We await the age of 18 for many different reasons, but one of the main reasons is that we are finally legal adults and can be freed of our parents. We can buy lottery tickets, get a tattoo, and another thing: it’s our first chance to vote and be a voice in the process of electing the leaders of this country.
For all the 18-year-olds facing their first primaries soon and eventually voting in the general election, we have a heck of a list to choose from. It has been one of the most historical election years ever. There is a 74-year-old self-proclaimed socialist, a reality TV show star and businessman, a former Secretary of State with the chance of becoming the first female president who may also be facing Federal charges for willful negligence in handling classifed documents, and senators and governors alike. With former candidates consisting of a brain surgeon, a businesswoman, and doctors, the road to the White House is quite a unique one.
For us first-time voters, it’s not only important for us to vote, but also educate ourselves on the candidates so we are sure of who we are voting for. Instead of voting solely on a few similar views, it is necessary to learn about the character of a candidate and the plans they have for this country.
Insults have been thrown and the debates have been heated. The race has been messy.
For the Republicans, Donald Trump has been ever so successful in the polls. This anti-establishment candidate seems to get away with everything. He says whatever he wants and yet his support is still strong. This is frustrating for Republicans because much of the party doesn’t even approve of Trump and what he stands for and how he acts.
Following Trump is Ted Cruz. The Republican Senator from Texas has been popular, but will it be enough to win the nomination? Cruz has won in many states but still trails behind Trump. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has had a few successes in the race, but his chances of being the Republican nominee are pretty low. The biggest fear for Rubio and his supporters is that he will lose the support of his home state of Florida. He has demonstrated presidential qualities, but he is up against Trump. John Kasich, the governor from Ohio has also held on to a possibility of becoming the nominee. Kasich has said that if he wins his home state of Ohio on March 15 he will continue the race. If he doesn’t win, he’s ending there. Will that be the case for Rubio as well? Or will he follow through and pursue the vote of every state like he said? There is a lot of drama happening for the Republicans, most of which can be attributed to Trump, and it will be interesting to see how the country reacts to whomever the nominee may be.
There may only be two Democratic candidates, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t tension between them. Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, is well-known by American voters and she has been involved in the government for a very long time. Ever since she was the First Lady in the 90s, Hillary Clinton has been somewhat of a household name. She has been accused of lying and changing her views, but she has also gained many supporters over time. So far, she is ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and it is looks like it is going to stay that way.
The thing is, Bernie Sanders has a large number of young supporters in comparison to Clinton and he is winning states in the polls. His popularity among young voters may come from his proposal for free college education. He calls himself a socialist and he aims to bring change and start a socialist movement, even if he doesn’t win.
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your approach, by the time Montana’s Primary comes along on June 7, each party will have a pretty good idea of who their nominee will be. Montana’s small population doesn’t give us a leg-up in these elections but that doesn’t mean it is useless to vote or we don’t matter. In fact, if the race comes so close between candidates, we might be an important state in the election.
As citizens of this country we have the right and a privilege to vote and it’s necessary we do so. The election isn’t just for the president but we get to participate in choosing leaders at the state and local level. So out of all the things you do when you turn 18, make sure voting is one of them.