It seems that the 2016 presidential race has brought out the worst in our country. Undeniably divisive and unprecedentedly vicious, this election has left many angry, unsatisfied and disappointed in our electoral system.
For many, both Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton represent the failure of our two-party system to provide Americans with the best possible option to lead our country.
And with third-party candidates providing no electable nor reasonable alternative, the American people are left to decide between a scandal-riddled politician and a childish, impulsive megalomaniac.
To the ISD Editorial Board, that choice is obvious, which is why we have chosen to endorse Hillary Clinton for president of the United States.
When Americans cast their ballots on Nov. 8, we are not only voting to decide who our next leader will be, but also what direction our country will take. In a sense, the presidential election decides who we are as a nation.
The next president will not only be the chief diplomat of our nation, a position that makes them the face our country, but he or she also will represent the type of person who we believe to be the ideal citizens.
Does the ideal American brag about sexual assault? Do they accuse Hispanics of being rapists and murderers? Does our perfect citizen mock disabled journalists and insult Gold Star families because of their religion?
Throughout his unusual and divisive campaign, Trump has managed to insult nearly every demographic.
From war heroes to people of faith, Trump has founded his short political career on ostracizing minorities, lying about his opponents and engaging in juvenile, often vulgar rhetoric.
Not only does he lack the temperament to be president, but his failed meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as well as his ridiculous outlook on foreign policy put our country at a diplomatic disadvantage.
For a candidate who has built the positive aspects of his campaign around his knowledge of business and plan to strengthen the U.S economy, it is horrifying that he refuses to respond when his vague economic plan is torn to pieces by even the most conservative of economists.
Furthermore, his refusal to accept the outcome of the election if it doesn’t turn out in his favor is the pinnacle of his anti-American, anti-democratic joke of a campaign.
Clinton, on the other hand, has a résumé that speaks for itself. One of the most experienced individuals in politics, Clinton has proven, at least nominally, her foreign policy experience and her ability to work beyond party lines.
Instead of focusing on what separates us, Clinton’s campaign has focused on building upon the diversity that makes the United States what it's meant to be and creating a middle class that can provide a backbone for the U.S. economy.
And while Trump has made it a habit to belittle women, minorities and anyone else who disagrees with him, Clinton has made it her life’s work to create an inclusive and fair America.
Clinton, however, is not an unmarred candidate. With various scandals plaguing her political career, Clinton has become the poster child for the untrustworthy, corrupt politician to many Americans. It is for that reason that the American people must hold Clinton accountable, more so than any other president.
In spite of this, Clinton is far and away the best choice. She represents an America that provides for its citizens, one that accepts others for their differences and embraces cultural and religious diversity.
She is respected and admired by our allies and has consistently fought for the rights of women and minorities throughout the world. And when it comes to a contest between experience and rhetoric, experience should always win.
So while Clinton may not be the perfect choice for president, she is the only option if we want an America with effective foreign policy, inclusive social programs, a strengthened economy and an atmosphere of equality for all citizens.
It’s time to elect Kim Weaver to the U.S. House of Representatives and leave behind our national embarrassment, Rep. Steve King.
Weaver, an Iowa State alumna, acknowledges that student loan debt could very well be the next national financial crisis — a real concern for Iowa college students who experience among the highest debt in the country.
She has several plans to reduce or eliminate student loan debt, including implementing a national volunteer program where graduates could volunteer in exchange for debt relief.
Beyond that, she recognizes the role immigrants play in vitalizing Iowa’s economy, especially when it comes to the costs of farm labor. She supports a clear, common-sense path to citizenship for those already working in the country that would have them begin paying taxes if they don’t already.
Finally, Weaver simply cares about people. She is pro-choice, anti-death penalty, opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, supports gun control and same-sex marriage and believes climate change is a real and present threat.
King said supporting Donald Trump “is not a hard decision” even after the “Access Hollywood” tape revealed Trump describing sexually assaulting women, cited Bush v. Gore as an example of the effects of voter fraud, does not believe in climate change because he sees it as “more of a religion than a science,” introduced a bill that would have blocked Harriet Tubman from gracing the $20 bill because “she didn’t change the course of history,” doubled down on this by saying it would be “racist” and “sexist” add her to currency and called Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest “sympathetic to ISIS.”
King said the Supreme Court decision granting same-sex marriage rights meant people could marry their lawnmowers, claimed racial profiling is not an issue in Ferguson, Missouri, because protesters “appear to be of a single...continental origin,” asserted that white people have undoubtedly contributed more than “any other subgroup of people” in history and worried that there’s no legal way to stop male “pranksters” from entering the girls’ restroom thanks to laws that allow transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender.
