Disclaimer: This article is focused on the issues of the 2016 presidential election, but it will not be entirely impartial. Bias may apply and The Rock does not endorse the views and opinions of this author.
Oh Presidents Day weekend! Nothing better than primary elections in South Carolina for the Republicans, and Nevada for the Democrats. Since I covered the Democrats last week, I will cover the remaining Republican candidates this week. So many have dropped out and it’s hard to keep track of all of them. Did you know Jim Gilmore was running?
And now, I present to you the candidates on the issues. I have already covered Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, but will comment on them as well as John Kasich in a follow-up article after I cover Rubio, Cruz, and Carson.
He is the youngest Republican in the race, rising in the polls, Hispanic, and a Florida senator. He may have a decent chance in the primaries, but where does he stand on the most important issues?
For starters, according to PBS, he says the federal budget should be balanced within 10 years, calls for spending freezes on most federal categories/programs except for defense spending, which he says should be prioritized. (That view on defense spending is usually a common stance of establishment Republicans.) In addition, he says climate change is real but not caused by man, and also says “America is not a planet”, suggesting the U.S. should not bear full responsibility for climate change. He also has a replacement proposal for Obamacare: new tax credits to allow people to purchase insurance, revising health insurance regulations, and reforming Medicare and Medicaid.
As for social issues, he says abortion should be banned after 20 weeks (a common stance by social conservatives), but strangely, he voted No on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. He also has repeatedly said he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but opposes discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Finally, as for foreign matters and immigration, he has a mix of views. According to the New York Times, he says the U.S. should train fighters from Sunni nations to fight ISIS, and supports the Trans-Pacific partnership, saying the U.S. would miss out on global trade. And as for immigration, his position seems like it sharply changed from when he was part of a Congressional team that tried for a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013. His current stance is that the U.S. should hire 20,000 border agents, complete a 700-mile fence at the border for border security, but support a legal status for undocumented immigrants after the border is secured. Finally, he says he supports the N.S.A.’s data collection program, arguing it is for aiding national security.
Senator Ted Cruz is the son of a Cuban immigrant, born in Canada, and is a Tea Party favorite. The issues he has talked about in his campaign range from balancing the federal budget to fighting ISIS. What does he really say?
In terms of federal spending and domestic programs, he takes some hard-lined stances. According to the sensible program PBS NewsHour, Cruz is in favor of a Constitutional amendment requiring that Congress pass a balanced budget, wants to end federal subsidies for renewable fuels like ethanol, and supports repealing/cutting back on Common Core education standards placed on states. In another interesting stance, he says he is against excessive government spending (a fine thing to be concerned about), but is a bit extreme as he wants to get rid of five government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Education. He also wants to completely get rid of Obamacare, but has not offered a replacement plan, and he supports abolishing the IRS.
Senator Cruz also has some tough stances on foreign policy. For example, he wants to provide weapons for Ukraine against Russia, and calls for arming the Kurds to fight ISIS, with the U.S. providing air support, which includes air strikes. In addition, he says Syrian refugees should be resettled in majority Muslim countries, but Christians “targeted for genocide” should be allowed to enter the U.S. Finally, on an interesting note, he says he is “deeply concerned” about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and plans to vote against it.
And on a few final issues, he seems to take strict stances on some of the more prominent issues effecting the U.S. Such stances include staunch support for the death penalty, strongly defending gun rights, and being against same-sex marriage. However, after last summer’s Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, he says only the states mentioned in the case have to adhere to the ruling: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Finally, on immigration, Cruz does not support efforts that let undocumented immigrants legally remain in the U.S.
Ben Carson is a retired brain surgeon, and the Bush administration granted him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. So what does he think about the issues?
On foreign policy, he was quoted in interviews as saying “I’m in the process of acquiring a lot of information” when asked about foreign policy. Say what? I don’t think you should be running for the presidency, the ability to hold the highest office in the land and exercise the powers of commander-in-chief, if that is your reality on foreign policy. The presidency is not a game where you have time to play catch-up.
In terms of domestic programs, he is pretty blunt on the issues but is at least well-defined as opposed to his knowledge of foreign policy. First, he supports cutting spending of every federal agency by 10% (includes defense spending). In addition, he opposes Common Core, a program supported by Jeb Bush, and supports vouchers for charter schools/non-public schools, claiming that students in private schools and charter schools outperform students from public schools. That’s a bit of a broad-sweeping statement, and is not really the case. In saying something like Obamacare “is the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” he sounds ludicrous, but he proposes the federal government give each citizen a health savings account of $2,000 on an annual basis. According to the New York Times, Carson wants to eliminate the IRS (sorry Accounting majors), and supports a flat tax on all Americans, not to go over 15%.
In closing, there are a variety of recent issues that Carson has commented on. He would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, saying abortion is only OK for saving the life of the mother. On guns, he wants few restrictions on ownership except for the mentally ill and violent criminals. Finally, he says political correctness undermines the Black Lives Matter movement.
And there you have it! The candidates on the issues. Next time, I will write about why a “kind conservative” like John Kasich has stayed in the race and why Jeb Bush, also mild-mannered, has dropped out of the race.