The Illinois Presidential Primary is days away, and the race is heating up. Students were invited to submit presidential endorsements via email from Feb. 26 to March 5. Here’s what they had to say:

#ImWithHer

I know that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gives us as teenagers more of a voice, but Hillary Clinton has also been a Senator for New York and Secretary of State.

Since she has been Secretary of State, she can end some of the long bad relationships with some countries in the Middle East. Clinton also has experience being in different roles, including being First Lady. Putting the controversies aside, she is the best person to lead our country right now.

While on the Republican side we have a political outsider in business mogul Donald Trump, who has made many offensive comments regarding things like the KKK, I don’t think that we need a political outsider at this time. While Florida Senator Marco Rubio is probably the “smartest” Republican in the field, he is losing to Trump and Cruz, and he can’t catch up.

Also, although Ted Cruz can connect to people’s values, I don’t think he could help our relations with other countries like Cuba.

With all the problems we have with other countries, we need someone who has experience with working with other countries. Clinton at this time is the best candidate for the job.

– Wyatt Dojutrek, freshman

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I support Hillary Clinton. Most people my age prefer Bernie Sanders, but they shouldn’t.

Sanders never had a stable job as a young adult. He entered politics because it was the only thing that could keep him from living in poverty, and it took him ages to actually win an election.

Clinton worked hard to become a lawyer, and she’s now one of the most well-known politicians in the world. The president is supposed to be a good role model. Many kids want to be president when they grow up or at least look up to the president. They should be looking up to someone as successful as Clinton, not Bernie the Bum.

Another reason is that she has a proven record of getting stuff done. Everybody knows who Clinton is and the things she’s done for the U.S. Few people have heard of Sanders before he announced his run for President.

Also, people my age seem to think Clinton isn’t liberal and that she’s just a moderate Republican. By that logic, so is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and President Barack Obama is a Tea Party Nut. Clinton was rated more liberal than Obama in the Senate and as liberal as progressive hero Elizabeth Warren.

Clinton and Sanders also voted together 93 percent of the time. Clinton’s plan for America is basically the same as Sanders’ plan, except Bernie thinks he can change everything overnight. Clinton knows we have to make slow steps towards change if we want the change to work.

– Konrad Strzalka, freshman

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She has been called “the best qualified presidential candidate ever” by Bloomberg View columnist Jonathan Bernstein. An endorsement by the New York Times played with similar wording. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has served on the frontlines of American politics for decades, and it’s time that she becomes our next president. That’s why I am proud to say that #ImwithHer.

What matters in a president? What do we need in a president? Notice that I’m not asking what we want to see in a president or what most people think we should see in a president.

What does America need? In order to answer this, we first must answer what America’s role is and should be as a part of a global network of more than 200 sovereign countries. Do we want to continue to be the “world’s policemen?” Or, on the complete flipside, should we utilize our two biggest politics-cancelling headphones, our beautiful shining seas, and just say screw it?

I could write an entire column on just this, but that wouldn’t fit on this page. Essentially, we need to find a middle ground, the wonderful little pasture where we aren’t overthrowing 37 governments in 65 years yet where we don’t look the other way when humanitarian crises arise. In this election cycle especially, seeking this foreign policy nirvana is going to be, like it or not, crucial to the stability of the world order as we know it.

No candidate other than Secretary Clinton has even the faintest sense of what it’s like in the big leagues. Nice try Rubio, but calling Putin a “thug” isn’t going to do anything as you watch through your frightened Tinkerbell eyes as he marches another army into another former Soviet territory, eerily resembling the behavior of a certain somebody who, a half-century back, tried to recreate Rome.

We, the world, cannot afford to experiment at a time when a mass exodus of millions of people, mostly children, is welcomed by xenophobia and hate, at a time when a big fat kid with a big fat bomb could blow up Manhattan with a snap of his greasy fingers.

And we certainly cannot afford to have a Trump. That should go without saying, but perhaps the lead wasn’t only in Flint’s water.

