By Davon Wanza
There comes a time in every American’s life when he or she is forced to make a choice at 18 years old. That choice seems simple: to vote, or not to vote? Most will initially vote in the primary election for a Democratic or Republican candidate. Logically, this begs the question: “Who should I vote for?”
I have been asking this question for the last 12 months, and with the primaries creeping closer and closer, I am as close to deciding who to vote for as I was when I first considered the dilemma. With this problem on my hands, I took to the internet and tried to find a decent chunk of information on each of the candidates on both parties out of curiosity. I am not someone who has a vast amount of knowledge on politics, so I had to educate myself through various articles and news sources.
My findings were interesting.
On the Republican side of the election, there is a complete circus of candidates. The name that sticks out to me among those candidates is definitely Donald Trump. Whenever I hear his name and the words “Republican presidential candidate” in the same sentence, my brain stops for a moment. This is a businessman whose main focus the last decade or more was making money and telling entrepreneurs, “You’re fired,” during his tenure on NBC’s The Apprentice. How could he possibly be running for president?
It’s a question that I can’t ignore when I consider that the other candidates are:
- Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon,
- Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida (and brother of President George W. Bush),
- Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas,
- Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida,
- Gov. John Kasich of Ohio,
- Carly Fiorina, former HP CEO,
- Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania,
and, the most relevant candidate to anyone living in New Jersey,
- Gov. Chris Christie himself.
That’s a lot of candidates (nine, to be exact, now that Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have ended their campaigns) to try and keep track of, while looking up information and their policies, views on different social issues, and overall what type of person and leader they are.
The Democratic primary vote is more straightforward in terms of numbers. There are three candidates currently in the race:
- Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland (who has currently suspended his campaign after a poor performance in the Iowa caucus),
- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
- and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
What makes voting Democrat difficult is disassociating Clinton from her husband and former president Bill. The best part about such a low number of candidates is the possibility of more engaging and quality debates that can tackle more topics, while giving more information about the candidates to neutral voters.
Come June 7th, New Jersey’s primary election will be upon us. The first primary starts on Tuesday, Feb. 9th in New Hampshire, just eight days after the Monday, Feb. 1 Iowa caucus. Observing the primaries during this six-month span may help out residents of the state and all you lovely first-time voters (including myself) figure out who to vote for.
Then again, you can treat this seriously, or look at this as the country’s biggest popularity contest held every four years. The choice is yours.
Davon Wanza is a sophomore and a contributor to the TCNJ Political Union’s weekly blog.