Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 28)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. There’s Probably Nothing That Will Change Clinton or Trump Supporters’ Minds (FiveThirtyEight)
  2. How Donald Trump Picked His Running Mate (The New York Times Magazine)
  3. The GOP is a Dying Party. That’s Why I’m Running Against Trump. (Politico)
  4. Political Conventions 101: How They Work and Why They’re Important (Parade)
    1. Further Reading: Everything you need to know about how political conventions affect the horse race (The Washington Post)
  5. This week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH
    1. Never Trump Almost Succeeds (The Atlantic)
    2. Blue Feed, Red Feed: Melania Trump (The Wall Street Journal)
    3. Reality TV logic vs. political convention logic (Vox)
    4. ‘I Alone Can Fix It’ (The Atlantic)
  6. What do the polls say?
    1. Confused by Contradictory Polls? Take a Step Back (The New York Times)
    2. Who Will Be President (The New York Times)
  7. Democrats and Republicans are as divided about gender discrimination as they are about everything else (Vox)
  8. Shedding light on the dark web (The Economist)

Like this series? Sign-up here to receive it in your e-mail inbox every Friday (and only on Fridays).

"144070_2_1DA7811" by Disney | ABC Television Group (CC BY-ND 2.0).

“144070_2_1DA7811” by Disney | ABC Television Group (CC BY-ND 2.0).



Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 27)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton: What Bernie Sanders Meant (FiveThirtyEight)
  2. Donald Trump Postpones Naming Running Mate (The New York Times)
  3. Why millennials aren’t going to solve the nation’s massive racial divides (The Washington Post)
  4. How Dallas Built a Model Police Force (BuzzFeedNews)
    1. Further Reading: George W. Bush in Dallas: “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples.” (Vox)
  5. The interesting thing that happens when a Republican marries a Democrat (The Washington Post)
    1. Further Reading: How your political views affect who you think is attractive (The Washington Post)
  6. Why is it so controversial when someone says “All Lives Matter” instead of “Black Lives Matter”?  (Reddit)
  7. How do you know if a poll is any good? The 80-55-40 Rule (The Atlantic)
  8. Ruth Bader Ginsburg Expresses Regret for Criticizing Trump (The New York Times)
  9. We asked 8 political scientists if party platforms matter. Here’s what we learned. (Vox)
  10. President Obama can thank Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for his growing popularity (The Washington Post)
  11. #ObamaJAMA: Obama Just Became the First Sitting President to Publish an Academic Paper (Science.Mic)
  12. Past and future Trumps (The Economist)

Like this series? Sign-up here to receive it in your e-mail inbox every Friday (and only on Fridays)!

"142002_IDA7488" by Disney | ABC Television Group (CC BY-ND 2.0)

“142002_IDA7488” by Disney | ABC Television Group (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 26)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. The “Other Side” is Not Dumb (Medium)
  2. The Raw Videos That Have Sparked Outrage Over Police Treatment of Blacks (The New York Times)
  3. What Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for president, wants to do to America (The Washington Post)
  4. Three Terrible Things the Election is Teaching Your Child (Time)
  5. F.B.I. Director James Comey Recommends No Charges for Hillary Clinton on Email (The New York Times)
    1. Further Reading: Hillary Clinton’s email problems might be even worse than we thought (The Washington Post)
  6. Hillary Clinton plans to fill half of her Cabinet with women. Here’s why that matters. (Vox)
  7. From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer (The Atlantic)
  8. Brexit is about the United States, Donald Trump, and especially fear (Vox)
  9. Bernie Sanders Expected to Endorse Hillary Clinton on Tuesday (NPR)

Like this series? Sign-up here to receive it in your e-mail inbox every Friday (and only on Fridays)!

"Black Lives Matter" by Tony Webster (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Black Lives Matter” by Tony Webster (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Voter Profile: I Voted for Obama. This Year, I’m Voting for Trump.

Recently, I took a rideshare service to the Oakland airport and had a forty-five minute conversation with a Trump supporter named Bob*. While Bob was instructed to avoid discussing politics, religion, and sports to ensure good ratings, I convinced him to trust me – that I only wanted to understand. What follows is my attempt to report on and understand how a habitual Democratic voter comes to the decision to support Donald Trump. I do not necessarily think that his experience is generalizable to other Trump supporters, but perhaps provides some more nuances than traditional survey results provide.