Anyways, no other candidate has even close to as much experience with as many different parts of the government as Clinton does, much less in foreign policy. She has lived in the White House, served in the senate, was a staff member on the Judiciary Committee in the House and served as secretary of state for 4 years. Bottom line, she’s done it, she’s made mistakes and she now knows everything not to do in office. The other guys haven’t a clue what they’re in for, and it’s a frightening prospect that the first time they’ll find out is in the Oval Office.

This leads to my next point. If you’re Bernin’ the Sanders high, get off it. Maybe some other year in some utopia when the wealth gap is the only issue that matters, I’d love to be courted as a voter by the soothing lull of free college and smaller banks.

But now is not that year, and however disheartening or discouraging that may be, it is the reality. The serious social problems that have slapped this country in the face will not go away. Are 16 slaps enough to wake us up? How about 123, or 4 million?

Perhaps as high-schoolers we are deep sleepers, but as Americans, it is absolutely vital to the world and to ourselves that we are not.

That’s why it’s important that you go with your brain rather that your heart, and don’t just choose, but vote for Hillary.

– Leo Garkisch, sophomore

Feeling the Bern

The moment I knew who I wanted to endorse for the 2016 election was the moment I saw a video of Bernie Sanders addressing the House of Representatives in 1991 with an audience of one. I couldn’t believe it. Not because there was barely anyone present in the House, which looked strange to me, but because of how much he cared.

There’s always a secret motive nowadays with politicians having some covert political gain hidden underneath the agenda. But when I saw that video, I saw no political gain. I saw a guy talking about what he cared about to an empty audience.

Bernie Sanders cares. He’s been there from the beginning. When he was 20, he led a student sit-in to oppose segregation in off-campus housing owned by the University of Chicago. Sanders voted against the Defense of Marriage Act and against the discrimination of gay couples that was present in the bill.

He is the only one in the race who is in fact not a millionaire (or not a billionaire if we’re counting another candidate). Because of this, he will not let the upper one percent get away unscathed. He is a feminist and against Super PACs.

Sanders is in favor of pro-choice, LGBT rights, free college tuition, equal opportunity and disability rights. (But this is only the simplified list, I urge you all to go to his website and read more at berniesanders.com).

He’s for the people. He cares about the people, and I want a president who cares. My name is Kate Dinsmore, and I am feeling the Bern.

– Kate Dinsmore, senior

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What makes one presidential candidate stick out from all the rest? Having ideals and standing behind them? Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has had a lifelong goal: equality for all.

Way back in 1962, Sanders was fighting for racial equality when he was arrested for protesting against segregation at the University of Chicago. Today, he is very vocal in trying to put an end to racism, maintaining a 100 percent rating from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) compared to Donald Trump’s 60 percent rating.

On another equality front, as the mayor of Burlington Vermont, Sanders supported their first ever Gay Pride Parade in 1983. In Congress, Sanders voted against the Defense of Marriage Act and is currently co-sponsoring the Equality Act. Meanwhile, Florida Senator Marco Rubio wants to repeal the same-sex marriage ruling and take away any and all protection for LGBT members.

Sanders has also been a long time proponent for the working and middle class. He believes that anyone working 40 hours a week should not be struggling to put bread on the table. Sanders identifies with lower and middle income citizens. After all, his humble beginning was in a small apartment in Brooklyn, the son of a poor Polish immigrant. Instead of receiving a small loan of a million dollars from his parents, Sanders worked his way to the top. Eventually, he became the mayor of Burlington, a United States House Representative and Senator from the state of Vermont. He steadfastly supports policies that address the causes of economic inequalities.

Sanders stands by his ideals. While Trump, Clinton, Rubio and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have all received donations from big businesses, Sanders refuses to accept any donations from large corporations. And when Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, donated money to Sanders’ campaign, Sanders responded by donating that money towards a health clinic in Washington, D.C. that specializes in the treatment of HIV.

But the most important reason to vote for Sanders is that he is a compassionate person. He actually cares for people and he wants to make life better for all of us. The Bernie Sanders’ campaign runs on love for all instead of hate. And wouldn’t you rather have a president who loves you for you than one who runs on hate?

– Heather Pecho, senior

Anyone but Trump

I wouldn’t exactly say that I was naive at the beginning of the election cycle, but I was certainly optimistic. For the first time in my life, my opinions and my vote would matter, so I hoped to find a candidate worth picking. I watched debates and speeches on TV and read article after article, waiting to see if Bernie or Hillary or Rubio or Kasich would share or change enough of my views that I would want to pick them in November.

