need people to protect us and make sure that we are safe. With all the terrorism going on we need an army to protect us.

  • Julia Pilch

    I think national defense is extremely important because this will protect us from terrorist attacks and from unsafe events occurring in our country. If we didn’t have people protecting us, we could never be safe. Many events have proven that we definitely need our military to protect from attacks. For example in Syria, ISIS is now rising and many people are trying to come to the United States. Many other events have caused losses and sorrows throughout the nation like in pearl harbor, the recent attacks in Paris, and the Holocaust. These could have been avoided or have been controlled and have caused less damage.

  • Julia P

    I think national defense is extremely important because this will
    protect us from terrorist attacks and from unsafe events occurring in
    our country. If we didn’t have people protecting us, we could never be
    safe. Many events have proven that we definitely need our military to
    protect from attacks. For example in Syria, ISIS is now rising and many
    people are trying to come to the United States. Many other events have
    caused losses and sorrows through out the nation like in pearl harbor,
    the recent attacks in Paris, and the Holocaust. These could have been
    avoided or have been controlled and have caused less damage.

  • Jack W

    Discussing the topic of money, I think that it is not fair to tax the more wealthy people more harshly. The wealthy people worked very hard toward their success. It is unfair for the people having to pay more taxes to fund people that do not have jobs and sometimes choose not to because they just will have the government keep funding their lives. It makes me feel this way because some of people that are successful may not have been born into it. They probably worked day and night to try and earn the things they have now. Even if they were born into success and wealth, their parents and people before them must have had to work for their success as well. Overall, people that work hard and earned their wealth should not have to pay higher taxes to fund the jobless and the people that choose not to work.

  • Kathy Z.

    Excess carbon emission not only hurt us humans, but also hurt plants and other animals as well. Plants and animals that need to live in areas with cold climates will lose their homes, and will either have to adapt to a new environment or die off, affecting the entire ecosystem. Something else that has been harmed by climate change is the coral reef, which has been damaged by warmer waters.
    I hope that our next president will take into account not only how climate change affects humans, but how it affects plants, animals, and ecosystems as well. One way our next president can do that is by encouraging others to help these adapting organisms by protecting both their habitats and the plants and animals themselves and by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Braedon House

    I think climate change is a big issue for our generation with the poles melting and global warming increasing. With known evidence by scientists showing that human activity is raising the temperature of the earth by several degrees a year and that at some point it won’t be reversible, it’s very surprising that some Republicans claim it isn’t happening or are just not going to try to fix it. I believe the Democrats have a better idea of what should happen. Reducing carbon emissions by creating more renewable energy is a great idea and the Democrats plans are more focused on doing this. I think more money should go to research renewable energy and that for us kids, this is the earth we are going to be living on for our entire lives. They may say the economy may suffer but this is the life of the planet and if nothing is done in our lifetime, everybody will suffer a great deal.

  • Carmel

    Abortion is the issue that stands out the most to me as a teenage girl. I will never understand how a single person can believe they have the right to dictate what someone else is or isn’t allowed to do with their bodies. For republicans to be advocates for pro life doesn’t make sense because they don’t have the right to decide what someone can or can’t do.

    Abortion will happen no matter what. Cutting federal funding to places like Planned Parenthood will just make people who want an abortion more likely to go to Tijuana or another place with people willing to perform the procedure illegally. Outlawing abortions in cases of rape for example is causing someone to bring a child into the world who the woman probably cannot afford, one that wasn’t created in the state of love, and one that isn’t wanted. The child will grow up feeling unloved if they find out that they were forced into the world caused from a horrible man.

    • Kurt thialfad

      The federal funding of Planned Parenthood excludes abortion services.

      • Carmel

        Thank you for the clarification, I revised my comment.

  • Curtis L.

    I think that immigration should be much simpler that what it is today. Imagine a world without allowance of immigration especially from our neighboring countries. Some of the greatest minds come from outside countries such as Sergey Brin who was a co-founder of Google. Or Romana Acosta Bañuelos was the 34th treasurer of the United States originally immigrating from Mexico. So I stand on the Democratic side where we should not build a wall against the immigrants, but open up to the immigrants.

    • jurgispilis

      “greatest minds come from outside countries”. Sure, that makes perfect mathematical sense. There are more smart people in a pool of 7 billion, than in a pool of 321 million. However, there are more nasty people in a pool of 7 billion, than in a pool of 321 million.

      The wall that you talk about is mandated by law with the Secure Fence Act of 2006. it is the expressed will of the American people.

  • Kurt thialfad

    We should not be lowering our citizenship standards. We get plenty of applicants, so we can pick and choose. Why mess around with people who are unreliable, irresponsible, and just plain trouble.

