All points in green were written by Kat Capossela, arguing for Hillary Clinton. All points in brown were written by Elisa Tabor, arguing for Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton should be the Democratic nominee

  • Clinton has incredible political experience. In her political career, she has served as Senator from New York, the First Lady of Arkansas, the First Lady of the United States, and Secretary of State. Particularly as First Lady and Secretary of State, Clinton gained an intimate understanding of political science and the President’s duties that Sanders, whose highest governmental position is as Senator from Vermont, lacks.
  • Bernie Sanders has been in politics since 1981, when he was elected Mayor of Burlington, whereas Clinton’s introduction to politics occurred 11 years later, when her husband was elected President of the United States in 1992. As Mayor of Burlington, Sanders made major advancements in affordable housing, progressive taxation, environmental protection, child care, and women’s rights. Nine years later, Sanders was elected the sole representative of Vermont in the United States House, and 16 years later he was elected to the Senate. He has 25 years of experience in Congress, 16 more than Hillary. Experience in politics, as with anything, is gained by spending more time and working up to the top, rather than by just being married to the President.
  • The 11-year gap in political experience between Sanders and Clinton just proves how fast she progresses. As First Lady, Clinton made many of her own political advancements, such as creating the Children’s Health Insurance Program which cut the rate of uninsured children in half. In 2000, Clinton was elected the first female Senator from New York for nine years. Afterwards, Clinton continued her political career as Secretary of State heading the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. Sanders remained Representative from Vermont for 16 years before becoming Senator only three years ago. Clinton gained her accomplishments on her own, showing political experience isn’t just based on time spent in office, but also the progress made while there.
  • All of Clinton’s accomplishments don’t change the fact that Sanders is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. For 25 years he has focused on the shrinking middle class. For 25 years he has been doing everything in his power to reduce the wealth inequality in the United States. He has worked on various committees such as the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. In all of these committees, Sanders has made significant advancements to increase the prosperity and wellbeing of the American people.
  • Clinton has realistic vision. Clinton and Sanders have similar viewpoints on most topics, but Sanders takes these ideas to the socialist and unreasonable extreme. Although his plans like breaking up giant banks and eliminating fossil fuels may sound ideal, they are impractical. Projects that enormous cannot be undertaken overnight, let alone at all given their monstrous cost. However, Clinton’s plans that produce gradual change, such as creating tax incentives that encourage corporate profit-sharing and investing in, researching, and developing cleaner renewable energy, prove she takes reality into consideration before supporting any proposal.
  • Bernie Sanders’s plans sound ideal because they are ideal. In the Democratic debate, Sanders said, “what democratic socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that […] when you look around the world you see every other major country providing healthcare to all people as a right, except the United States. You see every other major country saying to moms that, when you have a baby, we’re not gonna separate you from your newborn baby, because we are going to have medical and family paid leave, like every other country on Earth.” Sanders’s policies may seem far-fetched to some, but right now his programs are exactly what America needs to keep up with a rapidly developing world.
  • America cannot do everything. Yes, it would be ideal to offer universal healthcare, but we cannot afford a 15-trillion dollar program. We already offer free healthcare to those who truly need it through Medicare and CHIP, and our emergency rooms are required to see all patients, regardless of income. That is the fault in Sanders’ policies: they’re unrealistic and unaffordable. America needs a president who will push for affordable care like Clinton, someone who makes things happen, not someone who promotes bogus plans that will immediately flop.
  • The United States of America cannot do everything, but it can save numerous lives by taking a step forward. Universal healthcare would save thousands of lives by allowing uninsured and underinsured citizens to have access to healthcare. Plans that save that many lives are not bogus. They’re crucial to the well-being and prosperity of the United States.
  • Sanders’s healthcare plan would cost 15 trillion over 10 years, but the United States would save five to 10 trillion dollars in reduced administrative waste, lower pharmaceutical and device prices, and lower rates of medical inflation. That still means that the program would cost about five trillion dollars. The healthcare system right now is wasteful and inefficient. Sanders’s plan will set the United States on the road to a free, efficient and universal healthcare system.
  • Clinton works better with both parties. Having worked as Secretary of State, Clinton understands that governmental decisions require the support of both political parties before initiating any change, while Sanders’s goals do not comply with these fundamentals of government. Sanders’s far left-wing viewpoints are a deterrent to some Democrats, let alone the Republicans. His support of taxing the rich at 90% and plans of establishing universal government services plans such as free college tuition and universal healthcare would get destroyed by the Republican party and never make it past the first legislative chamber, let alone ending up in the White House.
  • The United States of America is the only major country that does not guarantee health care as a right of citizenship. Several of Sanders’s plans are currently policies in many other bipartisan countries. Those countries have two or more parties, and yet they have succeeded in adopting many of the programs that Sanders is attempting to propose, such as increased taxes, universal health care, and free college tuition.