What follows is a paraphrase of our conversation (in italics) with my thoughts (non-italicized) below:

Bob is a white male between 50-65 years old and drives for the ride share company full time. While it’s not ideal that he works for them, the job is carrying him through until he figures out his career path. He made boots for trade shows for twenty years before the economy began to unravel and collapse in 2008. He never really liked that job either, but it paid the bills.  

He’s registered as a No Party Preference (NPP) in California but has voted Democrat almost all his life. Throughout our conversation, however, he never claimed a party label. He voted for Bill Clinton and Barak Obama both times. He likes Obama and thinks people are too hard on him. Bob thinks Obama is smart; he likes that he is protecting this country and that he keeps the peace. Most of all, Bob thinks Obama is inspiring – that he can calmly, yet convincingly make you believe in him. Obama has, in Bob’s words, “put the country on the right track”.

When I asked him about the issues that were important to him, he reported – honestly and without hesitation – that he did not have time to learn about the issues. He says its, “not (his) job to be involved in everything going on in the world. I don’t know political facts – I have to go with my gut.” During our entire conversation, he never mentioned one issue that was or was not important or inspiring to him. He doesn’t think about politics in his spare time.

Bob also doesn’t talk with most of his friends about politics. If he had to guess, he believes that most of his friends would support Hillary Clinton. However, a personal friend who is a citizen of another country supports Donald Trump. He says his friends don’t influence his political beliefs (much to my research agenda’s chagrin). He says the emotion with which his friends discuss politics on Facebook turns him off entirely. If anything, his friends influence him to be silent about his political beliefs; he seems to have some understanding that Trump is not popular among them.

He’s watched every season of Celebrity Apprentice and saw Trump make calculated, difficult and “politically correct” decisions. While he acknowledged that the show was perhaps just a scripted television show, he was still impressed by Trump’s capabilities. He trusts Trump’s ability to make hard decisions. Trump inspires him. Trump would be his first choice over all the other Republican nominees that were in the race. Despite Trump’s avid support for the Second Amendment, he still wants to vote for him even though he has never owned a gun and doesn’t think it should be so easy for others to own them. 

In the past few weeks, however, Bob has seen Trump make a series of very poor decisions and this troubles him – specifically, his response to the Orlando shootings and his criticism of the judge of Mexican heritage. Trump, to Bob, is a good decision-maker – if he continues to make bad decisions, he may not be able to vote for him come November. Bob thinks Trump needs to be more politically correct and start acting presidential now that he’s the Republican nominee.  

Perhaps equally notable as his staunch support for Trump is his persistent dislike of Hillary Clinton. Bob described Hillary as a “boring, angry women”. Her e-mail troubles and the other things that have enveloped her campaign don’t bother him – she’s just not inspiring. In his gut, he doesn’t trust her. In fact, he would support any other candidate (regardless of political party) besides Hillary. He says he probably would have voted for Ted Cruz or John Kasich over Hillary Clinton. Saying this and actually doing this, however, are two separate things. He even admitted that he’d vote for Bernie Sanders over Hillary because he can relate to his “hippie style”. He’d like to see Bill Clinton back in the White House though. If he could be Hillary’s top advisor, then he’d probably support that.

What should we make of all of this? I’m not sure if we should make very much of it at all. Every individual has a unique story – there is no one size that fits all in the political world. Voting remains a very personal and complex decision. However, I walked away from my conversation with Bob with a greater understanding of a few things.

First, this confirms some of political scientists’ and democratic theorists’ deepest fears – voters’ lack of sophistication and knowledge (Converse, 1964; Lupia, 2016). Here we have a habitual Democratic voter with no real understanding of why he’s a Democrat besides his “gut feeling”. I do not mean to imply that all Trump voters or all Democrats aren’t knowledgeable about the issues; however, it does hold true in this and, I believe, other cases as well.