  • Melissa Stone

    Frightening episodes of gun violence have been occurring numerously in the nation. Gun control matters because not only could it possibly reduce the amount of deaths this country has suffered from but it can make people feel safer. #MsBOT

  • Liam F

    I think gun control is the most important issue because the only people worried about gun control are irresponsible gun owners. For example, several of my uncles own guns but they aren’t worried about gun control because they are responsible with their firearms. They have all the neccessary paperwork and lock up their guns when they arent using them. If gun control was stricter, the only people that would suffer are people who don;t deserve to have guns in the first place. #Ms.BOT

  • Zach Shubella

    It is true that not allowing people to buy and own guns goes against our liberty (http://bigthink.com/against-the-new-taboo/two-important-arguments-from-both-sides-of-the-gun-debate). However, gun control is a huge problem in the United States. According to http://www.bradycampaign.org/about-gun-violence, 31 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 151 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room. Every day on average, 55 people kill themselves with a firearm, and 46 people are shot or killed in an accident with a gun. Shockingly, this is not a problem in other places. According to the same site, “the U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.” And it’s not that we have problems that they don’t. They have depression, mental illness, stress, and every other problem we have that could cause someone to want to shoot another person. The only difference? Access. We can walk into a store, buy a gun, and walk out without an extensive background check or even a question as to the reason we need the gun. People in other countries like ours can’t, and that’s the difference between 11,315 murders a year and 20.

    • Zacklemore

      • David Musci

        He es crazy, no tiene comida en el perro!!!! Insane in the membrane ese.

        • Sean Parent


  • Sean Parent

    Our national defense is an important part of our day to day life, even if we don’t realize it. With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), our national defense has been a growing problem. With President Obama’s plan of the nuclear deal with Iran and sending as few troops as possible, it makes sense that people oppose the serious issues caused by the conflicts in the Middle East. The republican candidates supporting force to beet ISIS have valid point; the old saying, “Fight fire with fire,” comes true in this intense. With ISIS claiming fault for bombings across the world, it is made clear that they will not go away without force. When comparing Adolf Hitler’s conquest to ISIS’s way of conquest, they have a very large similarity, both won’t go away without force. Without the Allies pushing back the Axis in WWII, Hitler would have continued to have control over much of Europe. If ISIS is not pushed back by armed forces, including more than just the U.S., ISIS will continue to grow and attack the innocent people of the world. Even though 57% of the U.S. polled says no to sending troops there is no other way to get rid of a threatening power than to send troops. http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2015/01/08-american-opinion-poll-isis-syria-telhami

    The research proves that Americans disapprove of the nuclear deal with Iran. The Democrats support the deal, but the republicans are right to disapprove of it and go against it. Making a deal with Iran allows for new threats to arise and the risk of ISIS gaining hold of the information concerning how to make a nuclear bomb. http://www.people-press.org/2015/09/08/support-for-iran-nuclear-agreement-falls/

  • Sean Parent

    Our national defense is an important part of our day to day life, even if we don’t realize it. With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), our national defense has been a growing problem. With President Obama’s plan of the nuclear deal with Iran and sending as few troops as possible, it makes sense that people oppose the serious issues caused by the conflicts in the Middle East. The republican candidates supporting force to beat ISIS have valid point; the old saying, “Fight fire with fire,” comes true in this intense. With ISIS claiming fault for bombings across the world, it is made clear that they will not go away without force. When comparing Adolf Hitler’s conquest to ISIS’s way of conquest, they have a very large similarity, both won’t go away without force. Without the Allies pushing back the Axis in WWII, Hitler would have continued to have control over much of Europe. If ISIS is not pushed back by armed forces, including more than just the U.S., ISIS will continue to grow and attack the innocent people of the world. Even though 57% of the U.S. polled says no to sending troops there is no other way to get rid of a threatening power than to send troops. http://www.brookings.edu/resea

    The research proves that Americans disapprove of the nuclear deal with Iran. The Democrats support the deal, but the republicans are right to disapprove of it and go against it. Making a deal with Iran allows for new threats to arise and the risk of ISIS gaining hold of the information concerning how to make a nuclear bomb. http://www.people-press.org/20

  • David Musci

    I think that one of the most important issues right now is gun control. The ability to purchase a gun with little to no background check is absurd on so many levels. First I find it incredible that you need to have a permit for six months before even testing for a drivers license. Its mid blowing that something so trivial as driving requires more time, effort and legality than purchasing a fire arm. http://smartgunlaws.org/licensing-of-gun-owners-purchasers-policy-summary/. Gun control or the lack of, is the biggest problem that the U.S. has right now. With all of the issues of ISIS and other terrorism groups along with unstable people in society are causing mass amounts of fear and violence.

  • Immigration is a huge issue in our country right now, with the Republican frontrunners advocating mass deportations and not allowing any refugees into our country, despite the fact that we have more than enough resources to provide for and help these people. The frontrunner himself, Trump, has gone so far to say that muslims should not be allowed into this country. Others have suggested that we accept only “Christian Refugees”. These beliefs are entirely un-American and atrocious on a human level. We need to welcome people in, especially those who have nothing, to our country of abundance. Some people claim that this will have negative economic impact, but economies in Europe have only grown since refugees have entered. (http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/future-development/posts/2015/09/16-economic-impact-refugees-cali) Illegal immigration is also an issue, but rather than try to deport everyone or build a wall, we need to make it simpler for people to come here legally. Immigrants are an enormous piece of our work force, and we need to make those that want to come here able to without such huge risks.

