Commentary: Hilldog — Why I’m Voting for Her
November 1, 2016
Until now, many teenagers have felt isolated from their country’s politics. According to the United States Census Bureau, the 2016 presidential election will see a turnout of approximately 50 percent of teen voters in New Mexico. For many of us, including myself, this will be the first time we get to vote. And the first step in voting is understanding what the candidates stand for.
So who are our candidates? Many aren’t too excited about their choices this election, and according to NBC News, approximately six in ten Americans “dislike or even hate” both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
And while understanding both candidates is important for voter decision making, this article will only focus on Secretary Clinton, who has sparked controversy over her long public career as well as elicited excitement over her history-making campaign as the first woman to be the presidential nominee of a major party.
But what does she stand for?
According to Clinton’s website, hillaryclinton.com, her primary concerns in regard to economics are a fair tax system, a stimulated economy, foreign trade reform, and a focus on Social Security.
While Social Security doesn’t have a direct effect on my life yet, the tax system and economic stimulation, which is meant to create future jobs, will.
Diving deeper into tax reforms, Clinton strongly favors a progressive income tax, according to Inside Government, meaning that Clinton believes there should be higher taxes on the wealthy. A Huffington Post study found that there are many loopholes and tax deductions that favor wealthier Americans, such as an average tax cut of $66,384 for “America’s top earners,” as discovered by the National Priorities Project.
As a person growing up in a middle-class family, tax hardships are familiar to me and have become more prevalent with the introduction of job-related taxes and tax usage on facilities such as public schools. What happens to my underfunded public high school is important to me, but the reason it’s underfunded is even more so. Raising taxes would be the most obvious solution to such a problem. But raising taxes on those already paying a majority of them and not “top earners” seems unfair in the elementary sense of the word.
In regard to economic stimulation, Clinton has stated, “In my first 100 days as president, I will work with both parties to pass a comprehensive plan to create the next generation of good jobs. Now the heart of my plan will be the biggest investment in American infrastructure in decades, including establishing an infrastructure bank that will bring private sector dollars off the sidelines and put them to work there.”
Not only does this statement show characteristics of optimism in my mind, but it also shows a dedication to future generations, one of which many of us are a part of!
This process will involve the expansion of roads, bridges, and transportation capacity; lower transportation costs; an expansion of Internet connectivity; investment in technology modernization; and investment in alternative energy, according to Clinton’s website and her comments during presidential debates.
Through this process of creating more jobs as well as an investment of $275 billion in America’s infrastructure, she also has hopes to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and fight for equal pay through the passing of the Paycheck Fairness Act, according to Politifact, a fact-checking project of the “Tampa Bay Times.”
New Mexico, being one of the poorest states, has a large population of workers dependent on minimum-wage jobs. It is often asked how can someone possibly live on such a salary? Well, most can’t. Many turn to welfare instead. But for some reason neither solution is good enough for those who seem to disagree with any policies that benefit lower-income citizens.
On this topic I agree with Secretary Clinton’s decision to raise the minimum wage so that those earning minimum wage are no longer dependent on welfare.
Clinton’s obvious support of the female population, especially in the workforce, is another reason that should and does cause her to have a higher number of female voters. It’s one thing to believe in such rights, but it is another thing entirely to implement them as Clinton is doing through her numerous acts and policies.
When it comes to Social Security, Clinton is primarily on the side of the Obama Administration as well as the Democratic Party in general. Her first priority is getting the idea of privatizing Social Security off the table, though according to On The Issues, which provides non-partisan information on the presidential election, she has considered a payroll cap increase, showing that while she is progressive, she isn’t radical. On the Issues also found that Clinton would similarly dedicate her attention to low-income recipients when it comes to retirement and Social Security benefits, especially when concerning poor, single, and widowed women. This also shows her dedication to making sure those in need of government aid receive it.
As seen in the latest debates, economic issues and policies are incredibly important to both candidates as well as the American public, even to a newly turned 18-year-old like me, but they are not the only factors one should take into account.
If Secretary Clinton raises taxes on the wealthy, where exactly will this money be used? Well, she plans to use increased tax revenue to fund free public education at the college level. This sounds like a dream come true to all students and the parents of students. But some wonder if it’s unrealistic.
Policy analysts such as Barmak Nassirian have found this policy to be expensive as well as difficult to implement due to opposition from Republicans and other lawmakers. In answer to this, Clinton states she will begin by focusing on families that make $125,000 or less annually and on making in-state public tuition more affordable. This strategy to first introduce her higher education policy on local and smaller levels is a wise choice when faced with predicted expenses and such opposition, leaving room for error and the future development of her policy.
