Making Sense of the 2016 Election in 2015: Spring Break Edition

Spring Break is finally here for Ohio State students! Some of you may be preparing to head to the beach, to go home, or to generally revel in the fact that you do not have any readings, quizzes, or exams for the entire week! Whatever you are doing, I want to encourage you to start thinking about the 2016 elections. Yes, Election Day is a year and half away (November 8th, 2016), but party primaries begin as early as January 2016. It is never too early to discover the issues, parties, and candidates!

Here are a few things to start considering for yourself: 

  1. Which political issues are most important to you and where do you side on them? It is crucial that you know about political issues and where you stand on them. Your opinions on the issues should guide your selection of which political party to vote for. Here is a list of some of the broader social, political, and economic issues of today.
  2. Which political party do you identify with? Once you know where you stand on the issues, you can begin to determine which political party best represents your views on them. Today, political parties have fairly clear stances on the most popular issues though the parties’ stance can be hard to determine on others. Party platforms are a rich source of information on this topic. Here are the Democrat’s and the Republican’s national party platforms. Additionally, there are quizzes available to help you figure out which party best represents your opinions (herehere, and here).
  3. Who are the candidates? Hilary Clinton is the rumored Democratic front-runner though there are a few other wannabe contenders. Republican candidates are the big question mark. There are a lot of names in the running (Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, etc.), but a front-runner will not emerge till the primary season. Until then, expect a lot of news about Republican candidates. Read more here and here. Third-party candidates can thwart the efforts of the two party candidates (Perot in 1992), but have yet to claim the presidential office.
  4. Which candidate best represents my views? Now that you know where you stand on the issues, which political party best represents those views, and about the candidates, you can begin to decide which candidate you will vote for. Of course, this could change as candidates drop out of the running or change their stance on the issues. It could also differ if your issue opinions change as a result of new information.
  5. Am I registered to vote in my state? Before you can vote for that candidate, you must be registered to vote in your state. Registration often occurs before Election Day and can take several weeks to complete. Why not register to vote now? You can do so here.

What are you doing for Spring Break? Are you looking forward to the 2016 presidential election? Why or why not?

"Beach Ball Revisited" by Frank Alcazar (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“Beach Ball Revisited” by Frank Alcazar (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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