    In a country that prides itself on equality and freedom for all, it’s vital that we don’t allow shockingly racist republican values to become those that represent our country.

  • Alex Schilling

    Gun Control is a massively important topic in the United States. Many who own guns believe that it is an incredibly important right and that the 2nd amendment is among the US’s most important policies, while many who don’t own guns would prefer either no guns or a more stringent restriction on the weapons. Personally I believe that the 2nd amendment is important, but at the time that it was written guns were cumbersome and difficult to reload, whereas today weaponry is much more advanced and easy to maintain, reload, and fire. I don’t think guns need to be entirely taken away, it wouldn’t really solve anything as people could still obtain the weaponry through illegal methods, but I do think we need to have stricter controls and safeties for the weapons. Stricter background checks, training, and making weapons more difficult to obtain for the mentally instable and potential terrorists could all be potentially effective methods that could make the rampant violence throughout America a less common issue.

  • noah_judge

    The evidence for climate change and global warming can’t be ignored. Drastic changes to our natural world are apparent in almost every area of the world. NASA has released many articles on the subject matter with detailed statistics and analysis of the amount of Carbon Dioxide in our air, and the overall warming of our Earth. (http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/) Republicans can’t afford to turn a cheek towards this issue. I don’t believe there should be an argument about wether or not we need to improve our air quality and prevent further damage to our natural landscape. I understand that the problem arises about how to deal with it and where we spend our money. Oil and Fossil Fuels make a lot of profit, yet releases dangerous chemicals into the air. Therefore a middle ground needs to be established so countries can maintain their economy without poisoning our lungs and the temperature in the mean time. This article talks about how our dependence on Oil is too great to simply diminish. (http://priceofoil.org/thepriceofoil/global-warming/)
    To start change we need to begin with the simple stuff and hope that over time we are able to develop new sources of energy and profit, and possibly reverse Global Warming.

  • Brandon C

    Gun control is arguably the most toxic and controversial issue of 2015. Since the year began “mass shootings” have occurred statistically more than once a day, every day. We’ve skimmed over the idea of banning “assault” weapons to more stringent background checks, yet so far, very little has been done. However, as the cases of gun violence has risen, the charges general violent crimes has lowered. https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/violent-crime/violent-crime-topic-page/violentcrimemain_final . I am not discounting gun violence, however, there are over 310+ million guns in the US. The government has not the political union (by far) nor the manpower to ever “take away our guns”. Instead I believe we should be trying to restrict the purchase of high-powered ammo which might be a slightly easier fix.

  • Yulisa Fernandez

    Gun control is a huge topic that is talked about in many communities. Many people have a fear of guns and weapons, so the fact of the matter is that this gun control law should have been put into action a long time ago. Some think that the law enforcement takes advantage of their lethal weapons, I feel if this law is passed it will bring peace of mind to many communities. It will take the “power” to take the life of others out of the hands of the people using guns inappropriately (excessively).

  • Marlene Cuatlatl

    The topic that is most important to me is about immigration. Yes there are a lot of immigrants that come to this country but they all come here for a better life. I come from parents who are immigrants and most of my family are immigrants as well. With the whole controversy of Donald Trump saying that he wants to get rid of every immigrant is completely unfair. Every immigrant does something to benefit this country and for people like my parents and everyone else to be living in fear just thinking about getting kicked out of this country is unfair. Everyone should deserve some type of equal rights. #MSBOT

  • Jasmine B

    I agree with the Democrats that there needs to be more reforms on gun control so that we can keep the people safe and we should push for more screenings. But we should also know that guns are not what kill people, it’s the person behind the trigger. #DoNowElection #MsBOT

  • Liam F

    I think gun control is a very important issue right now. With mass shootings on the rise, I think its time to ban assault rifles. They have absolutely no practical purpose for average people and will only continue to cause trouble. I also support a waiting period and more extensive background check before being able to buy guns. I personally think that the people who want to be able to buy guns more easily shouldn’t be able to have them. Responsible gun owners wouldn’t mind having to wait a month or have a background check done. For example, I have family members who own guns, but they support support gun control because it doesn’t affect them as responsible gun owners. #Ms.BOT

  • Samuel Tsogbe

    i don’t think that every individual just completly has a right to own any gun as they choose at most they can have a pistol after a multitudes of test and training and if you have any childrens they they have to be properly trained on how not to try to handle a gun and how to handle themselves

  • Arthur Jackson

    I’ll be honest, I’m pro-choice but honestly I don’t see any reason for this to be a very big issue. While I can understand why both sides feel the way they do I strongly believe that we should leave the choice to the women. Why should we sit here & try to regulate a woman’s body when women aren’t trying to regulate a man’s? It’s not that big of a deal if some people choose to get abortions & some don’t. This whole controversy is just a little bit too extreme in my opinion. #MSBOT

  • shadow

    i don’t think that women should be able to have an abortion no matter what even in the case of death because your ending a life which is wrong and against christian values