On the K-12 level, Clinton plans to “modernize and elevate the profession of teaching,” meaning she will work to pay teachers better as well as prepare and support them more.
As a student, I have a greater appreciation of teachers than those who have long since left school. However, it has always seemed ridiculous that those in charge of raising and educating future generations have some of the lowest paying jobs in the country.
Clinton plans to rebuild schools, especially struggling schools and those in rural communities, rather than build new ones, a policy I wish my state would implement. According to On The Issues, Clinton plans to use a reformed version of Common Core State Standards, promote teaching non-cognitive skills in school, and support arts education. (Anyone who has dealt with Common Core can agree that it is in need of change and also needs to embrace diverse teaching styles.)
Clinton, who firmly believes that a child’s education begins at home, plans to continue promoting early education, student mentoring and tutoring, and parent education and support.
Clinton promotes policies that protect women’s rights. It’s that plain and simple.
For example, she believes that abortion should be an unrestricted right, and she supports Planned Parenthood. “I’ve been proud to stand with Planned Parenthood for a long time, and, as president, I will always have [their] back,” she said. Through her expansion of the Affordable Care Act, she will work to improve women’s healthcare overall.
This policy doesn’t show favoritism of abortions, it shows an understanding that it is a woman’s right to have the option of abortion available and make the decision based on her own beliefs, morals, and needs herself.
Clinton plans to confront the issues of rape and sexual assault, especially on college campuses, through the implementation of survivor support organizations, a better disciplinary and criminal justice system, and increased assault-prevention efforts, according to her issues page. This would help to stop the idea of victim blaming and unfair handling of rape cases, especially those in campus settings.
According to Inside Government, a non-partisan effort to examine and explain how the U.S. government works, Clinton also plans to implement requirements on the hiring of women and minority workers to combat workplace discrimination.
Also according to Inside Government, Clinton supports marriage equality and LGBT rights. Her positions include federal equality for the LGBT community; the abolition of “conversion therapy”; the abolition of adoption discrimination toward LGBT couples; the protection of transgender rights, including the implementation of fair policing and identification markers; and support of AIDS treatment and prevention, according to her public speeches and Atlantic magazine.
It is important that a nation that has finally legalized gay marriage also become progressive enough to extend human rights to the LGBT community, considering they are a large part of the U.S. population and are — and here’s a groundbreaking idea — people too.
Clinton has similar convictions when it comes to racial justice in America. And with all of the racial tensions coming to light, it’s obvious that this issue needs attention.
According to her website, she plans to put an end to racial profiling by reforming law-enforcement and criminal justice laws.
Her support of racial justice will also include immigrants. According to PBS News, Clinton has promised to implement an immigration policy that has a more direct path to citizenship and that secures immigrant rights, as well as a policy to keep immigrant families together. Often the argument against immigrants is their illegal citizenship. One would think the obvious solution would be to make the citizenship process more available and reasonable for said immigrants. Our country was in fact built on immigration.
Overall, these polices echo those of the Obama Administration, such as deporting criminals and limiting access to government assistance and citizenship benefits for immigrants who are not yet citizens.
Her policies also address environmental impacts on minorities. For example, according to the EPA, African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be subjected to air and water pollution above safe limits, a situation known as “energy poverty.”
Clinton also plans to target other discriminatory strongholds, such as those that inhibit voter rights. One such plan is to rebuild the Voting Rights Act and put into place automatic voter registration, according to the Clinton website and the Wall Street Journal.
Clinton also plans to regulate the selling of guns as well as implement gun regulation laws such as background checks to reduce shootings. However, while Clinton does support gun rights and the Second Amendment, her policies show how this support can reach equilibrium with gun control.
Basically, her main focus would be on keeping guns out of the hands of “domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill,” according to the Clinton website.
The fear of shootings that now permeates movie theaters, public events, and schools has reached an all-time high. It’s no longer an issue of the right to own a weapon; it’s an issue of why someone with a criminal or mental health record has access to a military grade weapon. It is not just about rights anymore — it’s about public safety.
When it comes to healthcare, Clinton has shown wide support for the Affordable Care Act, according to Forbes, which also found that Clinton’s healthcare policies primarily target older voters in that they focus on Medicare, the cost of prescription drugs, and employer healthcare. Her policies also include an increase in quality affordable healthcare for rural America and the protection of reproductive health care.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of Secretary Clinton’s plans and policies. And this article focuses on only one candidate. With elections just right around the corner, it is more important than ever for voters to become educated on the issues for both candidates so that they exert their civic duties responsibly to further America as a nation.
After looking over the facts and policies of each candidate of the upcoming election, I know whom I am voting for. Does everyone else?