In 2008, President Barack Obama rallied the youth and got a whopping 51% of 18-29 year old’s to the polls, a big reason for his eventual success. In 2012 that number fell to 45%. In 2014 – a midterm year generally known for it’s less-than-impressive voter turnout – that statistic plummeted to just 19.9%. These figures, put together by CIRCLE, – a site which looks at voter turnout and civic involvement – highlight a very real problem for college students and their opinions.
For former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it will be all about trying to recapture what President Obama took from her in 2008. In 2007 while campaigning in a similar fashion to how she is now, Clinton carried leads in some states, but eventually lost the primary. This time around the former Senator of New York leads in the polls and is a clear frontrunner as the Democratic nominee. But why?
We’ve compiled the top seven issues that most affect college students and where where the candidates fall. First up, Hillary Clinton.
Tuition Cost & Student Debt
Tuition cost and student debt are two things that have grown completely out of control, and pretty much every college student living in the United States can attest to that fact. Interest rates on student loans are skyrocketing, and evolving needs within the job market have made some degrees useless. Any politician looking to be taken seriously in 2016, especially when it comes to college students, is going to need a rock solid policy on tuition cost and the overwhelming growth of student debt.
In August, Clinton pointed out that, “We need to make a quality education affordable and available to everyone willing to work for it, without saddling them with decades of debt.” Her plan? What she refers to as the New College Compact, a program that makes everything from tuition, to books and fees more affordable for students and their families. As Clinton puts it, the program is made to make education “more realistic” for everyone.
Unemployment rates have approached and surpassed 50% in some urban areas, affecting a large group of minority millennials. For recent grads living in under their parents’ roof thanks to a heaping pile of student debt or the inability to find a legitimate job opportunity, a solid plan for fixing the job market is a top concern.
Clinton points out that she wants to invest in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research to create more jobs. She also supports raising the minimum wage, making starter jobs more appealing than they’ve been in years.
Most college students currently take advantage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, better known to the public as Obamacare, and while the service is a great first step in solving the health care crisis, many candidates believe that it was only a partial step towards solving the problem.
Clinton wants to make health care more affordable for everyone – especially families. Her main goal is to limit out-of-pocket costs for individuals while continuing to uphold the the key principles of Obamacare. She also wants to reduce the cost of prescriptions and plans to accomplish these ideas by rewarding quality, and reforming policies that govern insurance providers, corporations, and drug manufacturers.
Whether we’re talking about reproductive rights, equal pay, or better treatment at work as a whole — Hillary Clinton has been leading the fight on women’s rights. There’s no doubt that this is also one of the most-polarizing issues in the cycle, and for college students, especially as it pertains to advocating against sexual assault, this is an issue that will not tire as time goes on.
Clinton is a long-standing pro-choice candidate and general supporter of women’s rights. She is also in full support of Planned Parenthood and paid maternity leave.
No one wants to live through another tragedy like the one that recently took place in Tennessee, or the horrifying Oregon shooting earlier this year, and gun control has been a particular hotspot among 2016 presidential hopefuls. At this point, Clinton has gotten her point across flawlessly.
She wants more comprehensive background checks for patrons looking to purchase a gun. She has also threatened to close loopholes like the “Gun Show” loophole, which puts the same rules and regulations on sellers at gun shows as well as traditional stores. Needless to say, she’s definitely in favor of stricter gun laws.
While legalizing marijuana is important to some people, it especially hits closer to home for college students. Ironically enough though, legalizing marijuana is something that has remained somewhat polarizing despite the gains that legislation has made throughout the country in making the drug legal.
However, Clinton must have bigger fish to fry, because she’s stayed silent on whether or not she supports the legalization of marijuana. She has also denied ever using the drug.
Just like women’s rights, LGBTQ equality is something that has become increasingly important, particularly within the Democratic Party; Democrats have become the benchmark for fighting for equality within the LGBTQ community.
Clinton said in June that, “we should ban discrimination against LGBT Americans and their families so they can live, learn, marry, and work just like everybody else.” While no one within the Democratic Party will oppose this campaign, it will be a tough issue to force in the general election, as winning over moderate, or left-leaning conservatives is pivotal.