  • Madeline

    Immigration is an important issue that should be touched upon because it affects a majority of the population here in the U.S. Although many say that immigrants should be deported, I argue against that because many individuals decided to come to the U.S for a purpose; for a better lifestyle for their themselves, their children, and their family. In my opinion there are certain individuals that should not be forced to leave the country because it is humanly unfair. Certain individuals do not deserve it since they strive everyday to work for a living to get their family a superior lifestyle. Most immigrants that are forced to leave the country have never committed a crime in the country compared to others citizens that are purposely ignored of their unpleasant and sometimes violent actions, so that there can be more focus on all immigrants bad actions. Those citizens are not the ones being forced to leave the country, instead immigrants that who do not deserve it are required to leave. I just find this an unfair issue due to discriminatory reasons.

  • Jamari W.T.

    Gun Control
    The issue with guns is very important and huge. In communities it is easy to get a gun whether its going to a gun store or buying it from someone on the street. This issue goes into shooting, robberies, etc. I’ve been in a situation when someone was getting robbed and the guy had a gun, people in my own community has died from guns. With my experience, I think the difficulty of getting a gun should be raised, because it way to easy to purchase one. I think that the background check idea is a good idea.

  • Afomiya

    I believe that comprehensive gun control as well as effective mental health care reform will satisfy the need for safety in the nation. I think that these new gun control measures should start with background checks that make it completely impossible for those on the FBI’s terror watch list, any former or current mental health victims/patients, and any former criminals to possess a gun. #DoNowElection #MsBOT

  • ronaldc

    A relevant issue in this country, perhaps the most important of all, is immigration. More and more immigrants are coming to this country, and they are bringing nothing good to this country. They are 100% responsible for ALL of the crimes in this country. Dating back from Christopher Columbus, ALL of the people that have died and caused the issues we have were because of immigrants — Eastern Europeans, Asians, East Africans, etc. At this point, we should not even consider welcoming the 10,000 Syrian refugees as they could easily be a terrorist especially after the Paris Attacks. It is important to take extreme precautions when trying to stop the terrorist. #MsBOT #DonowElection

  • M Oliver

    One of the biggest topics of political debate that our country is facing today is abortion rights. On one side of the debate are people who are so-called “pro life.” They believe that life begins at conception, and therefore having an abortion, even in extreme cases is considered murder (https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abortionists-agree-abortion-is-killing). On the other side of this debate are people who either deny that life starts at conception or who believe simply in a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body (http://civilliberty.about.com/od/abortion/f/abortion_murder.htm). This debate has become an extremely popular hot-button topic of late. However, this isn’t a decision that should be up to the government to make.

    Personally, I can see the biological evidence that a human’s existence begins at conception. I believe that abortions are not something to be handled lightly, and should be avoided whenever possible. That being said, it doesn’t matter what my personal beliefs on abortion are, because I am not in a situation where I would be considering having one. It is up to no one but a potential mother to decide if an abortion is what she needs. Although there are other options, like adoption, that could be good for these women to consider, the decision is ultimately theirs and theirs alone. Government has no place telling women what they can and can’t do with something that is living inside of their bodies.

    The decision to have an abortion is not something that anyone takes lightly. These women know what they are doing, and it’s not an easy decision to make. Therefore, while I wouldn’t encourage the option as a first choice, I would never question anyone who decided to choose this option or make them feel guilty, inadequate, wrong, or morally corrupt. That is unacceptable. Government officials who are not now or will not ever be in the position to need an abortion should never be allowed to make that decision for someone else.

    Furthermore, abortion is not something that a majority of pregnant women think about. Abortion is usually a last resort for victims of abuse, pregnant teens, or women who are not in a position financially or emotionally to care for a child. How could the government think it’s alright to force these women to keep their babies if they have no way of providing for them?

    Right-wingers against abortion claim to be “pro-life.” What about the lives of the women in need of abortions? They already have real lives, and often times can’t afford, for more reasons than just money, to have a child. What kind of life will that child, if it’s forced to be born, be born into? Not one that’s setting them up for success or a happy life.

    The bottom line is that whether or not a fetus is alive, it isn’t up to the government whether or not a mother can abort the life of her unborn child. Pro lifers need to think about the quality of life of the women who already exist before they force them to bring another life into the world.

  • Marcellus Von S.

