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Destler Dodge

The success of a democracy is, at least in principle, entirely dependent on an the choices of an informed electorate. That’s a difficult thing to have if you get your news from memes your aunt shared on Facebook and laughably false clickbait. Hopefully, this condensed rundown of presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders and their respective positions on the issues will help clear things up a little.

Marco Rubio:

What are Marco Rubio’s political credentials?

Marco Rubio has been the junior Senator from Florida since 2011. From 2000 to 2011 he was a member of Florida’s House of Representatives, also serving as Speaker of the House from 2005 to 2011. 

How is he on social issues?

Rubio is pro-life and has been unclear on whether his stance extends to cases of rape and incest. He also supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood, though he skipped two Senate votes that pertained to that. On the issue of LGBTQIA+ rights, Rubio is both against same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, having blocked the latter in 2006 during his tenure in Florida’s House of Representatives. He also has raised funds for the Florida Family Policy Council, an organization that promotes anti-gay conversion therapy.

What about immigration?

Rubio coauthored a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013 that, among other things, created a path to citizenship to currently undocumented immigrants that already reside in the United States. However, he has backed away from his former support of comprehensive immigration reform and currently stresses the importance of securing our borders.

What kind of healthcare system does he support?

Like most Republicans, Rubio aims to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He aims to replace it by instituting a refundable tax credit and gradually shifting Medicare to premium support system.

How about foreign policy?

He advocates a more aggressive stance in foreign policy in general, taking swipes against China, Russia, and Iran while advocating strengthening the military. Rubio in particular has been very outspoken against the Obama administration’s attempt at normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba, saying that he would roll back any negotiations with the country.

What about miscellaneous issues?

Rubio has already proposed a radically simplified tax code. It would, among other things, lower corporate income tax to 25 percent and redefine income tax to two brackets: 15% and 35% to people making less and more than $75,000 a year, respectively. The also includes increasing the child tax credit to $2,500 per child.

Bernie Sanders:

What are Bernie Sanders’ credentials?

Bernie Sanders has been junior Senator from Vermont since 2007. Before that, he was a congressman in the House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007 after serving as mayor of Burlington from 1981 to 1989.

How is he on social issues?

Sanders is pro-choice, believing reproductive rights should be decided by the woman and not the state. He is for LGBTQIA+ rights and has a record to show it, voting against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and voting for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act in 2013.

What about immigration?

Sanders supports immigration reform and has vowed to go further than the Obama administration in protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation. Sanders opposed an immigration reform bill in 2007 that was never passed, taking issue with the guest-worker program, which he felt both exploited the foreign workers and hurt American workers.

What kind of health care system does he support?

Sanders is a proponent of a single-payer system of universal healthcare. As such, he has offered only tentative support to the Affordable Care Act, supporting it but believing that it needs to go further to cover all citizens.

How about foreign policy?

Sanders has been decidedly non-interventionist when it comes to military engagements, voting against both the Gulf War in 1991 and the Iraq War in 2002. Beyond his vocal opposition for foreign military entanglements, Sanders has been reluctant to speak at length about foreign affairs, preferring to talk about domestic issues.

What about miscellaneous issues?

Sanders differs from his fellow Democratic candidates in his record on gun control. While Sanders has voted for measures of gun control more recently, he also voted against the Brady Act in the early 90s, a bill that instituted waiting periods and background checks for prospective handgun owners.