This November, voters will gather at the polls to cast their votes for the would-be next President of the United States. In January, after 8 years in office, President Barack Obama's term will be come to an end, and it's up to us - the American people - to decide who's going to take his place. It's a great responsibility and a privilege, and it's important for all of us to know and understand who the people running for office are, and what they represent.

Time is ticking away, and before you know it, it will be time to vote. With debates and town halls happening every few days, it can be hard to keep up what each candidate is saying, so we're breaking the running points of each of the remaining 7 presidential candidates - both Republican and Democrat - to help you be more informed about your decision.

Okay, let's break it down...

THE DEMOCRATS

The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States, and is also the oldest and largest political party in our nation. According to the The Democratic National Committee website, "Democrats believe that we're greater together than we are on our own—that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules." The site goes on to say, "Democrats are working to make progress on issues like job creation, equal pay, education, health care, and clean energy."

THE CANDIDATES...

HILLARY CLINTON:

WHO SHE IS:

Hilary Clinton is former United States First-Lady as well as as a former New York Senator, and the former Secretary of States. The current Democratic primary front-runner, Clinton has worked as a practicing lawyer, law professor, and activist. Visit HillaryClinton.com, to read her full bio. 

WHERE HILLARY STANDS ON THE ISSUES: 

ABORTION RIGHTS |  Clinton supports a woman's right to choose, and is in support of "legal and safe" abortions.

ECONOMY | Clinton has stated that she will work towards... 1) Increased pay for working families, as well as tax relief to manage rising costs. 2) Creating good-paying jobs, and increasing existing salaries by investment in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research. 3) Closing loopholes on corporate taxes, and raising taxes on the country's "most fortunate."

EDUCATION - K-12 | Clinton plans to... 1) Make high-quality education available to every child in America. 2) Make sure teachers receive necessary training, mentorship, and support needed to succeed in the classroom. 3) Increase resources for students with throughout their school years. 

EDUCATION - COLLEGE | Clinton's education initiative, "The New College Compact," supports the principal that neither cost nor debt be a barrier to education. She aims to... 1) Eliminate the need for loans for tuition, books, or fees when attending a four-year public college. 2) Allow Americans with existing student loan debt to refinance at current rates. 3) Hold colleges and universities accountable making tuition affordable  for the average American.

ENVIRONMENT | Clinton believes that climate change is "an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time." She plans to make America the world’s clean energy superpower, and take bold steps to slash carbon pollution. If elected Clinton plans to... 1) Create well-paying jobs in clean energy. 2) Have 500 million solar panels installed, in order to create renewable energy to power every home in America, and reduce American oil consumption by a third. 3) Bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below their 2005 numbers within the next decade.

GUN CONTROL |  Clinton is a strong supporter of gun regulation, stating that if elected she will... 1) Strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in the current system. 2) Hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable. 3) Keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill.

HEALTHCARE |  Clinton believes that affordable health care is a basic human right. She has stated that if elected she will... 1) Defend the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), and build on it in order to to slow the growth of out-of-pocket costs. 2) Crack down on prescription drug prices, holding drug companies accountable for rising costs. 3) Protect women’s access to reproductive health care, including contraception and safe, legal abortion.

RACIAL EQUALITY |  As President Clinton aims to... 1) Look at prison reform, in order to end the "era" of mass incarceration. 2) Protect immigrants’ rights, by working on reform that will keep families together. 3) Defend every American’s right to vote.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE | After voicing her disapproval during the 2008 election, Clinton now says that she is proud supporter of same-sex marriage and a champion of LGBT rights.

TERRORISM | Right now she does plan to retract on any decisions that have been previously made, but she does not feel that these issues should be ignored. She understands that the issue must be confronted, but in a smart way. She does not agree with putting American troops on the ground right now, she does feel that this is the smart decision.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS | Clinton believes that women’s issues are family issues, economic issues, and crucial to the future competitiveness of the country. If elected she aims to 1) Ensure equal pay for women. 2) Defend women’s health and reproductive rights. 3) Fight for paid family leave and affordable child care.

For more details, visit HillaryClinton.com.

BERNIE SANDERS:

WHO HE IS:

Bernie Sanders is a long-time activist and United States Senator for the state of Vermont. Sanders spent 16 years as Vermont’s sole congressman in the House of Representatives, and is now serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote. Visit BernieSanders.com,  to read his full bio.

WHERE BERNIE STANDS ON THE ISSUES: 

ABORTION RIGHTS | Sanders is an avid supporter of a woman's right to choose, with a 100% lifetime voting record in favor of legalized abortion.