    For me, immigration is one of the issues that the government must focus on. As the civil war in Syria become increasingly more intense, many Syrian citizens were forced to leave their homeland to seek a better life in the other parts of the world. Most of them went here to America, since this is the only country the know where they can settle in, but then recently ISIL militants used this as an opportunity to spread terror throughout the countries who oppose their way of ruling. Example of this was the bombing of Paris, at least 129 people died, and it seems to be that some suspects were Syrians who used a fake Syrian refugee passport. Now here in the United states, Donald Trump of the Republican party is using this issue to win the vote of the American citizens. He said that if he win this upcoming election he will ban all Muslim from entering America and will accept only the Christian, and then he will deport all undocumented immigrant. In my opinion Donald Trump had a point in a way that he just want to protect this country from terrorism, however, this is not the best way to solve this issue, his hatred towards the Muslims is just giving more fuel to the hatred that already exist in the heart of the Americans especially after the 9/11 bombing. Additionally his plans for undocumented immigrants is inhumane, I know that he is really trying to say this to the Mexican citizens who illegally crossed the border between the U.S. and Mexico, but looking back in history most part of U.S. was stolen from the Mexicans after the Mexican-American War. Lastly, according to the source that I’ve read, Donald Trump also state that he will create a border wall between Mexico and the U.S. , but isn’t that like the Berlin wall in Germany, that separate people from their love ones?. I know that this wall is for protection, but most Mexican citizen don’t have the money to apply for immigration. Applying for Immigration cost a lot of money and a very long process unless a person is able to marry an American citizen. #DoNowElection #MsBOT

  • Thanh Nguyen

    The government should be able to put higher restrictions on who can and can’t purchase guns. I feel like there aren’t enough restrictions on gun purchases in the US, unlike in other countries, where gun control laws reduce deaths. Gun control should only be used for hunting if necessary or for self-defense. #MSBOT #DonowElection

    • Randi

      the GOP is getting to much money from the NRA for that to happen, even after the massacre in florida it wont happen we must vote them out of office first

  • Yahya Yusuf

    The most important problem facing not only the US but the whole world is climate change. Because of climate change we are losing species of animals, habitats, and increase in harmful effects such as a longer fire season, an increase in water in the ocean, and droughts. Though we have a large political party that believes that Climate Change is a man made problem and needs to be solved quickly and are trying to create plans to do so. There are still people who don’t believe in it. We have a whole other political party that doesn’t believe in it and stalls any policies that try to help it. We must first try to have an educational incentive that tries to explain how harmful climate change can and will become. We also need to elect better officials. We have a $145 billion dollar tax cut on fossil fuel. We need to dramatically increase taxes on fossil fuels and give a large tax break on energy renewable tech. If we don’t do this soon will not only ruin the earth for us but also for our future generations.

  • Brendan Smith

    The Campaign Issue
    that matters the most to me is criminal justice. The U.S. judicial system seems
    to be a bit too trigger happy when it comes to handing out prison sentences for
    minor crimes. Sending people to prison costs money and a lot of that cash could
    be saved if the punishments for these minor crimes are lessened.

    The U.S. puts more
    of their people in prison than any other country by quite a lot, beating China,
    who is in second place by around one million people (Kukreaga, Criminal
    Justice). One of the biggest reasons for this ridiculous amount of citizens in
    prison is because of lengthy prison sentences on nonviolent drug charges. Also,
    according to a poll conducted in which the question was whether or not the U.S.
    Prison population was too big, too small, or just the right size. A large
    portion, 45% of people answered by saying the prison population in the U.S. is
    too big (Kukrega, Criminal Justice). The next most popular answer was just the
    right size at 28%.

    The people in a
    way have spoken and unfortunately Republicans do not have a major stance on
    this issue. Rand Pqul is the only one to have taken a stance that is related to
    the issue. “Paul is also the only
    Republican candidate in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, citing the
    disproportionate effect the war on drugs has had on low-income and minority
    communities” (Kukrega, Criminal Justice). However, the Democratic candidates
    have all taken a stance on the issue, “Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have
    both formally met with Black Lives Matter leaders and both support reduced
    sentencing for drug offenders. Sanders, however, stands alone in his call for
    fully decriminalizing marijuana.” (Kukrega, Criminal Justice).

    I can vote I truly feel that the voting
    age should be lowered to sixteen. We are missing out on an untapped point of
    view in politics. The opposition seems to think that there would be no voter
    turnout at those ages, and that the young demographic would not take it
    seriously. However, other countries are experimenting with lowering their
    voting age. Scotland is one of these countries. “Eighty per cent of those Scottish
    teens have signed up to vote, boosting
    turnout and causing the Scottish public and politicians alike to warm to the
    idea” (Dougherty 1). This goes to show that young people really do care about
    politics. These votes could be the ones that land a candidate in the White
    House that would reform nonviolent drug punishments and other minor offenses.

    Politicians must be seeing these numbers, as candidates
    seem to have been trying to appeal to the younger demographic. They may have
    also learned from Mitt Romney’s mistakes from last election, “If Mitt
    Romney had just split the youth vote with Obama, he would be president right
    now, according to a Tufts University analysis”
    (Samuelsohn 1). The younger demographic could be the tie
    breaker in our political gridlock that seems to be splitting voters in half in
    terms of which party they vote for. This could be why there is so much
    opposition to lowering the voting age, each side is scared they will lose.

    If younger people are able
    to vote earlier, perhaps change will come in the criminal justice system. Far
    too many Americans could be benefitting society by working, but are instead in
    prison for minor offenses that have very lengthy sentences. Far too much money
    is spent on paying for these people to go through the legal system and to
    support them while in prison with all of their basic needs. Rather than sending
    these people to prison, either lessen the punishment or use the money that
    would have been used to send them to prison on either more important,
    alternative things, or use it on money to send those people to either rehab or
    classes that show the effects drugs have in people’s lives.

