This year’s presidential race brings to mind Matthew 22:14: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” According to Wikipedia, at the outset, there were twenty republican presidential candidates and fourteen democratic presidential candidates. That’s a total of thirty-four candidates. Add seventeen more, and you’d have fifty-one, a candidate for every state. The number is astounding and unprecedented. At present it’s dwindled down to six republican candidates and two democratic candidates. Many have fallen by the wayside due to a lack of support and or finances. Remaining on the republican side are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ben Carson. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the remaining democrats.
I’m far from being a political junkie, but his year’s race that includes a billionaire business man with a penchant for speaking his mind, a neurosurgeon, another Bush, another Clinton and an unabashed socialist, has gotten my attention. The last time I found myself this engaged was during the 2008 presidential race wherein Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president. The question looms, who will be the next leader of the free world? Will the United States of America have its first woman president? Will we go from a capitalist nation to a socialist one?
On Tuesday, November 8, 268 days from now, the American people will make the call. Who will you vote for? Have you decided? At present I’m undecided. I’m still looking at the candidates and what they say they stand for on the campaign trail, on their websites, on the debate stage and in sound bites. The problem is that history has shown us that what a candidate says they stand for on the campaign trail can be quite different once elected. Like every human being, no candidate is all good nor is any candidate all bad. According to the Washington Examiner, here’s a brief look (alpha order) at where they stand on major policy issues.
Jeb Bush, 63, University of Texas (Latin American Studies), married with three children, born in Midland Texas, lives in Coral Gables, FL:
Has a healthcare plan that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with new health insurance tax credits.
Would combine today’s seven income tax brackets into three, with a top rate of 28 percent, while eliminating several tax credits and deductions.
Ben Carson, 65, Yale University (Psychology), University of Michigan (M.D.), married with three children, born in Detroit, MI, lives in West Friendship, MD.
Wants to ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
Wants to keep the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay Open.
Opposes any federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Ted Cruz, 45, Princeton University (Public Policy), Harvard Law School (J.D.), married with two children, born in Calgary, CA (mother was born in the U.S. , so he is still eligible to run for president), lives in Houston, TX.
Opposes the Export-Import Bank.
Opposes ethanol subsidies through the renewable fuel standard.
Wants states to be able to have their own definitions of marriage.
John Kasich, 64 on election day, Ohio State (Political Science), married with two children, born in McKees Rock, PA, lives in Westerville, Ohio.
Wants to lift the budget sequestration caps on military spending, while cutting waste in Pentagon.
Wants all health insurance regulation to be done by the states.
Supports ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood, but doesn’t want to shut down the government over it.
Marco Rubio, 45 on election day, University of Florida (Political Science), University of Miami School of Law, (J.D.), married with four children, born in Miami, FL, lives in West Miami, FL.
Wants to reform the tax code into two brackets at 15 percent and 35 percent. Would eliminate many tax credits and deductions but create and additional tax credit of $2,500.
Wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with refundable tax credits for purchasing health insurance. Would let insurance be sold across state lines.
Wants to undo the sequestration budget cuts on defense and use funds to “modernize our forces.”
Donald Trump, 70 on election day, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Economics), married with five children, born in New York, lives in New York.
Wants to reform taxes into four brackets at zero, 10, 20, and 25 percent, while phasing out all deductions except for charitable and mortgage interest deductions.
In response to mass gun tragedies, wants to expand treatment programs for people with mental health problems.
Wants to build a wall across the Mexican border, and would increase fees on border crossing cards, temporary visas and entry at border ports to pay for it.
Hillary Clinton, 69 on election day, Wellesley College (Political Science), Yale University Law School (J.D.), married with one child, born in Chicago, IL, lives in Chappaqua, New York, or Washington, D.C.
Opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
Opposes Keystone XL pipeline.
Wants to raise taxes on capital gains held for one to six years.
Bernie Sanders, 73 on election day, University of Chicago (Political Science), married with four children, born in Brooklyn, NY, lives in Burlington, VT.
Wants to enact a single-payer healthcare system through Medicare for all.
Wants to make college free for everyone by taxing financial institutions.
Wants to raise payroll, estate and corporate income taxes.
So there you have it. I’d suggest you visit the websites of the aforementioned candidates to get more detail. That’s what I plan to do. We have a lot to think about in the next 268 days. I plan to think long and hard because the decision we make will affect all of us for years to come!