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Need for change in presidential candidates

Justin Hannasch, Print Editor-in-Chief

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Infographic by Justin Hannasch

Justin Hannasch
Infographic by Justin Hannasch

Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, Ben Carson and even Kanye West? What does this billionaire, former First Lady, neurosurgeon and rapper have in common? They are all running, or wanting to run for President of the United States. With President Obama’s last term coming to a close, many seniors and some juniors will have a chance to vote for our next president in November of 2016. As of right now, a total of 21 candidates are running for president (not counting the two candidates that dropped out of the race already). One of the candidates that left the presidential race, Republican Scott Walker, was quoted in saying he dropped out of the race because he thought there were too many candidates, and he said he wanted to give citizens a chance to really look at the big candidates. He also urged other candidates who weren’t super competitive in the polls to drop out of the race as well.

Now I think many can agree there are many presidential candidates to choose from, and not just politicians. Businessmen and women, even a neurosurgeon have entered the race. The one thing all of this year’s candidates have in common is wealth. Doing some simple math and adding up the total net worth of the top 19 presidential candidates, it is roughly $4.2 billion, thanks to Trump. That’s an average of roughly $220 million dollars. To be fair, let’s look at the top 18 presidential candidates not including Trump’s large sum. The average sum for each candidate is roughly $10 million dollars each. Now, let’s look at the criteria to be president. According to the United States Government website, candidates only need three things to run for president. First, the candidate has to be at least 35 years of age or older. Second, the candidate has to have been born in the United States. Lastly, the candidate must have lived in the United States for 14 years. These three criteria haven’t changed since George Washington was first sworn into office in 1789. 226 years ago. With all of this wealth and only three criteria we have to look and see is there enough criteria? Or is it only about wealth and popularity? By looking at the evidence, the answer is that we need something to change.

I think there is too much money in politics right now, just with private people being able to control so much. We can’t go saying that they control elections, but they have such a huge influence because there are so many people who vote on by who they see the most. Whichever candidate they see the most in their party is going to get their vote, and that’s not right.”

— Tim Koenning

Let’s look first at what makes people vote for certain candidates. According to Study.com, the three most important factors people look for in a candidate is their background, their presidential party, and the incumbent’s performance. This has not exactly changed since the time that Americans first started voting. What has changed is how the presidential candidates send out their beliefs and ideas. In today’s day and age it is all about technology, specifically social media. Social media and technology rule how Americans think, feel and talk about politics. But when looking deeper into technology and social media, we see that it is quite obvious that money buys votes.

“I think there is too much money in politics right now, just with private people being able to control so much. We can’t go saying that they control elections, but they have such a huge influence because there are so many people who vote on by who they see the most. Whichever candidate they see the most in their party is going to get their vote, and that’s not right,” said senior Tim Koenning.

This does seem like the general trend in today’s society. Americans can see this with Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton for example. People hear their names and see their faces so much, yet majority of people don’t know what foreign policies or health care plan these candidates stand for. So as money seems to be the general trend of getting face time which leads to votes. Let’s go back and think of the three criteria it takes to become president. Are these enough?

Senior Andy Valerius said, “Well I think the age requirement is quite stupid. I don’t know where they pulled the 35 years or older part. If I’m old enough to join to military, why can’t I be president, and what’s holding me back? Like I understand they want someone with experience and knowledge,  I think that’s relative, but the 35 years of age is just a dumb barrier.”

Changing the criteria to more or less, that is the question. On one hand, it could be beneficial to have a salary cap when running for president so it’s not just a money game. Even maybe having more criteria like the candidates need a high school or college education. On the other hand, America is the land of the free and if we make running for president more difficul, are we really a democracy where anyone can run? Overall, when we look at who is running for president there is a need for change in how America’s presidential candidates run. I believe that all of the candidates mean well and want to be president for good reasons, but what about the little guy? Doesn’t he have a say? Or have we become a nation where we say we are a democracy and a representative government, yet money can buy and get you anything and everything? I fear if we don’t change something or take some kind of action, we could be going down a road that is very dark and long.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Need for change in presidential candidates”

  1. Shad Kraftson on November 8th, 2015 2:20 pm

    I agree that something should be done to address this problem. The quotes from Tim and Andy were great and supported that arguments made. The only thing the article lacks is a solution to the problems. It brought in a lot of research to show the system is broken, but offered no way to fix it. It is an interesting topic to think about.

    [Reply]

  2. Alex Schwarz on November 24th, 2015 8:23 pm

    Extremely well written article. Very informative with both primary and secondary sources which help your argument. All in all very good and you got your message out.

    [Reply]

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Need for change in presidential candidates