  • Alexis Girard

    There’s a lot of arguments arising with the 2016 presidential election coming up, arguments that should interest me knowing that I am going to be able to vote this year. However I don’t even know who’s running for president besides Donald Trump, and I only know this because I see him and all the stupid stuff he says all over my facebook feed and tumblr.

    I would have to disagree with Jeff Coffman and his plan to lower the provinces voting age to 16, not because I don’t know anything about politics but because I know a lot of teens my age don’t know anything about politics or even care about it. (Ilona Dougherty, 2015) Giving a 16 year old keys to a car is completely different than giving them the right to vote. At 16 you’re worried about how many friends you have or how much you weigh, you’re not worrying about the fact that there are 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. (Charu Kukreja, 2016) At 16 you don’t know what’s good for the world, you only know what’s good for yourself. I strongly agree with what Darren Samuelsohn said in his article “Campaigns are eager to find ways to get through to these 16- and 17-year-olds who are still minors and, in most cases, more likely to be concerned with making it to class on time than who should be elected president.” (Darren Samuelsohn, 2015)

    I’m not even positive on what a democratic or republican is, all I know is that there’s two types of people in the political world and those are the two types. I don’t know anything about what a republican believes or what they stand for.

    I’m not worried enough about the world to care about what’s best for the world, I know what’s best for my family and myself. I care only about a few issues and that is abortion and money. I am completely for abortion even being christian I highly believe that everybody should have a choice on whether they want to take a baby into the world or not. Rape is a very huge thing in today’s world and anybody could be raped and get pregnant. Why would anybody want to carry a baby that they didn’t even want, and I don’t believe that giving it up for adoption is a good argument because there are millions of kids in foster care today because there are not enough people who want to take in a kid. Actually there are not enough people that have enough money to take in a kid, including my family. My family wanted to adopt a kid last year and had gone to many things to have the chance to adopt a child, however they don’t get paid enough to take care of a fourth child. It’s not that they don’t get paid enough, it’s that they work 60+ hours and barely have enough money to keep food on our table and that’s because the government believes people can live with only 20,000 a year with no help. Not only do we not have enough for food but some of us don’t even have insurance because the government can’t help us cause we make “too much”.

    With saying all of this I can say that I probably won’t vote this year because I honestly don’t think I know enough about what’s going on in the world and what’s right for the world. This is why I don’t believe 16 or 17 year olds should be able to vote.

  • Alliyah Pontiac

    Abortions is an important topic to talk about during this time period. The question is whether or not it’s good or bad. Some may say it’s a terrible thing, other disagree and say it’s a life choice. The entire state is split into two with this issues. Most republicans are pro-life, while democrats are more of pro-choice. From PewResearch.org, about 55% of people say that abortion should be legal, and 40% say that it should be illegal. Whether you agree with either of theses statements, it is a huge problem. In my opinion, abortion isn’t a choice someone should make. Abortion is inhumane, abortions doesn’t give the baby a chance, and there can be other options.

    Abortions is a terrible thing to do to yourself and the infant that doesn’t have a chance. The act of aborting something so young is a cruel act. From PewResearch.org, about 49% of americans say that abortion is immoral, 15% say that it is moral, and 23% say it’s not amoral issues. I may not be too religious, but this is a major issue to those who are. From dailycaller.com, the article Pataki: ‘I Understand’ Being Baffled By My Abortion Stance, goes in depth about this topic. From a religious point of view, Pataki states “My heart hasn’t changed,” he said. “I’ve always been appalled by abortion. I’m a Catholic. I believe life begins at conception.” Others can agree with this statement. Life begins with conception.

    A heartbeat, a rhythm that sounds so beautiful. It fades into nothing. No soul. No chance. How can something so beautiful be gone so soon? Abortion. Aborting a child doesn’t give the child a chance. From washingtonpost.com, the article Supreme Court won’t revive Arizona law banning most abortions after 20 weeks shows a chance of hope for those children. In the state of Arizona, they have decided to ban abortion if the mother is 22 weeks pregnant. Around this time, it is said that the fetus has reached viability. Viability that a living organism can contain oneself or rest. Most pregnancies last about 40 weeks, this is a major improvement for this country. We are giving a chance to the one’s that have a heart beat. I guess you can say we’re making baby steps.

    From PewResearch.org graph. it shows that over the years, the people have who are for abortions has went down. There is being more of an equilibrium to this topic. The main reason for this is because there are being more and more options. There is a program called Planned Parenthood, who are willing to help. This organization offers a source of hope. This organization doesn’t only provide hope but a good resource for those in need. The organization helps provide birth control so no one will really have to worry about getting pregnant, but here are always risks. Besides this organization, instead of aborting the child, adoption may be another good idea. There are always another way, whether you’re a teen highschool or someone older. I always hear this radio story about this teen dad, but he is proud. He didn’t choose to give up, he went to school, work. and go help from family. It may have been hard for him, but he said it was all worth it.

