Students in my spring course were given the opportunity to complete a candidate statement for extra credit where they were asked to write a 300-500 word statement about which candidate they supported and why. They were required to focus on two to three policy issues on which they agreed with the candidate on.
Out of the students who completed the extra credit, 33% supported John Kasich, 32% supported Bernie Sanders, 15% supported Donald Trump, 12% supported Ted Cruz, and 8% supported Hillary Clinton. Every few days, I will post some of their statements to this website in order to a) highlight their work and b) to provide some context on how today’s college students feel about the 2016 presidential candidates.
Here’s the schedule for the postings (in alphabetical order by candidate):
Today, we will hear from three students who personally support Hillary Clinton.
Response 1, Mark K.*
In the 2016 presidential election I support Hillary Clinton. While I support Secretary Clinton for many reasons, including the intangibles of leadership and temperament, there are a few particular policy issues on which our views are especially aligned.
Clinton has long been a supporter of the LGBT community and their efforts to secure equal rights and respect for their relationships. Although her support in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s often came in the form of advocating for same-sex civil unions (and she stated that marriage was reserved for one man and one woman), by 2013 she had officially announced her support for same-sex marriage. I support Clinton’s stance on this policy issue, as I believe that same-sex relationships should be equal to heterosexual relationships in the eyes of the law, right down to the use of the word “marriage”. I also find no fault in Clinton’s evolution on the matter, as I myself have evolved on the issue.
As far as LGBT policy beyond marriage, I find myself particularly impressed with Clinton’s proposal to have the Department of Defense review and correct the records of men and women forced out of the military with dishonorable discharges simply because of their sexual orientation. I find it appalling that individuals who were willing to sacrifice their lives for our country are being denied the respect they deserve because of outdated policy, and so I strongly support Clinton on this policy point.
I also support Clinton because of her stance on criminal justice. She has called for an end to “the era of mass incarceration” and for reform of mandatory minimum sentences. Specifically, she calls for the mandatory minimum sentence for non-violent drug offenses to be cut in half and for the sentencing disparities for crack and powder cocaine to be eliminated – a change that would apply retroactively. I personally think that reforming mandatory minimums is the most direct and effective way to deal with our modern mass incarceration crisis. On the macro-level the prison industrial complex perpetuates class and racial inequality, and on the micro-level it destroys lives and families. To take the simple step of reforming these mandatory minimums would go a long way towards remedying this situation.
Response 2, Meghan W.*
I support Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election because she supports the equality and marriage of all Americans. Some people are against same sex marriage because of religious reasons; however, this government was not set up for one specific religion. It includes everyone, and Hillary Clinton supports everyone’s beliefs and decisions. Even though gay marriage was effectively legalized this past June, inequality still exists in America. I support Hillary Clinton’s intentions to end conversion therapy, work to pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act, and work to pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act. I support her stance and future goals because I believe in the equality of gay Americans. Starting these initiatives early on for children will lead to a more accepting environment. Children learn most of their morals and values early on in life, so if they are taught to be accepting toward other gay children, perhaps they will grow up and be accepting of those gay adults who choose to get married.
Hillary Clinton also supports a just immigration system. She wants immigration reform that provides a full and equal path to citizenship while treating immigrants with the respect and dignity that every human being and citizen should receive. Specifically, she will continue to support the DREAM Act and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. She will also work to end family detention of immigrants and close down private immigrant detention centers because she believes that these institutions may over-incarcerate immigrants. I support Hillary Clinton’s stand on the issue of immigration because I believe that every human being, not just Americans, has certain rights. America is an immigrant country; without immigrants it would not be the way it is today. Respecting and treating them fairly is the just thing to do, on the grounds that they are humans entering the melting pot of America.
Response 3, Xinyue P.*
Firstly, I support Hillary Clinton because she supports increasing access to higher education. Specifically, she emphasizes that tuition costs should not be a barrier for students to obtain a college degree. She introduced the New College Compact, which would allow the federal government to provide grants to states and cut interests rates for student loans. I support Hilary Clinton’s position on this issue because tuition loans have become a barrier for students who want to pursue a higher degree. Students with tuition loans face much pressure, since they must work hard while they are in school and find a job to pay off their loans after graduation. These issues cause more and more students to choose not to enroll in college. Adjusting student loans will lessen students’ and families’ financial burdens and more and more Americans are able to pursue a higher degree.
Secondly, I support Hillary Clinton, because she supports immigration reform. Specifically, she states that immigration reform is a crucial part of keeping families together and letting millions of workers come out of shadows. Clinton will work to provide comprehensive immigration reform, defend President Obama’s DACA and DAPA actions, expand access to affordable health care to immigration families and promote naturalization. I support Hilary Clinton’s position on this issue because immigration issues are very important for American economic development. Immigrant families have enriched America for many years, yet they live in fear of deportation. Moreover, immigrants face much discrimination. Immigrants receive lower pay and less health and social benefits. These situations force lots of talented immigrant families to leave the country, having a negative impact on American economic growth. Providing comprehensive immigration reform can help solve both economic and family issues in America.
Thirdly, I support Hillary Clinton, because she supports gun control. To be more specific, she has proposed legislation for comprehensive federal background checks for gun users and closing gun sale loopholes. I support Hilary Clinton’s position on this issue because more and more American families suffer from gun violence. If the government wants to improve gun regulations, it would be efficient to start with the sale of guns and instituting background checks before purchase. Through the comprehensive background check, the government can find potential dangerous users and refuse to allow them to purchase guns. If the government were to take strict actions on the sale of guns and fix loopholes, there would be fewer illegal merchandise available for purchase.
What about you? Why (or why not) do you support Hillary Clinton?
*Responses shared with written permission from the authors. Replication in any form, without permission from the author, is prohibited.