By Jessalyn Johnson
English Literature Major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
With the election coming up this November, it is important for today’s youth, especially those who will be voting for the first time, to understand the candidates they are voting for to lead our great nation, and the concepts and ideas they want to implement in our country.
It is no mystery that this year’s candidates are stirring up quite a race, with game-changing ideas that some voters love – and others do not.
With the Arizona Presidential Preference Election quickly approaching (March 22), it is important for young people to register to vote so that come Election Day (Nov. 8), the voices of the current generation can be heard.
What is Political Science?
Political science is defined as a social science dealing with the government, public affairs and political activity of a country. Politics are one of the most important aspects of our society, as they are the base for almost everything that goes on in our country, particularly in terms of law, government policy and foreign affairs. It is a huge component in holding our nation together, and if more people were to understand and appreciate its importance, our modern society would be far better educated on U.S. policy.
With this understanding comes a voice – an opinion on the nation’s policies that can change our country for the better.
Voting and How It Works
Presidential elections take place every four years, allowing a current president in their first term the chance to be re-elected into the presidential office, if desired. Current President Barack Obama is at the end of his second term, and will finish his tenure as president at the beginning of next year. The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are in the process of selecting new candidates to represent their respective parties in the current election.
The Electoral College ultimately selects the president and vice president of the United States, though the electors (the amount in each state varies by population) almost always pledge their vote to a particular candidate. The electors chosen to vote for the state also pledge to vote for the party that won the popular vote of the state.
Arizona currently has 11 electoral votes, giving the state 11 votes out of the total 538; for a candidate to be elected, they need to have a majority of 270 or more of the electoral votes. If neither party receives a majority of the votes, the decision is then passed on to the House of Representatives, with each state getting a single vote.
Why Voting is Important
If people do not take the time to vote come Election Day, specifically those who are getting their very first chance to have a say in the next leader of our country, citizens will not have the amount of representation that they are given the opportunity to have. This next president will hold the office for the next four years, the timeframe in which first-time voters are at the dawn of their days in the working world.
It is a seemingly popular assumption that the vote of the public does not “count” per se, due to the fact that the Electoral College is not technically obliged legally to vote for the party they have pledged to. It is a rare occasion in which electors choose to be unfaithful, as they usually place their vote in the candidate they promised based on the popular vote of the state.
Others may not vote for lack of opinion on the subject. No matter the personal feelings toward politics, the individual who holds the presidential office affects every citizen of the United States. The democracy we live under allows us to have a say in the next leader of the free world. This is a big deal and a privilege that able American citizens should not pass over. To register to vote in your state, visit your local DMV, post office or simply register online.
The Presidential Candidates
As of this writing, Donald Trump has evidently taken the title as the frontrunner for the Republican Party. The other candidates are Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, who, while still fighting for the presidential title, are currently trailing behind Trump.
The Democratic Party has two candidates remaining in the race, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It is difficult to tell who the real crowd favorite is, though Clinton appears to be leading in the polls as of this writing. Recently, many supporters of Sanders have made quite the effort to reach other people with his controversial policies, as he has become known for his idea to implement a higher minimum wage and adjust the tax rate.
While each candidate has his or her own ideas on how to do right by the citizens of the United States, only one will be sworn in as president come January of next year. All you need to have your voice heard is a voter registration card and the mindset of a proud, informed American, ready to have a say in our country’s future.
If political science is a topic that interests you, visit the Grand Canyon University website to learn about political and social science degrees, or contact an enrollment representative for more information on GCU’s programs.
More about the author:
Jessalyn Johnson is a freshman at Grand Canyon University. She is an English literature major with a minor in theatre. Coming all the way from Central Florida to Phoenix, Jessalyn has enjoyed the change of environment and loves being a student at GCU. She has adjusted well and is excited to continue her journey at the college. Jessalyn has recently become a member of the StartleBloom: The GCU Literary Review Editorial Board, with the review making its debut in 2016. In her free time she enjoys creative writing, photography, acting and film.