    Abortion is not a choice that should be given. I believe that it is inhumane, there needs to be a chance for that baby, and that there are other ways. I know it maybe be difficult to raise children. but there are always people who can help. There is always another way, you mustn’t just give up that poor baby. “ I believe life begins at conception” (Pataki) Whether you be religious or not, life should be the only option.

    • Randi

      it should be a personal choice

  • Emily Matz

    Out of all the topics for politics,
    the one that most concerns me is higher education. Having higher education
    would give more people the ability to receive higher paying jobs and if they
    land in debt, this gives them the ability to pay it off. According to KQED.org on the infographics of the 9 topics, Democratic
    Senator and now Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders proposes to make tuition
    free at all publicly-funded colleges. I think this is a wonderful idea.
    Having free education will give more people the opportunity to go back to
    school or to go to college. Having higher education also allows for more
    knowledge on serious issues surrounding the world today and giving younger
    people the chance to understand a little bit more on topics before they head to
    the polls to vote for candidates they believe are supporting the issues they
    care about. Understanding these issues is often talked about in high school
    classes in my area. Classes like Contemporary World History, AP Government in America,
    AP Economics, or Civics and Economics gives students the opportunity to see and
    understand not only how the voting system works, but to talk about the issues
    surrounding us today. Such as education in second world countries, terrorism,
    human trafficking, and foreign trade are topics often discussed.

    A lot
    of people may think that it’s not important to worry about these subjects until
    they know more about the world of politics. According
    to Politico.com, “…teenagers lack the proper context and experience to make
    sense of so many brass-knuckle attack ads on complicated issues ranging from
    the federal deficit to terrorism.” I strongly disagree with this statement.
    While some of the young voters may be ignorant on what happens in the world
    regarding these subjects, not all of us are so ignorant. Schools have classes
    that talk to students about events like these and explain that we learn history
    so events that happen are not repeated. These topics such as terrorism and gun
    control are always appearing on the news and in articles online so that they
    reach everyone. The world all saw the true face of terrorism when the attack on
    Paris happened back in November or going even further back to 9/11 as those
    attacks hit many places in America. It was also displayed on the news about how
    America had to make the decision to take in 65,000 Syrian refugees and what to
    do about all the illegal immigrants that are found dying the desert because
    they want to come to America so badly. Due to the fact that these issues are
    posted everywhere for everyone to see whether it’s on, social media, textbooks,
    the news, magazines, or newspapers, it’s pretty hard to just look over and
    ignore these issues.

    teens of a younger age too vote seems like an excellent idea. Being able to
    vote is something I believe a lot of kids look forward to. This theory of
    younger kids caring about their right to vote was proved when Scotland allowed
    the kids of ages 16-17 to vote when Scotland was voting for its independence. The outcome of younger votes was huge, showing
    how much they really cared and wanted to vote. According to ipolitics.ca, 80 per cent of those Scottish teens have
    signed up to vote boosting turnout and causing the Scottish public and politicians
    alike to warm to the idea. I think that if younger kids here in America
    were given the chance to vote, they would do the same by surprising people by
    how much they really care about having their opinions put out there.

    being able to vote does require having knowledge on the subject. Students in
    schools are encouraged to speak their minds on topics in essays and projects
    they do. So as you continue on to college, the same thing is recommended. In
    class you are expected to participate in class discussion and engage about you
    think about the topic. Voting is exactly like that. With voting, voters speak
    their opinions about which person they want for president who shares their
    views and values. According to
    americanprogress.org, Civic engagement- best exemplified by voting- depends
    upon an engaged and informed citizenry. High schools and colleges could
    help this voting turnout. But unfortunately, according to KQED.org the infographic on the 9 topics, 79% of people
    don’t have access to higher education that needs it. Meaning many people
    aren’t going to care much for voting if they don’t view it as necessary to
    making it through. Especially, minorities who are in massive debt. About 40 million Americans are currently
    paying off student loans, according to KQED.org. These people who are in
    debt aren’t going to care much about going to the polls if they need the money
    more then they need to vote. But for those who do go and vote, they are most
    likely going to choose the candidate who wants to lower student debt, or offer
    more jobs for the ever growing economy so they can make the money to pay off
    their debts.

