GOP Presidential Race

Republican presidential candidates, from left, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul take the stage during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

If you’ve been even somewhat involved in doing your civil duties as an American citizen, you’ve heard more than a few words about and from the various candidates for the Republican ticket of the presidential race. And by various candidates, I mean many candidates. There are nine “leaders” in the race, but aside from them there are tens more. It seems that becoming a Republican presidential candidate is as much a fad amongst politicians as taking a selfie is amongst teenagers. A few of the leaders are real-estate mogul Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Governor Chris Christie, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and former CEO Carly Fiorina, to name a few. After a morally reasonable beginning of the race to win the republican primary election, the various candidates’ campaigns have resorted to mudslinging against their competitors. To put this into context, here are a few quotes from the candidates:

“Jeb Bush is a low-energy person,” Donald Trump on Bush

“He’s a chaos candidate. And he’d be a chaos president.” Jeb Bush on Trump

“That’s exactly what President Obama has said. I’m amazed to hear that from a Republican presidential candidate.” Carly Fiorina on Trump

“If you are in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.” Rand Paul on Christie

As you can see, the campaigns are turning dirty, and in order to shed some light into the aspirations and pasts of the candidates, here is a bit of information on some of the leaders.

Donald Trump has, predictably, been very fickle with his political affiliations. During his young years until 1987 he was affiliated with the Democrats, but from 1987-1999 he became a Republican. From 1999-2001 he recognized himself as a member the Reform Party, but he then became a democrat again. This was until 2009 when he became affiliated with the Republicans for two years. Then from 2011-2012 he was an independent but switched back to the Republicans in 2012 with whom he has remained involved through the present. Affiliations aside, Trump has made repeated controversial statements regarding illegal immigration, ISIS, the Syrian refuge crisis, and, most notably, Muslim immigration calling for a total ban on Muslims entering the United Sates. Trump’s campaign slogan is that he will “make America great again.”

Ted Cruz is a senator out of Texas who served as policy advisor to George W. Bush during his 2000 presidential campaign after being Texas’s solicitor general. He is considered by many to be an ultraconservative, and thus appeals to many right-winged thinkers as well as many born-again Christians and citizens of the Bible belt. Cruz is pro-life and against same-sex marriage, promotes legal immigration, acknowledges the presence of climate change but questions the science behind its effects, and, on the topic of ISIS, believes something needs to be done and that “political correctness is killing people.”

Marco Rubio, the second child of Cuban immigrants to be running for the presidency, is current Florida senator and former Speaker of the Florida House who has shifted to a more moderate-conservative position on the political spectrum. He garnered much of his support in his early career from the Tea Party and is pro-life, like Ted Cruz, but his transition towards more moderate politics may alienate him from his initial supporters. He believes in immigration reform, that climate change was not caused by man, that the budget should be both more balanced and more focused on defense, and that the president’s power to attack, particularly regarding ISIS, needs to be increased.

Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon known for performing the first successful separation of twins conjoined at the back of the head. He has become respected among the GOP for his Washington Times columns which revealed his mostly-conservative-but-sometimes-moderate political standpoints. He believes climate change is cyclic and an irrelevant issue, that we need more school choices citing higher successes in home schools, private schools or charter schools than in public school, that the Affordable Healthcare Act did help some but had bad effects on health care in general, that the U.S. should establish a flat tax system, and that the U.S. needs to be more aggressive in its attempts to stop ISIS.

Chris Christie is most known for his position as governor of New Jersey, but also was appointed the State Attorney of the same state after George W. Bush was elected president. As governor, Christie garnered support for being more moderate than many of his Tea Party contemporaries and has also gained a reputation for being able to find agreement between both sides of the political spectrum, as during his tenure as governor he worked with democratic legislature in a somewhat liberal state. His time governing New Jersey, however, was tainted by a scandal involving the Port Authority and large traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge, but responsibility for this has fallen on the shoulders of Bridget Anne Kelley, his former deputy chief of staff. Christie disagrees with the Common Core and aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act, believes in slightly stricter gun control, wants to raise the retirement age, and is willing to take military action to fight ISIS.

As a soon-to-be voter in America, I worry about the fate of American politics and the fate of the presidency, but I will be able to do something about it. Many citizens shirk their civil duties and choose not to vote, but I will not be one of those citizens, and I hope you won’t either. I hope this article revealed a bit more about some of the candidates and either changed or assured you of your political opinions. I leave you with a quote from former-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely.”


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