However, my optimism died as soon as Donald Trump started his campaign. At first, the ugly stream of racism, megalomania, and unfounded claims that spewed from his mouth seemed almost comic, and I took a break from my earlier dedication to studying current events to watch Trump perform.

But as Trump began to gain serious ground in the primaries, I and the rest of the nation realized that he wasn’t going away. His outrageous assertions quickly metamorphosed from amusing to terrifying. As I watched the Republican frontrunner disparage women, heap abuse on immigrants, and demonize Muslims, I began to worry for the future of my country.

Lest we forget, Trump has over the course of his campaign suggested that American soldiers should commit war crimes by attacking terrorists’ families, claimed he could convince Mexico to pay for an enormous border wall, and argued that we should somehow ban an entire religion from the US. His hateful comments have led to an increase in hate crimes against Muslims and caused two former Mexican presidents to compare him to Hitler.

Initially, I thought the Nazi comparison was a bit strong, even for someone as bombastic and offensive as Trump. However, the more I think about it, the more fascist Trump begins to appear. He has no clear policies, preferring to rely on demagoguery and yelling. He espouses an aggressive, stereotypically masculine variety of nationalism, promising to “Make America Great Again” through the sheer force of his will. His supporters, according to a recent study by the University of Massachusetts, are united by their preference for authoritarianism, and at his rallies they boo his media critics and forcibly remove protesters, howling insults at them as they are escorted away. Not to mention the fact that Trump time and again has used minorities as scapegoats for America’s problems.

By this point in his campaign, the similarities between Trump and the dictators of the past are uncomfortably obvious, and yet he continues to have success in the primaries, partly because his supporters feel that he tackles issues in a way that the establishment won’t. But the citizens of the United States must not sacrifice our democracy out of disgruntlement. We have the benefit of hindsight: we live in America in the 2010s, not Germany in the 1920s. We know where Trump’s road goes, and we must not take the human race down that path again.

Although I disagree with many other candidates, none of them will carry the menace of fascism with them to the White House. With this in mind, I exhort, implore, entreat, plead, and shamelessly beg anyone who will listen: vote for anyone but Trump.

-Marisa Romanelli, senior

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Satire: Make America great again

I am definitely supporting Donald J Trump for President. I believe that what America needs is not a politician who has actual political experience, but instead a real estate mogul who will use his outsider ideas to Make America Great Again. Trump started with nothing and built up a business empire from only a very small loan of one million dollars, and he will do the same for America.

Even though his profanity makes him sound like an immature teenager, I rally behind his complete disregard for sounding presidential. Immigration has been talked about in all of the previous elections, but without Trump, no one would be talking about it this time around.

I don’t care that the liberal media says the illegal immigration population has declined since its 2007 peak, they are pouring across our borders unabated. The solution is simple; all we need to do is ship all of the illegal immigrants back to Mexico and build a wall to keep them there, forever. And Mexico is going to pay for this because Trump will make them.

Illegal immigration is not the only immigration about which we have to worry. There is a single group of people out there that America needs to ban because their sole purpose is to destroy us: Muslims.

The problem is not guns, but the people who use them sort of like how pencils don’t fail tests, I do. Trump recognizes this and every single problem that America faces, and he, along with all the really great people he had at his esteemed university, are going to Make America Great Again.

On top of his superior ideas and wizard abilities to make deals, Trump is the only candidate who embodies America. Of the significant people running for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz has the most punchable face in America, has zero friends and was born in Canada. And Marco Rubio is a total lightweight who is a mere puppet for the establishment. If you manage to look past his elephant ears, no one sweats more than Marco. Plus, did you see how much water he drank that one time?

An election against any of the Democrats will be a cakewalk because Hillary Clinton won’t be able to run after her indictment, and Bernie Sanders is trying to turn the United States into a communist utopia. Starting January 20th, Donald Drumpf’s presidency is going to be YUGE.

– Jack Gabriel, senior

 

All photos courtesy of wikicommons.

Stay tuned for Prospector Friday tomorrow for more endorsements.