Secondly, there are a lot of individuals who support and plan to vote for Donald Trump. I think the country’s obsession with political correctness, silences a good number of individuals in our political system. Trump, for better or worse, seems to be giving a voice to those individuals who are afraid to speak. We need to be better at trying to understand one another and permit different ways of thinking. If Democrats knew only one thing about Bob – that he supports Trump – they may have labeled him “as the other side”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, however. Bob has supported Democratic candidates all his life.

Third, I do believe there is some sexism at play here and perhaps amongst other voters this election season. It’s unclear if his vote is “for Trump” or for “anyone but Hillary.” Bob’s repeated use of “angry woman”, his hopes that Bill would be Hillary’s top advisor if she is elected, and his “anyone but her” mentality lead me to this (tentative) reflection. Is there something about Hillary Clinton’s gender that prohibits him (and others) from voting for her?

I gave Bob five stars – not because I agree with him, but because I appreciate his willingness to openly share his political beliefs. We all need spaces where we can express our political beliefs without fear of judgment.

In what ways has this election season changed what you know about politics? In what ways are you going to try to understand “the other side” better?

Do you have a voter profile to share? Contact me using the form above!


*Real name changed to ensure privacy


"Donald Trump" by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)


A Quick Break…

I’m taking a break for the next couple of weeks but will be back with regularly scheduled posts on July 1st. I’d love to get your feedback on the purpose, content, and future of the site. Take the short survey here.

Until then, here’s a collection of some recent content:

Again, I’d like to hear what you want to see on this site! Let me know here. For your participation, you can win a $25 Amazon gift-card.

Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 25)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. This handy tool tells you where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on the issues (The Washington Post)
  2. Pay attention to Gary Johnson; He’s Pulling 10% vs. Trump and Clinton (FiveThirtyEight)
  3. What the new inspector general report on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails actually says (Vox)
    1. Further Reading: Hillary Clinton’s e-mail problems just got much worse (The Washington Post)
  4. The Humbling of Paul Ryan (The Atlantic)
  5. Campaign money in 2016 has become meaningless (Vox)
  6. Racial prejudice, not populism or authoritarianism, predicts support for Trump over Clinton (The Washington Post)
  7. What Bernie Sanders gets right when he says the system is rigged against him (Vox)
  8. Opinion: Do Sanders Supporters Favor his Policies? (The New York Times)
  9. Sheryl Sandberg Commencement Speech, UC Berkeley (May 2016)

Like this series? Sign-up here to receive it in your e-mail inbox every Friday (and only on Fridays)!


What the President Can and Cannot Do

When you go to the ballot box to vote for a presidential candidate, it is important to understand what you are electing them to do. Article II of the United States Constitution details presidential eligibility and responsibilities. As with most political power, power is checked by another branch of government. The separation of powers and checks and balances on that power ensures that one branch of government cannot become too powerful. As you will see, most presidential power is checked by another branch of the government – the legislative or judicial branches. However, there are some key areas in which the president possesses more unilateral power.

To be clear before moving on, it is important to acknowledge the distinction between the president (the individual who occupies the presidency) and the presidency (the institution/role governed by rules set forward in Constitution). A president’s strengths, character, and abilities are often instrumental to their success or failure in the presidency.

When you elect a President, what can he/she do?

Before taking office, the President takes the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” (Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution).

When talking about presidential powers, scholars usually distinguish between expressed and implied powers. Expressed powers are the powers explicitly granted to the President in the Constitution. Implied powers are powers not expressly stated in the Constitution, but have been interpreted by presidents as necessary to faithfully execute laws and defend the Constitution. I detail expressed and implied powers below.

