20 Things You Need to Know Before You Cast Your 2016 Votes


Jane Michaelson and Moti Begna

2016 is an election year, and if you’re like us, you have been unable to escape the tsunami of debates, ads, and political tension. So to clear up some of the ambiguity in these candidates, here are twenty things you need to know before you cast your 2016 votes:


1 Not every state can be labeled as simply a Democratic or Republican state . Some, known as swing states, can be swayed depending on how strong a candidate gains support from voters there. Swing states are about as unpredictable as the name a Starbucks barista will put on your cup.

2. As of November 2015, there are three Democratic candidates, and fourteen Republican candidates, so don’t get distracted by the media’s focus on just Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

3. According to journalist Lindsey Cook in a June 2015 US News article, the top three issues to look out for in 2016 include government dissatisfaction, education, and international affairs. Let’s take a look at some of the candidates’ positions on several of these key issues…

4. Lisa Jardins, Rachel Wellford, and Nathalie Boyd of PBS posted a series of articles in 2015 with the following information: Republicans Ben Carson and Trump both believe that climate change is an irrelevant issue, while Democrat Bernie Sanders argues that shifting global temperatures are a significant threat. #FeelTheMelt

5. Clinton is opposed to sending ground troops to fight ISIS, which is similar to Sanders’ ideology, who thinks we should focus less on international conflicts and more on domestic needs. On the contrary, both Trump and Carson are in favor of sending troops.

6. Carson is against a general national standard of education, while Clinton is specifically against the No Child Left Behind Act. On another side of education, Sanders is in favor of providing $18 billion to state governments in order to cut college tuition by 55 percent

Let’s take a closer look at the Democratic candidates:

7. Bernie Sanders is 74 years old! Much of the current debate on him has been on his lack of experience in foreign policy despite his age…and whether he’ll actually live through the term.

photo courtsey of imgflip.com

photo courtsey of imgflip.com

  1. Hillary Clinton, our former First Lady, United States Senator from New York, Secretary of State, and mother of Chelsea (in order of importance), is running for President. After years of Monica-Lewinsky-ing his butt around the White House her husband, Bill, has been rallying support for her campaign with the #hillyes…and Katy Perry.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 22.52.37

Photo courtesy of Bill Clinton

  1. Since 2012, the State Department has been handling a crisis brought up by a series of private emails sent by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the Benghazi attacks. These emails jeopardized national security and raised questions about Hillary’s standing in the government. She has been under more fire for these emails than Bill was for Monica.


photo courtesy of Jane Michaelson

  1. I’m going to guess a lot of you may have no idea who this next candidate is, and that’s ok, he’s got 2% of the vote. With that, let me introduce you to Martin O’Malley. Here’s what you really need to know about him: he’s got a Celtic rock band called O’Malley’s March. Here’s an amazing video of Martin in a bro-tank singing:


  1. Even though he has decided not to run, Joe Biden needs to be mentioned. Mostly because I think he would be a great candidate, and not because he’s a smart political leader, but just because he’s Joe. About Entertainment in 2012 has a whole article of ‘Bidenisms,’ things that Mr. Biden has said that make Obama want to kick him in the shin. Here are my favorites:
  • “Folks, I can tell you I’ve known eight presidents, three of them intimately.” –Joe Biden, Aug. 22, 2012
  • “I promise you, the president has a big stick. I promise you.” –Joe Biden, citing Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” (April 26, 2012)
  • “Stand up, Chuck, let ’em see ya.” –-Joe Biden, to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair, Columbia, Missouri, Sept. 12, 2008
  • “Isn’t it a b*tch? This vice president thing?” –Joe Biden, empathizing with a student at Harvard University who identified himself as the student body’s vice president, drawing laughs from the audience. Biden added: “That was a joke, that was a joke. Best decision I ever made. I’m joking. That was a joke.” (Oct. 2, 2014)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden pose with the full Cabinet for an official group photo in the Grand Foyer of the White House, July 26, 2012. Seated, from left, are: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Standing in the second row, from left, are: Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Standing in the third row, from left, are: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey D. Zients, Council of Economic Advisers Chair Alan Krueger, and Small Business Administrator Karen G. Mills. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Ê
photo courtesy of wikimedia

And now to introduce the plethora of Republican candidates:

  1. Just to get it off the Republican Party’s chest, here’s a list of some of the crazy stuff D.J. Trump has said:
    • “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of a**.”
    • “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
    • “[John McCain’s] not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK, I hate to tell you.”

13. According to Ben Carson’s website, www.bencarson.com, he worked at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in pediatric neurosurgery for 29 years. He really is a Washington outsider; he has almost zero political history, thus zero camera appeal.


photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

  1. Marco Rubio is mostly remembered on the internet for a devastatingly long and awkward sip of water during his rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union in 2013. #thirsty


Photo courtesy of AP

  1. And last and most certainly least (with 1% of the vote): Carly Fiorina. First of all, here’s how you pronounce her name: Fee-O-Ri-NA. She’s a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard whose love for shoes is almost as strong as her love for liberty. In a People magazine interview, she stated, “I love being a girl!…I like clothes. I like shoes. I like dressing up.” Thanks for that, Carly, but no, with those kind of comments, you’ll never get a presidential-size closet.
  1. Current Republican Nominee Polls according to Real Clear Politics:
2016 Republican Presidential Nomination USA Today/Suffolk Trump 27, Cruz 22, Rubio 15, Carson 11, Bush 7, Christie 3, Fiorina 5, Kasich 2, Paul 2, Huckabee 1, Santorum 1, Pataki 0, Graham 0 Trump +10
  1. The Current Democrat Nominee Polls, according to RCP, are:
2016 Democratic Presidential Nomination USA Today/Suffolk Clinton 52, Sanders 32, O’Malley 2 Clinton +27
  1. No matter how small you may feel in the grand scheme of things, your vote matters. So if you can vote, please do. There have been close races in the past, like the 2000 election with the Al Gore and George W. Bush. Besides, if everyone chose not to vote, we’d be left with a silent majority.
  1. Please, don’t take a selfie at the voting booth. States across the nation have laws against such actions that can result in a fine or even jail time. So save that photo till after you get your “I Voted” sticker.
  1. You don’t have to be 18 to be a part of the political conversation. Wear t-shirts with the candidates faces on them, buy bumper stickers, or even join rallies. There’s always something to do.


We here at The Talon hope you have learned a little something about the Great American Political Race with this help of this article. Remember to vote for your favorite loser, and have a great Monday.