ECONOMY | Sanders believes that income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time. If elected he plans to increase taxes on wealthy corporations, increase the federal minimum wage $15 an hour by 2020, create a jobs program for disadvantaged young Americans, and break-up large financial institutions so they are "no longer too big to fail."

EDUCATION |  As President, Sanders will fight to make tuition free at public colleges and universities, stop federal government profit on student loans, allow Americans to refinance their existing student loans today's lower interest rates, and fund it all by imposing a tax on wall street.

ENVIRONMENT |  Sanders believes in protecting the people above the polluters. He plans to 1) Restructure the country's dependence on fossil fuels, and eliminate connections to the fossil fuel lobby. 2) Invest in clean, sustainable energy. 3) Revolutionize our electric and transportation infrastructure. 4) Lead the international community to solve climate change and prevent international conflict.

GUN CONTROL | Sanders believes in the banning of certain types of semi-automatic weapons, instant background check for gun purchasers, and in closing the loophole that currently exists for purchases made at gun shows.

HEALTHCARE | Sanders believes health care must be recognized as a right, and not a privilege. He believes that every US citizen should have access to health care regardless of their income, and that the only long-term solution to Ais a single-payer national health care program. He voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act, but believes that it did not go far enough, leaving 35 million Americans without health care.

RACIAL EQUALITY |  Sanders believes that the United States must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color. That starts with addressing the five central types of violence waged against black, brown and indigenous Americans: physical, political, legal, economic, and environmental.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE | Sanders is a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, supporting Burlington Vermont's first ever Pride Parade, and later signing a city ordinance banning housing discrimination.  Sanders hailed the landmark Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2015 which struck down DOMA and recognized same-sex marriage is a right in all 50 states, calling the decisions a “victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights.”

TERRORISM | Sanders believes in diplomacy in foreign affairs, but recognizes the dangerous and threats to our society, none more so than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. Sanders is committed to keeping America safe, and pursuing those who would do Americans harm, by working with allies to root out terrorist funding networks, provide logistical support in the region, disrupt online radicalization, provide humanitarian relief, and support and defend religious freedom. He believes boots on the ground to be a last resort.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS | Sanders believes that our country still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality, and will fight to support a woman's control over her own body, push for increased access to vital medical and social services, and fight for equal pay for equal work.

For more details, visit BernieSanders.com.

THE REPUBLICANS

The Republican Party, often referred to as the GOP - or "Grand Old Party," is another of the two major party in the U.S.  The Party, which was established in Jackson, MI in 1854, stands upon a platform that support personal responsibility, free market which means you should be allowed to trade, sell and buy without the government being too involved, low taxes, and a strong national defense. 

THE CANDIDATES...

BEN CARSON:

WHO HE IS: 

Dr. Ben Carson is a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, as well as a writer and author. He has published eight books, including his autobiography, Gifted Hands. In 2004, he was appointed to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics by President George W. Bush, and has spoken twice during the National Prayer Breakfast, in 1997 and again in 2013. Read his full bio at BenCarson.com

WHERE BEN STANDS ON THE ISSUES:

ABORTION RIGHTS | Carson is an avid pro-life supporter, stating his commitment to protecting innocent lives, when they are most vulnerable. Carson does not support legal abortion under any circumstance.

ECONOMY | Carson would like to restore free market policies, create a flat-tax system, and reduce government debt. He believes by doing this we will witness economic growth, which will lead to further job creation.

EDUCATION | Carson supports "school of choice" programs, he believes in rewarding good teachers, and encouraging innovation in schools. He also plans to make the financial aid process easier to understand in order for students and parents to make the best financial decisions. 

ENVIRONMENT | Carson believes the earth and climate are a never-ending cycle of changes, but does not blame global warming. He believes in using our "God-given natural resources" to save the planet.

GUN CONTROL |  When asked about gun-control, Carson has repeatedly stated that he is in support of the 2nd Amendment and American's right to bear arms.

HEALTHCARE | Carson is not in favor of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and has stated his intentions to repeal it. He proposes the idea of making health savings accounts available. 

RACIAL EQUALITY |  Carson believes that the country has allowed itself to become too divided by race.  He believes that we are all Americans, and that skin-color or hair color do not make people who they are, but that the brain is responsible for that. Carson believes, "It is time for our country to move beyond race and to find our strength in our unity as Americans once more".

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE | Carson believes that marriage is a religious act between a man and a women, and does not support the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.  he believes that civil unions provide a viable alternative for same-sex couples, providing rights for hospital visitation and property, without "fundamentally changing the definition of marriage."

