Looking past the media frenzy for 2016

Illustration by Norine King

Seventeen Republicans. Five Democrats. Two primaries. One president. As media platforms hone in on the 2016 campaign trail, it’s important to remember what counts.

Hiba Ahmad
Contributing columnist

Illustration by Norine King
Illustration by Norine King

The current presidential candidates are being discussed on every news channel, and almost every Twitter or Facebook feed. With an astonishing seventeen candidates and counting for the Republican Party and a mere five candidates for the Democrat Party it would seem that there is a perfect and relatable option for every American citizen out there. However, when I look at the field of candidates I don’t see quality — just quantity.

Some topics that often get the Republican party riled up include abortion, immigration and everything President Barack Obama has said or done in the past seven years of his administration. All of this is fine, but it gets redundant after the first few TV appearances and debates. The person who has gained the most recognition for commenting on these topics is everyone’s favorite billionaire, Donald Trump.

Trump has done a good job of taking the topics Republican candidates have discussed and making them more interesting. How? By being himself. His loud mouth, unprofessional and overall naive comments on immigration — remember Mexico? — women, and the economy, have somehow taken him to the forefront of the Republican Party.

Trump is good at one thing: stating his opinion in the most absurd way on a topic he seems to know nothing about. There is no quality to his comments, just sensationalism. This is great for television and ratings, but horrible for international politics, domestic security or the economy. Once again, he’s far more focused on the quantity, whether it be the billions of dollars he has, or the number of people he has entertained with his antics.

As for the Democrats, there are five unique characters running for the party nomination. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have led the polls with their attempts to appeal to different demographics. Clinton, aiming to become the first female president, actually has a strong chance because of her political background and her appeal to women and everyday middle class citizens. Sanders broke ground by immediately attacking the higher education system in the U.S., winning the hearts of any millennial who has dealt with it or the financial struggles that accompany it.

However, Sanders and Clinton are not the only Democrats running for president, though it may seem like it. Lincoln Chafee is a former Republican senator from Rhode Island who crossed the aisle to the Democratic nomination largely due to his criticism of U.S. military intervention in overseas affairs — he won’t let Clinton get away with her support of the invasion of Iraq. His passion for national security brings a new perspective to the table.

Remembering that quality is more important than quantity — when there are 17 people who are running for the same party and supporting the views of thousands of Americans, things become muddled for voters, especially young ones.

For the last several election cycles, there has been a push to get the younger demographic of American citizens, ages 18-30, to vote in the presidential elections. This year, having 17 candidates for one party and only 5 candidates for the other — who have completely different ideas on how to run a country — will be overwhelming to young voters.

Finding a candidate that is relatable and trustworthy is important for young voters. But a lot of the candidates’ messages get lost in translation when every other headline is highlighting either the abundance of competition or the only loudmouth of the group. Young adults need to look past the number of candidates, whether it’s an abundance or a lack thereof, and tentatively look into the platforms that each of these candidates are running on.

Once the American population starts putting in the effort to look past the blaring headlines and  do some research into what their candidate has to offer to the country then they should decide on who to vote for. Don’t let numbers get in the way of who you mark down on election day.

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