He said some immigrant children have “calves the size of cantaloupes” from hauling drugs into the country, accused President Barack Obama of “shredding” the Constitution for supporting the name change of North America’s tallest mountain to Denali, believes in a “natural family” that consists of a man and a woman because he claims “the evidence is very heavy” that this is the “best way” for a child to be raised, has a Confederate flag on his desk and defended it by claiming only a “small part of [the Civil War] was about slavery” and also said there’s “nothing for [the U.S.] to apologize for” when it comes to slavery.
In fewer words, the choice is clear. The ISD Editorial Board endorses Kim Weaver to represent Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The U.S. Congress needs fresh faces — people who are willing to get things done, move forward and work to create public policy. As a former Iowa secretary of agriculture and lieutenant governor, Patty Judge is much more poised to do that than a six-term Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Judge has faced obstacles during each step of her political career. She worked hard as secretary of agriculture as the first woman to fill the role in a male-dominated industry. In 2008, Judge dealt with the worst economic struggles the county had seen since the Great Depression as lieutenant governor. Her ability to overcome obstacles and continue to be successful are essential to her role as a U.S. senator.
Grassley, who has in many ways done well in supporting Iowans, hasn’t fulfilled his public duty in the past few months. His resistance to act on the Senate’s calling to hold a hearing for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is a perfect example of that. In order for the Supreme Court to do its job, it needs a ninth member. Grassley’s resistance is especially outrageous considering that the hearing would allow the Senate to disapprove the nominee if it chose to do so.
Furthermore, like Trump, Grassley has asked that Obama use the term radical Islam because not doing so “can allow the radicals to hide behind the good name of Islam.”
What Grassley fails to see is that doing so is not allowing radicals to hide behind Islam, but allowing others to attribute all Muslims to terrorism. Grassley hasn’t asked that Christians who commit terrorist attacks be called radical Christians, so it would appear his requests to use the term radical Islam is prejudice toward one religion.
It is for these reasons that the ISD Editorial Board endorses Judge over Grassley to represent Iowa in the U.S Senate.
With all of the rhetoric and fervor surrounding the highest-elected position in the country, it's easy to forget the importance of local elections. These elections may not hold the same level of excitement and entertainment to many voters. But they are some of the most important elections happening this season.
Both state and local elections affect your everyday life more than you may think. Local officials have a say in many day-to-day issues such as city parking and zoning ordinances to state issues such as water quality and funding for the state universities. These elected positions matter. So, before you cast your ballot, whether early, by mail or on election day, take some time to identify your Iowa House and Senate districts and who’s running to represent you in our state assembly.
Three Iowa House of Representatives districts that cover all or part of Iowa State’s campus and the surrounding areas are up for re-election this November. District 46 contains much of Iowa State’s campus and is represented by Rep. Lisa Heddens, a Democratic incumbent who is running unopposed this year. District 45 is mostly south and west of campus and has three candidates running. Democrat Beth Wessel-Kroeschell is the incumbent running against Republican Sondra Childs-Smith and Libertarian Eric Cooper. In District 48, which is mostly north of Ames, Republican incumbent Robert Bacon is being challenged by Democrat Sherrie Taha.
Only one Iowa Senate district is up for election this year. Iowa Senate District 24 is mostly located north and west of Ames. In this district, Republican incumbent Jerry Behn is running against Democrat Keith Puntenney. Sen. Herman Quirmbach represents Iowa Senate District 23 and is not up for re-election this year.
Several county-level elections also are on the ballot this year, along with votes to retain local judges. For information about your polling location and to see a sample ballot before you vote, go to the Story County website.
How to Register
With Election Day less than three weeks away, Nov. 8, pre-registration and early voting has begun in Iowa. Multiple locations are being used as polling places around the city of Ames.
On campus, the Pride Room of the Memorial Union is set up as a voting location this year. Students and Ames residents can stop by anytime from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to cast their vote.
West Hy-Vee, Ames Public Library and the Human Services Center are alternative locations if you can’t make it to the Memorial Union.
In order to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old by Election Day and registered as a Story Country resident to vote in Ames.
The pre-registration deadline for Iowa voters is Oct. 24 by mail or Oct. 29 online. You can register and vote on Election Day, but it will take more time than pre-registration. Either way, registration is required for all voters. To pre-register, you need to complete the voter registration form and return it to the county auditor’s office. For online registration, a driver’s licence or non-operator ID is required. You can also register to vote at the Memorial Union.
As an Iowa State student, you need to decide, and decide quickly, whether you want to cast your vote here or at your home address.
The Story County official website provides helpful information for voters and can be a valuable resource to use. You can check your voter registration status online, as well as obtain the voter registration form. Specific information regarding voting for students also is available.
Your decision will help write the next four years of the American story, so go out and vote.