TERRORISM | Carson believes that ISIS, and radical Islamic terrorism, are America's biggest threats. He feels that President Obama pulled the troops out of the region prematurely, and has not lived up to his promises. Carson feels that we should use air-strikes as well as boot on the ground tactics in order to defeat ISIS.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS | Carson is in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood, and instead investing in better care for women, as opposed to providing federal funding to a "corrupt organization that has been involved in abhorrent practices."

For more details, visit BenCarson.com.

- AS OF MARCH 2, CARSON HAS DROPPED OUT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE -

TED CRUZ :

WHO HE IS: 

Ted Cruz is a freshman Senator from Texas, dedicated to limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution. Read his full bio at TedCruz.org.

WHERE TED STANDS ON THE ISSUES:

ABORTION RIGHTS | Cruz is a staunch pro-lifer, believing that every unborn child has a right to life. He believes in protecting every human "from the moment of conception until the time of natural death."

ECONOMY | Fixing the economy is Cruz's greatest priority. He wants to restore economic growth, create more jobs, growth, and opportunity. He believes this can happen with tax reform and regulatory reform. 

EDUCATION | Cruz feels that with economic growth students will be able to pay off their loans faster. 

ENVIRONMENT | Cruz believes that the government should look at the scientific data, claiming that there is no recorded data of warming in the last 17 years. He feels that this constant push toward environmental regulations is driving up costs for hard working families. 

GUN CONTROL |  Cruz is not in support of gun-control, saying that he instead fights to defend the 2nd Amendment and The Bill of Rights, which state that Americans have the right to bear arms.

HEALTHCARE | Cruz is an avid critic of the Affordable Care Act, and has said the he would repeal it as his first act as President. Cruz believes that "Obamacare" has been "the biggest job killer in this country." 

RACIAL EQUALITY | Cruz believes that President Obama has increased racial tension in the United Stated, and that ISIS is more important.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE | Cruz believes that marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman, and does not support same-sex marriage.  He believes that the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the United states, violated the constitution, and is best left to a vote amongst individual states.

TERRORISM | Cruz believes this is radical Islamic Terrorism is America's greatest threat, and must be defeated by securing the border.

For more details visit, TedCruz.org.

JOHN KASICH:

WHO HE IS

John Kasich is Governor of Ohio, and the former Chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee. Kasich plans to make balancing the federal budget a top priority and plans to continue his fight for a constitutional amendment that forces Congress to do its job and balance the budget. Read his full bio at JohnKasich.com.

WHERE HE STANDS ON THE ISSUES

ABORTION RIGHTS | Kasich is pro-life advocate who has consistently opposed federal funding of abortion and voted to ban partial-birth abortions. He does believe that considerations should be made for special circumstances including rape, incest, or in instances when the mother's life is in danger.

ECONOMY | Kasich believes that balancing the budget is the most important issue facing the country. Within his first 100 days in office, Kasich plans to send Congress a comprehensive plan that creates the climate for job creation by balancing the budget in eight years, cutting taxes for families and businesses, reining in federal regulations, tearing down barriers to increased energy production, and returning major federal responsibilities back to our states and communities where they can be performed more efficiently and responsively to serve Americans.

EDUCATION | Kasich believes that in order for American students to be prepared for success in an increasingly competitive global economy, they must receive strong education support from parents and educators, including high expectations, and that education is a local responsibility, not one to be micro-managed by federal bureaucrats.

ENVIRONMENT | Kasich believes that low-cost, reliable energy is the backbone of America’s economy. Kasich believes that Americans need energy policies that encourages more energy production from a broad base of sources, and that we need environmental regulations that strike the right balance between needed protection and the need for jobs.

GUN CONTROL | Kasich is a strong supporter of the right to bear arms, and in his 2014 gubernatorial reelection he was endorsed by the National Rifle Association for his support of the Second Amendment as an inviolate part of our Constitution. However, he is passionate about keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill persons.

HEALTHCARE | Kasich believes that affordable healthcare for every citizen is an important priority, but feels that the Affordable Care Act should be repealed and replaced with something that works to improve health care access by holding down costs and help Americans live healthier lives.

RACIAL EQUALITY | Kasich  has spoken out about his efforts to improve police and community relations in America, saying "All lives do matter – black lives matter, especially now, because there's a fear in these communities that justice isn't working for them."

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE | While Kasich is personally opposed to same-sex marriage, he believes that the court has ruled, and it's his duty to follow their ruling.

TERRORISM | Kasich believes that we must reassert our Western values of democracy, human rights, and individual freedom if we hope to secure the long-term stability of America and preserve our way of life. He believes that defeating ISIS requires a complex, collaborative strategy involving mutual defense action by NATO, creating safe havens and no-fly zones, combating human trafficking in refugees, a NATO & regional coalition with ground troops, and more aggressively fighting the war of ideas to discredit ISIS.