Expressed Powers

  • Executive Powers (Article II, Section 2 & 3)
    • Execute laws (via the federal bureaucracy)
    • Appoint officers of the federal government: Most of these appointments require Senate approval.
  • Legislative Powers (Article II, Section 3)
    • Veto legislation passed by Congress: This veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate (Article I, Section 7). Rather than use the veto power, presidents often threaten to use it – to success. For some context:
      • President F. Roosevelt: 635 vetoes, 9 overridden
      • President Reagan: 78 vetoes, 9 overridden
      • President Clinton: 37 vetoes, 2 overridden
      • President Bush: 12 vetoes, 4 overridden
      • President Obama: 12 vetoes, 1 overridden
    • Deliver State of the Union Address: This power serves agenda-setting and persuasive purposes.
    • Make policy recommendations: Of course, these recommendations require cooperation from and approval by Congress.
    • Convene and adjourn Congress: The president may do so only under extreme circumstances – President Lincoln did so after the outbreak of the Civil War; President George W. Bush did so in the aftermath of Katrina.
  • Judicial Powers (Article II, Section 2)
    • Appoint justices to the Supreme Court: A simple majority of Senators must approve the president’s appointments.
      • Here is a great resource on the nomination and appointment process
    • Appoint judges to federal courts: The president’s appointments must be approved in the Senate.
    • Grant pardons and reprieves: This power is limited by prospect of reelection; thus, they largely occur during the President’s last days in office.
  • Diplomatic and Military Powers (Article II, Section 2)
    • Appoint ambassadors: The Senate must approve the president’s appointments.
    • Receive ambassadors and other public ministers (Article II, Section 3): Receiving and appointing ambassadors effectively gives the president power to recognize the legitimacy of other nations. By withdrawing its Cuban ambassador, for example, the United States effectively ended their diplomatic recognition of Cuba.
    • Enter into treaties with other nations: These treaties require ratification by two-thirds of the Senate.
    • Serves as commander in chief: While the president cannot declare war (Congress does that), they can engage troops in military conflict in the interest of protecting and preserving the Constitution. This power has expanded over time, and Congress has attempted to restrain this power. Despite congressional efforts (i.e., the War Powers Resolution of 1973), this power is one of the most historically controversial powers.

Implied Powers

  • Executive Powers
    • Organize federal bureaucracy: The president can establish offices necessary to “faithfully execute the law.” Congress must approve department budgets. If the president creates a new department, Congress must approve its budget.
    • Issue executive orders and exercise executive privilege: These powers are taken both from the President’s Oath (Article II, Section 1), and Article II, Section 3, which states that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
      • Presidents use executive orders in order to meet their obligation to “faithfully execute” the laws of the nation. Executive orders are declarations issued by the President that relate to the organization of the federal bureaucracy, the execution of federal legislation, and the enforcement of federal court decisions. Executive orders do not require Congressional approval but can be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court or repealed by subsequent administrations. For example, President Nixon issued an executive order to create the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and President Eisenhower issued an executive order to enforce court-ordered desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. President Obama’s executive order, which effectively offered temporary amnesty to nearly five million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S., (arguably) stands as the furthest reach of this power historically. It is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court.
      • Executive privilege is the act of withholding information from congressional, judicial, or public scrutiny. President Nixon claimed executive privilege during Watergate, which the Supreme Court subsequently dismissed. However, their ruling did recognize “the valid need for protection of communications between high government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties” (United States v. Nixon).
    • Diplomatic Power
      • Enter into executive agreements: Due to difficulties associated with gathering enough congressional support to ratify treaties, presidents enter into executive agreements with foreign nations. These executive agreements may or may not require congressional approval and may require federal legislation or congressional funding to execute the terms of the agreement.
      • Serves as symbolic head of state in representing the United States throughout the world

Both of the interpretations of expressed and implied presidential powers have grown substantially over time. Once power and responsibility is delegated to the President, it is not easily taken back. The modern presidency is the strongest in United States history.

When considering presidential power, here are a few other things to consider

Other Presidential Powers

  • Executive
    • Recommend department budgets (delegated)
  • Public Opinion
    • Represent the will of the public
    • Shape national agenda
  • Political Party
    • Implement party priorities
    • Shape the agenda of the party
    • Symbolic party head

Who is eligible to become President? (Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution)

  • ‘Natural born citizen’ or citizen of the United States (yes, this includes Ted Cruz)
  • At least 35 years old
  • Resided in the U.S. for at least 14 years
  • President can serve two terms (22nd Amendment)

How is a President removed from office?

  • Impeachment for conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors (Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution)
  • In case of death, resignation, or temporary disability, the vice president becomes president (25th Amendment)

Certainly, the office of the presidency is an influential one, but it is not unlimited – most presidential powers are checked by other branches of government. The President may have the appointment authority, but bitter confirmation battles over Merrick Garland and Loretta Lynch remind us that this authority is not absolute. In my opinion, the areas that present the greatest potential for presidential abuse reside in the executive order, privilege, and agreement powers. With these implied powers, presidents can act unilaterally without (initially) needing congressional approval in broad executive, legislative, and diplomatic capacities. I believe that this is where the character of a presidential candidate enters into the decision calculus.

