Why You Should Pay Attention to the 2016 Presidential Primaries

When you hear the word “politics” or “election,” your immediate reaction might be that you cannot vote in this election, and therefore have no need to pay attention to the lead-up to the primaries. Or maybe you do not have the time to wrap your head around all of the opinions of the twenty-one candidates in both the Republican and Democratic Party primaries.

While the general election on November 8th might feel irrelevant, confusing, or distant, it is critical that we, eligible to vote or not, pay attention to the 2016 presidential election. As part of a ten question survey, Greenwich Academy Upper Schoolers revealed that only 9.47% of the ninety-five polled students are registered to vote in the primaries, with 15.79% registered to vote in the general election.

These numbers are low because very few people in the Upper School are eligible to vote. Therefore, you may wonder why it is worth paying attention to the election. The answer to that question is simple: it is your future. It is important that as the next generation of voters, we know about the ideas of the candidates and parties so that we can make educated decisions that will affect our own futures.

The more GA girls care about the election and the issues at stake, the more likely they are to shape the future,” said Mr. Tom Sullivan, Head of Upper School.

Furthermore, if you cannot vote in the 2016 election, you will be able to vote in four years, when one of the current candidates will run as the incumbent president. Therefore, now is the time to get caught up on our future leader’s policies.

“It is during this debate and primary season that each presidential hopeful can test out their policies and ideas, as well as shift their positions.  Through this process, we can test our own opinions and see where they match up with a field of candidates, one of which will ultimately be president,” said Ms. Rachel Powers, History Department Chair.

So how much do Greenwich Academy students know about the upcoming election? Out of ninety-five students polled, 61% said that they have been keeping up with the lead-up to the primaries in the news. Of those same ninety-five students, 60% have watched at least one of the Republican debates and 56% plan to watch either future Democratic primary debates, Republican debates, or both.

Yet, there might still be some of you who do not know any names beyond Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Here is your cheat sheet of primary candidates from both parties that are polling right behind Clinton (polling at 48.2%) and Trump (polling at 27.2%):

 

Dr. Ben Carson (polling at 21.4%): Republican; retired neurosurgeon, author, and political commentator; main issue: the removal of Obama Care

Marco Rubio (polling at 9.2%): Republican; current United States senator; main issues: social conservatism, interventionist foreign policy.

Bernie Sanders (polling at 25.4%); Democrat; current United States senator; main issues: expand social security, make college tuition free at public institutions

 

This is just a brief look at a few of the candidates. If you do not have time to get to know all of them, take it one day at a time.  A short article can keep you up to date on the positions that matter to you.

Whether there is a position with which you strongly identify, or one you strongly oppose, getting to know these candidates is crucial to knowing the future leader of our nation.
**All national poll numbers are taken from realclearpolitics.com.