  • Alex

    In the course of four decades American
    taxpayers have spent one trillion dollars on the drug war. During this period
    the number of prisoners charged with non-violent drug offenses rose from fifty
    thousand to over a half million. Our country incarcerates more of its citizens
    than any other country in the world. Millions of people now have a family
    member behind bars to a nonviolent drug related charge ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-newman/drug-war-consequences_b_2404347.html
    ). With our governments mass effort to create a drug free society you would
    think that drug addiction rates and supply’s would have declined. These numbers
    have done nothing but go up, The amount percentage of drugs and drug addiction
    has increased along with the incarcerations.. This clearly failed drug war
    ravages our minorities as wastes fifty billion dollars a year. Minorities make up 29% of the population yet
    they take up 75% of the prison space. Yet drug use remains even within all
    races in our country. There is no doubt that our minorities are being targeted
    for these offenses. One out of three black males will be charged with incarcerated
    within their lifetime. /1_in_3_black_men_go_to_prison_the_10_most_disturbing_facts_about_racial_inequality_in_the__u.s._criminal_justice_system

    This struggle for a drug free
    country leads to racial injustice, denied access to education and benefits, wasted
    taxpayer dollars, unsafe neighborhoods, shredded constitutional right, Blood
    bath in Latin America, Compromised teenager safety, Lack of correct drug
    treatment and destroyed families ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-newman/drug-war-consequences_b_2404347.html
    ) . Obliviously all of this has not gone unnoticed. Momentum to end the drug
    war has surging in our country for years now. Citizens and political figures have
    all spoke out against this social injustice. A general mistrust for our police
    force has been generated by this backfired plan. More anymore video evidence of
    a police officer smugly pulling a bag of cannabis out of subjects pockets and promptly
    slap charges on them. When an officer
    arrest someone for trying to make life easier with a substance it is hard to perceive
    them as a force of good. Our police force is now distrusted by most of our
    population in almost direct correlation to the drug war. If we took the part of
    their job away where they arrest nonviolent people and instead just
    concentrated on protecting and serving the public, Officers would be regarded
    as heroes and not villains. Members of both political parties now believe
    reform is needed in our criminal justice. http://ww2.kqed.org/lowdown/2015/12/04/the-big-issues-of-the-2016-campaign-and-where-the-candidates-stand/

    It is clear that the collateral damage
    and failed of the effect of the drug war has had an extremely negative impact
    on our society. Public Debate and protest has not gone unanswered though. The
    massive push to end the drug war is just begging to come together. With 23 states legalized marijuana, four of
    those recreationally ( http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html
    ) . For many this is great victory but
    we still have very far to go. Research is just now begging into the
    understanding of psychedelics and how to properly assimilate them into society.
    We may not see these types of changes in our life time but they will happen. If
    there are enough of you taking a stand for what you believe.

  • Taylor west

    are many campaign issues that people debate over, but the one that I view that
    matters most to teens is abortion and Planned Parenthood funding. Abortion has
    always been a controversial issue worldwide, According to Pew Research Poll, “over half the country believes that abortion
    should be legal in all or most cases, while 40 percent think it should be

    I fall
    into that 40 percent category, I believe if someone lies down and makes a baby,
    then they should stand up and raise that baby.
    If someone doesn’t want to keep the baby, then there are other options
    out there, such as adoption. There are many people out there who can’t have
    kids, but would love one. I believe
    abortion is murder. There are ways to prevent pregnancy and places that provide
    those services, such as Planned Parenthood and if you don’t take those precautions
    to prevent that, then why is it okay to take someone’s life away? Only 3 weeks and 1 day after fertilization –
    the heart begins to beat. By 4 weeks, the heart typically beats between 105 and 121
    times per minute. http://www.ehd.org/dev_article_unit4.php
    . Typically you don’t even find out that you conceived until you are at least
    six weeks pregnant, at the earliest four, but by that time the baby already has
    a heartbeat.

    Republicans are trying to get abortion procedures outlawed but they
    don’t believe Planned Parenthood should be funded, while democrats believe
    Planned Parenthood should be funded, but women have the right to their own
    body. http://ww2.kqed.org/lowdown/2015/12/04/the-big-issues-of-the-2016-campaign-and-where-the-candidates-stand/ Planned Parenthood doesn’t just do abortions;
    they also provide contraception and help women who contract an STD, or
    other health problems. Therefore Planned Parenthood should be funded.

    pertain to teens just as much as they do to adults, some think that the voting
    age should be raised because of the lack of judgment but I believe more teens
    should be focusing on the voting to outlaw abortion and fund Planned
    Parenthood. “Some academics argue that
    young people under 18 lack the political knowledge they’d need to participate
    effectively in the electoral process. Some of those same authors suggest that
    giving teenagers the vote may give them a compelling reason to become more
    informed.” (Teens take politics seriously so why can’t they vote? Dougherty) although
    from another article I found information on says different. It turns out that,
    from the age of 15 on, young people are fully capable of adult thinking and
    judgment. Dr. Robert Epstein, the
    former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, says in his book Teen
    2.0: “As we shift our investigation from reasoning to intelligence to memory to
    the gold nugget itself — judgment — we are again surprised: teens appear to be
    as competent as adults.” http://ipolitics.ca/2015/06/05/teens-take-politics-seriously-so-why-cant-they-vote/
    Many teens are fond in Planned parenthood because of the free contraception and all the help, If they take that away, it also taking away
    from those teens who do like the help and the teens that are being safe.

    I take
    more interest in abortion just because being a mother myself I feel every baby
    has the right to their own life, and that shouldn’t be taken away, every baby
    is a blessing, and every baby deserves the chance at life.

  • Randi
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Charu Kukreja

Charu is a writer, designer & urban planner based in Los Angeles, CA

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