Before you cast your vote for the next President of the United States, I think it is important to ask:

  • Who is most qualified to execute the constitutional and extra-constitutional roles and responsibilities outlined above according to my worldview?
  • Who will respect the checks and balances on presidential power? Who do I trust to not abuse this power?
Barak Obama by Jose Luis Agapito (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Barak Obama by Jose Luis Agapito (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


*I take responsibility for any and all errors in this post.

Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 24)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. Presidential Election Update
    1. Bernie and Trump win Oregon
    2. Clinton narrowly wins Kentucky
  2. Is your Facebook feed biased?
    1. Video: Could Facebook Rig the 2016 Election? (The Atlantic)
    2. Blue Feed, Red Feed: See Liberal Facebook and Conservative Facebook, Side by Side (The Wall Street Journal)
    3. Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News (Gizmodo)
    4. Inside Facebook’s meeting with conservatives (The Washington Post)
    5. The Most Disturbing Thing About My Meeting with Mark Zuckerberg (Glenn Beck)
  3. Supreme Court punts on latest Obamacare birth control challenge (Vox)
  4. Donald Trump releases list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees (The Washington Post)
    1. Further Reading: Your guide to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist (Vox)
  5. What’s in Donald Trump’s 104-Page Financial Disclosure (The New York Times)
  6. How I Acted Like a Pundit and Screwed Up on Donald Trump (FiveThirtyEight)
  7. Every latest shift in the polls is news. But it shouldn’t be. (The Washington Post)

Like this series? Sign-up here to receive it in your e-mail inbox every Friday (and only on Fridays)!

"Facebook Press Conference" by Robert Scoble (CC BY 2.0)

“Facebook Press Conference” by Robert Scoble (CC BY 2.0)

Why We Support Donald Trump

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 Donald Trump.

Response 1, Casey B.*

Almost every American knows Donald Trump. Some know him for his wealth, some know him based off of politics, and some know him as a despicable human being. Personally, I think Trump is a good candidate to run our country. While what he says can be questionable at times, some of the things he says raises good points, and he has a plan to make America better. Specifically, I agree with his views on abortion and immigration.

Trump is pro-life when it comes to his views on abortion, with the exception of a woman being raped or if the woman’s life is in danger if she were to give birth. I agree with these reasons because if a woman is forced into having sex with another man that she did not want to have sex with, she should have a right to an abortion. Also, if a woman is on the brink of dying due to a childbirth, she should have a right to have an abortion so she can continue her life. Any other reason should not be applicable when seeking an abortion, and Trump supports abortion restrictions in most situations.

I also support Trump on his views on immigration. Besides the obvious and somewhat farfetched idea of building a wall on the U.S. border, Trump has good points in explaining why illegal immigrants should be deported immediately. Trump says he will deport at least 50,000 illegal immigrants if elected because they are selling drugs, raising crime rates, and stealing jobs from American citizens. I agree with Trump on this position. Illegal immigrants should have to earn their citizenship like the rest of American citizens.

Trump can become a great leader of the United States if he is elected president. He will need to watch how he says things during speeches and meetings. If he is able to get help in being professional with the way he speaks, he can be a very good president and leader of our country.

Response 2, Darren E.*

This primary year has been a long and difficult one for Republicans in our quest to find the right candidate to stop Hillary Clinton and re-establish conservative viewpoints to a hurting nation. After studying each candidate, I found that I wanted a change – no more establishment politicians. Doctor Ben Carson drew my support at first, but he withdrew from the race and announced his support for Donald Trump. I support Donald Trump because of his positions on gun control and immigration.

