For college students casually paying attention to the presidential election cycle, this summer was all about Donald Trump. Dubbed the “Summer of Trump,” he quickly went from White House outsider, to dominant front-runner. After two debates, and with a third on the way, Donald Trump is still holding a lead, but is definitely less-commanding than he was a month or two ago.
There is a candor about his presidential campaign, though that makes many voters feel comfortable. His prowess comes from years working in the corporate world, and having a significant insight into the function of the business world. His political policies are vague, but the things we’ve learned about him, and candidates like him — such as Ben Carson — is that the disgruntled, ultra-conservative base, which supports these outsiders, are the lifeblood of modern campaigns.
Tuition & Student Debt
For college students there isn’t any issue that’s more important that this one. They graduate from high school, attend a university, and then leave with more than $30,000 in debt, on average. The cost of higher education is a serious conversation piece in this election cycle, and candidates will have to take it very seriously to win the nomination, or general election a year from now.
Donald Trump believes that the Department of Education is too big, too strong, and has too much of an impact on tuition cost and student debt. He’s also not a fan of Common Core. While neither of these things give straightforward answers to his policy stance on tuition cost or student debt, it would appear as though he would be in favor of creating some form of regulatory setup to allow tuition costs and student debt to be reduced. Especially considering the majority of his views were once more towards the liberal side of the spectrum.
For any college student nearing graduation and realizing just how close they are to the proverbial unemployment line called “life,” this election cycle means a lot. While steady improvements have been made to the economy, many still believe that we have a ton of opportunity left on the table from the U.S. losing jobs overseas.
Donald Trump has made job creation one of his primary campaign points. However, he has said some things over the years that shed light on where he might fall as a candidate. He said in 2011 that raising taxes on businesses causes them to move jobs overseas. He also pointed out that the “real” unemployment rate is 20% – not 5.6% – over the summer. At the end of the day, you can say what you want about his business record, but the fact that he has actual experience in the business world does lend itself to a different perspective. He has suggested a complete overhaul of our tax code, which would allow for more business to be done here in the U.S.
The Affordable Care Act is by far the biggest talking point on the Republican side of the table, and rightfully so, as any election cycle is about political competition. That being said, there are also serious cuts being talked about for social security programs that impact health – primarily Medicade and Medicare.
It’s difficult to read precisely where Donald Trump falls in the health care debate. However, he has said this cycle that Obamacare must go. While that probably doesn’t mean dropping insurance coverage for the 16+ million covered by the current service, it will have to mean changing something. That being said, he also believes that Medicade and Medicare should continue and not be stripped to nothing.
The right to choose, to have contraceptives readily available by employer-provided health insurance, and generally speaking – the right to not be trampled on and treated like a second-class citizen – are important matters this election cycle. This is especially the case when the person you’re most-likely to be running against is a woman.
Donald Trump has repeatedly said that, “[he’d] be great for women,” but his very public mishaps with Megyn Kelly and Rosie O’Donnell say otherwise. Until Trump provides some substance on how he’d be great for women – and no, bathing your gorgeous supermodel wife with diamonds and riches is not the answer we’re looking for – the public’s confidence level should be relatively low on this one.
Gun control is important to college students and fair-minded adults alike. It’s easily one of the most-polarizing topics in the U.S., and even globally, as violence with guns ticks upward on a global scale. Now candidates are being pushed to weigh in on gun control, as it has been one of President Obama’s biggest failures to date. His desire to pass comprehensive gun control is a big one.
Donald Trump, like many Republicans, feels as though the problem lies with the government not enforcing laws that are currently on the books. He is considered a protector of the second amendment, and is in favor of overhauling our mental health system, which voters on both sides of the aisle feel is rather important. However, he does not agree with legislation aimed at restricting or limiting gun ownership in any way.
Legalizing marijuana is important because it impacts an issue that doesn’t seem to be as polarizing as it once might have been. Now, we’re closer than ever to being in a space where making it legal across the board — and ending the war on drugs seems attainable.
Donald Trump’s most insightful comment on marijuana legalization, or drugs in general, came in 1990 when he pointed out that we were losing the war on drugs. He went on to point out that taking away profits by making drugs legal, would be the only surefire way to end the illegal sale of drugs. He believed that by doing so, it would effectively put illegal drug businesses out of business. Spoken like a true businessman. But recently Trump passed on actually taking a firm stance on marijuana legalization at the federal level. At the state level, it seems as though a President Trump wouldn’t interfere with any state that chose to legalize marijuana.
This is probably the biggest traditional social issue out there this cycle. While some candidates, especially on the GOP side, have decided to take vocal, and often religiously seeded stances on this type of equality, others have remained silent.
Some have insinuated that Donald Trump might be the most-friendly GOP candidate to the LGBTQ community. That could be the case, but at the end of the day, he has remained largely silent on the issue this cycle.