For more details, visit JohnKasich.com.

MARCO RUBIO :

WHO HE IS

Marco Rubio is a freshman Senator from Florida who believes in reinstating the value of the American Dream. Rubio has proposed conservative reforms to our nation’s anti-poverty laws, tax code, regulatory policies, higher education system, vital senior safety net programs, and national defense. Read his full bio at, MarcoRubio.com.

WHERE MARCO STANDS ON THE ISSUES

ABORTION RIGHTS | Rubio is pro-life, and believes that that Roe v. Wade was morally wrong, and should be overturned. Rubio believes that "as a nation we must always come down on the side of life."

ECONOMY |  If elected, Rubio will work to reign in what he deems "irresponsible" government spending.  He will work to create a Balanced Budget Amendment and force Washington to live within its means without raising taxes, cut trillions in spending by repealing the Affordable Care Act, reduce the size of the federal workforce in Washington, reform budget rules to provide taxpayers with the true costs of government spending, an reform Medicare and Social Security.

EDUCATION |  Rubio believes in education reform by simplifying existing incentives to help students pursue higher education, simplifying higher education tax incentives, reducing the complexity of the federal financial aid application, establish income-based repayment as the universal repayment method for federal student loans, and promote innovative learning programs.

ENVIRONMENT | Rubio believes that many of the current solutions presented for climate change won't have any actual effect on the problem, but will have deep negative impact on the economy. He doesn't subscribe to the science presented, and will not enforce policies based around it.

GUN CONTROL |  Rubio is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and is not in favor of gun-control. He believes in addressing the root causes of violent actions, specifically mental illness. Rubio believes that in many cases, laws that are being proposed would not have prevented them.

HEALTHCARE |  As president, Rubio would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with what he calls a "21st Century, Market Driven Alternative." Rubio believes in health care reform that will cut back government’s role and harness the forces of competition to keep health care prices low and spur innovation.

RACIAL EQUALITY | Rubio recognizes that there is significant racial tension in the country, and has said that "we have to address it as a society and as a country."

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE |  Rubio is opposed to the Supreme Court Decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all fifty states.  He believe the decision to have been constitutionally, and that marriage has - and should always be - regulated by states.

TERRORISM | Rubio has repeatedly highlighted the threat that ISIS by establishing a coordinated political-military strategy against ISIS in tandem with Sunni Arab and local partners in the region.

For more details, visit MarcoRubio.com.

- AS OF MARCH 16, RUBIO HAS DROPPED OUT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE -

DONALD TRUMP:

WHO HE IS
Donald Trump is an businessman and real-estate mogul from New York. Read his full bio at, DonaldTrump.com.
 
WHERE DONALD STANDS ON THE ISSUES
Trump has changed his opinion on many of the issues listed. This list represents his standing on these issues as of today. We'll do our best to update this article, should things change.

ABORTION RIGHTS | Trump is pro-life, and against abortion in all circumstances.

ECONOMY | Trump plans to lower taxes, and believes the current national debt is very unfair to young people. 

EDUCATION |  Trump believes that education is very important and feels that Americans should not be told on how to educate their children/students.

ENVIRONMENT | Global warming and climate change are not at the top of Trump's priorities. He has stated that [climate] "goes up and it goes down."

GUN CONTROL |  Trump is against gun control. He believes the permit to carry a gun should be valid in all 50 states, and that Americans have the right to protect themselves.

HEALTHCARE |  As President, Trump would repeal Obamacare at the start of his term, believing that the law caused an economic burden on the American people. He plans to reform healthcare by "giving Americans the tools to get the help that they need."

RACIAL EQUALITY | Donald Trump has had a complicated run in terms of race relations from his candidacy announcement where he referred to Mexicans as criminals and rapists, to his wavering on denouncing his KKK supporters. 

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE | Trump does not support same-sex marriage, saying that he is a "traditional guy." He has not committed as to whether or not he would make attempts to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.

TERRORISM | Trump believes that in order to defeat ISIS we must, "bomb the sh*t" out of them, and "take out their families."

See more details at DonaldTrump.com.

The decision to pick a president is a huge responsibility, and information is key. We hope that this breakdown has helped you to learn more about the presidential candidates, and we encourage you to keep doing your research... IT MATTERS. So be informed, and REGISTER TO VOTE. Who you vote for, is your business, but we should all be voting. It's a privilege, and one that we should all take advantage of, because the decisions we make today, will have long-term effects on all of our lives.

 

Stay educated, friends.