I support Donald Trump because he opposes gun control. Specifically, he wants to uphold the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. I support Donald Trump’s position on this issue because he believes politicians are trying to take away our Second Amendment rights. The right to bear arms protects all of our rights and ensures self-defense not only against others, but also against the government, as set forth by the Founders. As a Columbus police officer for 15 years, I have seen many criminals get a slap on the hand for violent offenses. Strict enforcement of punishment for violent crimes and implementation of common sense programs, like Project Exile, are some of Donald Trump’s proposed ideas. Under Project Exile violent felon’s that used a gun to commit a crime were sent to federal court instead of crowding local courts and given a five year prison term with no parole or early release.

Another reason I support Donald Trump is because of his position on immigration. Specifically, he wants to stop illegal immigration and find better ways to allow legal immigration to continue. I support Donald Trump’s position on this issue because immigration reform needs to put the American worker first and not the wealthy looking for cheaper labor. Mr. Trump’s core principles of real immigration from his website are 1) a nation without borders is not a nation; 2) a nation without laws is not a nation; 3) a nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. As a police officer, I have arrested numerous illegal immigrants who are sent to jail and deported by the ICE. Later, I see them again on the streets of Columbus. When questioned about our borders, they say that our borders are a joke – anyone can cross and get to any U.S. city within days. Putting American workers first and making E-verify mandatory for hiring are solutions to improve America. Securing our borders needs to be a priority to ensure the safety of each American.

I support Donald Trump as my candidate for President of the United States because America needs an outsider that will not be paid by the special interests to make America great again!

Response 3, Loni S.*

The presidential candidate that I support most in the 2016 presidential election is Donald Trump. Although he is very harsh and aggressive, a lot of his values and opinions on certain issues align with mine. One of the opinions Trump is most known for is his views on immigration. Trump opposes immigration and wants to build a wall to eliminate the threat of illegal immigrants coming into the United States. I support Trump’s position on this issue because as I have been studying economics at Ohio State I have seen that if America continues to allow immigrants to enter the country, it will only be harmful to the citizens who already live here. Illegal immigrants often work for less money and take available jobs and leave American citizens unemployed. Although Trump’s way of expressing his beliefs may sound heartless and mean, he truly is only looking out for Americans. Also, his way of separating his emotions from what’s best for the country shows me that he can be a strong leader and truly make decisions fully in favor of his citizens.

Another view that I agree with is Trump’s stance on gun control. He has stated in several interviews and even his kick-off speech for presidential candidate that he fully supports the Second Amendment and wants to protect it. I support his belief because I have been raised in a family of concealed carriers and have always viewed guns as protection rather than evil. Trump drew me even more towards his view in several of his speeches where he mentioned events that could have turned out differently, or how even been prevented, if the victims were carrying weapons as well. Trump’s loyalty to the Constitution makes me view him as a very strong candidate for president because that is what our government was built on from the beginning. Although many citizens might think badly of Trump for his belligerent, ruthless behavior I can see through his loyalty to both American citizens and the Constitution that he is the best candidate to “Make America Great Again”.


What about you? Why (or why not) do you support Donald Trump?

*Responses shared with written permission from the authors. Replication in any form, without permission from the author, is prohibited

"Donald Trump" by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Why We Support Bernie Sanders

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 Bernie Sanders.

Response 1, Flint C.*

The candidate I believe would make the best President and whom I support is Bernie Sanders. I support Sanders because he believes that when it comes to foreign policy, the measure of how great a country is comes from how they can solve problems diplomatically, rather than with force. Sanders believes war should be an absolute last resort; however, he believes it is sometimes necessary when America’s vital interests are at stake. Sanders was one of the few congressmen to vote against the war in Iraq. I support Sanders on foreign policy because I believe that under most circumstances, war is the worst way to solve problems and is only detrimental to the human race. Specifically, the war in Iraq destabilized an entire region and only fueled the fire of anti-western world radical terrorism. When it comes to dealing with radical terrorist attacks that seem to increase in frequency every year, Sanders advocates for addressing the causes of radicalization rather than responding to radical acts with military force. Specifically, Sanders believes that stopping online radicalization and terrorist funding networks is better for the future than just responding solely with force. On this issue of radical terrorism, I believe that broad aggressive forms of foreign policy only serve to radicalize and recruit potential terrorists. The solution I support for radical terrorism involves more calculated and less hawkish responses to attacks, which aligns with Sanders’ position.

