Maryland Primary Approaches – Presidential Candidates and the Issues

Maryland primaries will be held on April 26, 2016, determining Maryland’s presidential choice, party convention delegates, and Congressmen. Early voting runs April 14 to April 21.

Huffington Post’s Pollster reports that Donald Trump (R) is projected to win 44% of the Republican vote, leading Ted Cruz (R), who is projected to win 29%. Hillary Clinton (D) is projected to barely best Bernie Sanders (D) with 48%, compared to Sanders’ 45%, according to Huffington Pollster.

In Maryland, according to the Huffington Pollster, Trump is predicted to win the Republican primary with 41% of the vote, while Clinton is projected to claim the Democratic primary with 60% of the vote.

Trump, Cruz, and John Kasich are the Republican presidential candidates. Clinton and Sanders are the Democratic presidential candidates.

Some key issues in the presidential election are higher education, ISIS, immigration, and gun control.

Donald Trump has not issued a higher education policy platform on his campaign website, although he has vehemently expressed his view that “Common Core is a disaster.”

Trump stated that he would listen to military advice and support a massive swell of ground force in opposition to ISIS. According to CBS, Trump stated that “We have to get rid of it and then we have to come back here and rebuild our country, which is falling apart.” He has been reluctant, however, to reveal the details of his plan to “knock out ISIS,” knowing that ISIS could be listening, but he has intimated that ISIS’ revenue sources would be potential targets.

Trump takes a unique stance on immigration, advocating building a “permanent wall across the southern border” of the United States, which Mexico will pay for, according to his official campaign website. He cites crimes committed by illegal immigrants and stolen jobs as primary reasons for the erection of the border wall.

Trump supports Second Amendment rights. He proposes that the current laws be enforced to help end violent crime, the mental health care system be reformed and made more effective, concealed carry permits be made valid in all 50 states, and military members be allowed to carry their weapons on base and in recruiting centers.

Hillary Clinton’s stance on higher education is three part: “ensure no student has to borrow to pay for tuition, books, or fees to attend a four-year public college in their state; enable Americans with existing student loan debt to refinance at current rates; [and] hold colleges and universities accountable for controlling costs and making tuition affordable.” Community college will be free. Federal and state funding is key to Clinton’s higher education plan.

Clinton vows to defeat ISIS “in a way that builds greater stability across the region, without miring our troops in another misguided ground war,” as stated on her campaign website. She plans to accomplish this by utilizing our allies in the area, including Iraq and Afghanistan. She cites the destruction of terrorist ideologies as part of her plan to defeat ISIS.

Clinton advocates for comprehensive immigration reform. According to her campaign, this includes: “Enact[ing] comprehensive immigration reform to create a pathway to citizenship, keep families together, and enable millions of workers to come out of the shadows; end[ing] family detention and close private immigrant detention centers; [and] defend[ing] President Obama’s executive actions to provide deportation relief for DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful residents, and extend those actions to additional persons with sympathetic cases if Congress refuses to act.”

Clinton believes that gun violence prevention also involves reform. She seeks to increase and strengthen background checks, “hold irresponsible dealers and manufactures accountable,” and prevent “terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill” from obtaining guns, according to her campaign. She also says that she will fix the system, including closing loopholes such as the “Charleston loophole”, which allows a citizen to purchase a gun if the background check fails to be completed in three days. She would make a citizen with a clean background check purchasing  a gun with the intent of giving or selling it to a violent felon a federal crime.

Bernie Sanders says that he will make public colleges’ and universities’ tuition free. He states on his website that “it is insane and counter-productive to the best interests of our country and our future, that hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college.” In addition, Sanders will significantly decrease student loan interest rates and allow students to refinance their student loan interest rates. Debt-free college includes the use of federal aid and work study for low-income students.

Diplomacy is key to Sanders’ plan to defeat ISIS, though his platform focuses on terrorism broadly. He emphasizes the importance of the United States working with an international coalition that is primarily led and composed of Middle Eastern nations. This coalition “is the only way to defeat ISIS and to begin the process of creating the condition for a lasting peace in the region,” Sanders states in his campaign. He argues that the military should only be used against radical terrorists, and that the root causes of radicalism must be addressed.

Sanders markets his immigration policy as “fair and humane” on his webpage. As the son of an immigrant, this topic is sensitive to the candidate. His immigration plan includes the elimination of inhumane deportations and detention centers, developing legislation to help the 11 million undocumented immigrants, securing United States borders, and updating the visa system to help regulate immigrants.

Sanders supports banning automatic weapons from public purchase. As senator, he supported a the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun manufacturers and retailers from lawsuits from gun violence victims – an act opposed by many Democrats. Although contradictory statements have been given recently regarding his current position on the subject, Sanders, according to ABC, said that “there should be increased efforts to keep guns from falling into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.”

Ted Cruz does not detail an education policy on his campaign website.

Cruz explains that his plan to defeat ISIS is to secure the US borders because “border security is national security,” as explained on his website. He states on his website that ISIS must be called “by its name – radical Islamic terrorism.” On the topic of national security, Cruz advocates the build-up of the American military and American troops remaining in the Middle East. He argues that if the military withdraws from the Middle East, terrorists will be more inclined to attack the United States and our regional allies directly.

On his campaign website, Cruz states that “will build a wall that works, triple border security, and put in place the surveillance and biometric tracking to secure the border.” In addition, he will “halt any increase in legal immigration so long as American unemployment remains unacceptably high.”

Although specific policies were not detailed, Cruz’s campaign states that “citizens’ Second Amendment rights make us more safe, secure, and free.”

John Kasich, according to his campaign, advocates for “an improved system to help high schools encourage more students to earn college credit while completing their high school courses is giving students a jump on their college careers and helping reduce college costs for them and their families.”

On his campaign website, Kasich says that in order to defeat ISIS the US must develop “a complex, collaborative strategy involving mutual defense action by NATO—as well as regional allies—in the wake of the attack on France, intensifying international intelligence cooperation, increasing support to the highly-effective Kurdish military, 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”

No apparent immigration plan was found on Kasich’s campaign webpage.

Kasich supports American’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. His campaign webpage states that he wants to remove “burdensome restrictions for law-abiding concealed carry licensees” and that he opposes Obama’s gun control policies.
Maryland’s primary is April 26, 2016.

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