The Everygirl’s Guide to the 2012 Elections: Part 2

The Everygirl’s Guide to the 2012 Elections: Part 2 #theeverygirl

It’s hard to believe there are only 22 days left until Election Day!  Maybe you’re totally over the media coverage and political sparring and ready for the election to be over. Or maybe you’re really enjoying the last few weeks of the campaign and the opportunity to learn more about the candidates.  Now that we’re two debates in, with another debate tonight, many people may already be sure of whom they’re voting for.  For those who are unsure, the last couple debates and informing yourself about the candidates’ positions may be helpful.

Additionally, if you work nights or won’t have the opportunity to catch the debates, keeping up with the latest happenings in the presidential campaign can be tough.  That’s why we’re bringing an at-a-glance look at the candidates’ positions to you.

Now that you’re hopefully registered to vote, here is a profile of the candidates running for president and a brief overview of their positions:

Barack Obama - Democratic Party

Age: 51
Experience: U.S. Senator from Illinois; Illinois State Senator; Community organizer; Constitutional law professor
Education: Occidental College; Columbia University; Harvard Law School
Running mate: Vice President Joseph Biden
Spouse: Michelle Obama
Children: 2 daughters

Issues: Below is a brief synopsis of President Obama’s positions on various issues, directly from his campaign.

Taxes & Economy

  • Wants to ensure millionaires pay their “fair share” and do not pay less in taxes than middle-class families by enacting the “Buffet Rule
  • Believes in supporting the middle class by investing in education, manufacturing, infrastructure
  • Does not believe cutting taxes is the way to prosperity
  • Has proposed a budget plan which includes spending cuts and revenue increases
  • Wants to eliminate tax credits for companies that export jobs and supports incentives to bring more jobs to the U.S.

Education

  • Supports doubling funding for Pell Grants
  • Supports establishing a college tax credit
  • Prevented student loan interest rates from doubling
  • Supported a “Pay as You Earn” student loan repayment program, which caps monthly federal loan repayment at 10% of monthly discretionary income
  • Supports incentives to ensure excellent teachers in schools
  • Supports investments in community colleges
  • Supports “Race to the Top,” an initiative in which 46 states have agreed to raise educational standards
  • Expanded the GI Bill to allow more military personnel to further their education

Healthcare

  • Supports the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)

Abortion

  • Pro-choice

Marriage

  • Supports gay marriage

Learn more: Barack Obama

Mitt Romney - Republican Party (GOP - Grand Old Party)

Age: 65
Experience: Former governor of Massachusetts; President and CEO of the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games; Founder, Bain Capital
Education: Brigham Young University; Harvard Law; Harvard Business School
Running mate: Paul Ryan, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin’s First District
Spouse: Ann Romney
Children: 5 sons

Issues: Below is a brief synopsis of Mitt Romney’s positions on various issues, directly from his campaign.

Taxes & Economy
Individual taxes:

  • Make permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates
  • Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains
  • Eliminate taxes for taxpayers with income below $200,000 on interest, dividends, and capital gains
  • Eliminate the Estate Tax (also known as the “Death Tax”)
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

Corporate taxes:

  • Cut the corporate rate to 25 percent

Education

  • Allow low income and special needs students to choose which school to attend
  • Provide incentives for states to increase choices for parents and develop quality alternatives
  • Build on the success of effective charter and digital schools
  • Expand the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program to serve as a model for the nation
  • Reform No Child Left Behind by emphasizing transparency and responsibility for results
  • Attract and reward great teachers through increased flexibility and block grants
  • Eliminate unnecessary certification requirements that discourage new teachers
  • Strengthen and simplify the financial aid system

Healthcare

  • Wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
  • Would like to give more control of healthcare to individual states
  • Block grant Medicaid and other payments to states
  • Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage
  • Ensure flexibility to help the uninsured, including public-private partnerships, exchanges, and subsidies
  • Ensure flexibility to help the chronically ill, including high-risk pools, reinsurance, and risk adjustment

Abortion

  • Pro-life

Marriage

  • Believes marriage should be between a man and a woman

Learn more: Mitt Romney

While the Green and Libertarian parties’ candidates have not been invited to participate in the presidential debates, we feel it is important to share with you their views, as well.