On criminal justice, Sanders believes that the war on drugs has failed. He believes that imprisoning non-violent offenders costs taxpayers money, ruins families, and doesn’t solve the underlying problems. Sanders believes drug related imprisonment should be dealt with rehab rather than imprisonment. I support Sanders on this issue because I, and most psychologists, see drug addiction as a mental illness, and it should be treated as such. Nonviolent drug related offenders should be sent to rehab until they can integrate back into society and contribute to society instead of draining resources in an overcrowded prison system. Sanders also believes that the death penalty should be abolished, except in rare circumstances. I support his stance on this because killing someone for killing others is redundant. The death penalty does not work as a deterrent, and very often, it costs taxpayers more than life in prison.

Response 2, Aaron S.*

Historically, I have identified as a Republican; I supported John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. As of late, the Republican Party has lost track of what’s important. The GOP doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge the true issues at hand. This has made it attractive for me to change parties, because of the Democratic Parties’ ability to make necessary changes that are good for Americans. I support Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate for president. He embodies the moral and political views that I look for in a presidential candidate.

Bernie Sanders believes that abortion is women’s choice. He has always been a feminist, and he displays it by fighting for women’s rights, especially equal pay for women. I agree with his views for gender equality. I think we have an ethical obligation to ensure gender equality so that our daughters can have the same opportunities as our sons. Bernie Sanders also supports same-sex marriage. This stance goes along with his stance on women’s rights. He not only believes in gender equality, but he believes in equality for all. This is very important to me because I believe that all are created equal.

When it comes to foreign policy, Bernie Sanders believes in creating a coalition with middle-eastern countries in order to stop the terrorist group ISIS. He believes that working with surrounding countries will not only help the U.S. financially, but it will create better opportunity for peace with the Middle East. I agree that we should have a coalition with Middle Eastern countries in order to help stabilize the area. Tactically, this makes the most sense because diverse pressure will result in better outcomes. For almost my whole life, I have lived in a country that is at war. Because of this, I am cautious when deciding on whether or not to get involved in global issues. We need a President that will fight for gender equality, same-sex marriage, and smart foreign policy. This is why we need to elect Senator Bernie Sanders as our next President.

Response 3, Karlis T.*

I support Bernie Sanders because he supports the Equality Act as well as other measures regarding LGBT equality. Senator Sanders is a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would add new sections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include those with different sexual orientations or gender identities. Not only does he cosponsor this specific act, but he also wants to get rid of legislation that puts other rights in jeopardy. I support Bernie Sanders position on this issue because I believe that even those with different sexual orientations or gender identities than me deserve to have the same rights given to me by this country. Growing up in the 21st century, it has been very clear that the United States of America have become much more progressive. During this time I have accepted that my religious ideals shouldn’t affect others rights.

I also support Bernie Sanders because he supports increasing access to higher education. Senator Sanders has talked about six steps that would make college tuition virtually free, as well as help many to be debt free after going to school. One of the six part plan is to fully pay for college by imposing a tax on an incredibly small percentage on Wall Street speculators. I support Bernie Sanders position on this issue because as an accounting major at Fisher College of Business, I have paid attention to Wall Street and understand how much a small percentage would mean in tax revenues. Seeing how much my parents have paid for my schooling makes me support equal access to higher education. Neither students nor their parents should not go into debt just to send themselves to college.

Finally, I support Bernie Sanders because he supports fair immigration policy. His plan outlines many aspects of our regulation policies as well as the inhumane deportation programs, and his ideas to change them are fair and built around the way our nation is supposed to work. Senator Sanders is the son of an immigrant and argues that our nation is built around immigration. I support Bernie Sanders position on this issue because I believe our country should work in this way with immigrants. As the grandson of immigrants on both sides of my family, I truly think we should be doing this in a much more sensible and fair way.

All in all, I support Senator Bernie Sanders to be the next President of the United States, for many reasons more than the three topics outlined above.


What about you? Why (or why not) did you support Bernie Sanders?

*Responses shared with written permission from the authors. Replication in any form, without permission from the author, is prohibited

"Bernie Sanders 104 03/04/2016" by Todd Church (CC BY 2.0)

“Bernie Sanders 104 03/04/2016” by Todd Church (CC BY 2.0)