Gary Johnson - Libertarian Party

Age: 59
Experience: Former governor of New Mexico (Republican); Founded large construction company; formed OUR America Initiative, a non-profit
Education: University of New Mexico
Running mate: Jim Gray, Judge
Partner: Kate Prusack (engaged)
Children: 1 son, 1 daughter

Issues: Below is a brief synopsis of Gary Johnson’s positions on various issues, directly from his campaign.

Taxes & Economy

  • Revise Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security
  • Limit defense spending and end military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Abolish the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)
  • Transfer significant education policy to states
  • Legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana

Education

  • Make school of choice universal
  • Put parents in control of their children’s education
  • Terminate the Department of Education
  • Allow schools to decide how best to use educational funds

Healthcare

  • Wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)
  • Increase interstate competition to reduce healthcare costs
  • Create block grants for those who cannot afford basic healthcare

Abortion

  • Believes women should be able to make their own decisions until the point of viability of a fetus

Marriage

  • Supports gay marriage

Learn more: Gary Johnson

Dr. Jill Stein - Green Party

Age: 62
Experience: Physician; Teacher; Environmental-health advocate; has previously run for multiple offices from Massachusetts
Education: Harvard College; Harvard Medical School
Running mate: Cheri Honkala, Advocate for the poor and homeless
Spouse: Dr. Richard Rohrer
Children: 2 sons

Issues: Below is a brief synopsis of Jill Stein’s positions on various issues, directly from her campaign.

Taxes & Economy

  • Rewrite the entire tax code to be truly progressive with tax cuts for working families, the poor and middle class, and higher taxes for the richest Americans
  • Reject cuts to Medicare and Social Security
  • Relieve the debt overhang holding back the economy by reducing homeowner and student debt burdens
  • Maintain and upgrade our nation's essential public infrastructure
  • Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers

Education

  • Provide tuition-free education from kindergarten through college
  • Forgive existing student debt
  • Protect our public school systems from privatization
  • End high-stakes testing and stop punishing students and teachers for failures of the system in which they work
  • Stop denying students diplomas based on tests
  • Stop using merit pay to punish teachers

Healthcare

  • Provide complete, affordable, quality health care for every American through an improved Medicare-for-all insurance program
  • Allow full access to all medically justified contraceptive and reproductive care
  • Expand women's access to the "morning after" contraception by lifting the Obama Administration's ban
  • Invest in essential community health infrastructure such as local, fresh, organic food systems, pollution-free renewable energy, etc.
  • End overcharging for prescription drugs by using bulk purchasing negotiations
  • Ensure that consumers have essential information for making informed food choices by expanding product labeling requirements for country of origin, GMO content, toxic chemical ingredients, fair trade practices, etc.

Abortion

  • Pro-choice

Marriage

  • Supports gay marriage

Learn more: Jill Stein

While 22 days is certainly close to Election Day, a lot can happen between now and then.  Those in politics and the media refer to a phenomenon known as the “October Surprise” in presidential elections.  While it could be media hype, “October Surprise” is believed to be an event that occurs without notice, and affects the presidential campaign, at least momentarily.  For example, this could be a foreign event that could affect the way voters view President Obama or Mitt Romney and how they handle foreign policy, or it could be something that comes as a surprise from one of the candidates during a debate.  In fact, if you Google “October Surprise” you’ll see much speculation from various media outlets and journalists forecasting what might be this election year’s “surprise.”

We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to inform herself and then take advantage of the right to vote!  If you’re able, we encourage you to watch tonight’s presidential debate.  We’ll be back to re-cap the debate tomorrow.

Read The Everygirl's Guide to the Elections Part 1, our recap to Debate 1, and the recap to Debate 2: Vice Presidential Debate!