  • The United States is not the only major country that does not guarantee universal health care: three out of five of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council do not maintain it. Again, the Republican Party would never support such a liberal proposal. Sanders does not consider that increasing the wealthy’s taxes to pay for universal healthcare, free college tuition, and one trillion dollars in infrastructure are unfathomably expensive plans that any conservative would immediately shut down. On the other hand, Clinton, who has worked closely with both parties to initiate change and is far less liberal than the Democratic Socialist Sander, is more likely to earn both parties’ support in her plans.
  • Out of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which include China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, only the U.S. does not offer universal health care to its people. Many countries with multiple political parties, such as France, the UK, and Germany, have established efficient universal health care systems.
  • The U.S. spends the most per capita on healthcare, yet it still won’t provide universal healthcare. Sanders’s plans would cost less than what the U.S. would spend without them. His healthcare plan would save five to 10 trillion dollars over a period of 10 years. The savings from universal healthcare would cover Sanders’s other programs like free college education, improving America’s infrastructure and increasing the minimum wage, while still leaving two trillion dollars to reduce the federal debt.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is the leading authority on international health within the United Nations. The 1948 WHO Constitution “declares health a fundamental human right and commits to ensuring the highest attainable level of health for all.” If the United States complies with this principle, both parties would agree that the “highest attainable level of health for all” is universal healthcare. Since health is such a basic element of our everyday lives, looking after our citizens’ health should be the main objective of our government.
  • Clinton is open-minded, not unyielding. In the October Democratic debate, Clinton said, “Over the course of my entire life, I have always fought for the same values and principles, but, like most human beings — including those of us who run for office — I do absorb new information. I do look at what’s happening in the world.” We need a president willing to discuss different matters and consider all sides. Contrarily, Sanders’s pigheaded manner when dealing with important issues will prevent any such governmental progression.
  • America needs a president who knows what his/her views are and who sticks with his/her viewpoints, not a president who changes his/her opinions on a whim. Hillary has not always acted on what she says, and an example of this arises with the bankruptcy bill. In the 1990s, as the first lady, Hillary Clinton worked against the bill and helped veto it. However, in 2001, as a senator, Clinton voted for the bill. It again didn’t pass, but when the bill turned up again in 2005, Clinton’s husband was in the hospital, so she missed the vote, but said she would have opposed the bill. Politicians often promise things to get themselves elected, but when they’re in office they don’t go through with those things. Sanders has proven with his track record that we can trust him to go through with his plans, no matter how much opposition he gets.
  • Clinton invariably “sticks with her viewpoints,” including when it came to The Bankruptcy Bill. The bill changed each time it came up, which is why Clinton’s opinion on it changed as well. In the 1990s, Clinton felt the bill would hurt women and children, voting against it. In the 2001, Clinton said the bill had been improved–it now ensured custodial parents received child custody payments–and voted for it. In 2005, Clinton said that improvement had been removed so she would have voted against it.
  • In Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s memoir, Gates wrote that “Hillary told [Obama] that her opposition to the surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary.” Clinton confessed that she had based her views on the war solely to get herself elected. Hillary Clinton’s political ambitions came before the safety of the American people. The President of the United States should be a person who represents the people in the best possible way and who puts the safety of Americans above everything.
  • Additionally, Sanders is not any different from other politicians who “promise things to get elected.” Sanders claims he endorses stronger gun laws, yet he voted against many gun regulation laws including 1993’s Brady Bill which required background checks for any gun purchase, arguably the most substantial gun regulation law ever passed.
  • Bernie Sanders wants to pass a reform that will be the most logical for the American people. When dealing with the Brady Bill, Sanders voted for an amendment requiring instant background checks; Sanders was solely opposed to the longer waiting periods. There are two sides that must be looked at for gun regulation laws: if a gun shop owner in Vermont sells a gun to a person who goes insane and kills someone, it’s not fair to hold the shop owner responsible. However, if the gun manufacturers are selling many guns in areas where they know the guns will be used for criminal purposes, then the manufacturers are responsible. Sanders, like any other rational person, wishes to “keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.”

Bernie Sanders should be the Democratic nominee

  • Democratic socialism There is something fundamentally wrong when the top tenth of a percent has as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash is going to the top one percent of the population. In order to reduce the wealth and income inequality, Bernie Sanders plans to create an estate tax on the top 0.3 percent and institute a tax on Wall Street speculators. He also plans to raise the federal minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour by 2020 because no one who works 40 hours a week deserves to live in poverty. Sanders will give over 13 million Americans jobs by investing to restore parts of our infrastructure that our country desperately needs. Sanders’s other plans include reversing trade policies, signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law, and guaranteeing health care as a right of citizenship.
  • Clinton’s economic points coincide with Sanders in this regard: they both want to end economic inequality. However, Sanders’s extreme and abrupt economic measures such as taxing the rich at 90% and doubling the current minimum wage in only five years will never get past the Republican party. Clinton’s more pragmatic ideas, like lowering taxes for hard-working families and small businesses and offering tax incentives to encourage corporations to share profits with workers, achieve this goal without offending the Republican party or breaking the federal bank.
  • Sanders does not have a current plan to tax the wealthiest at 90%; he merely said that when “Dwight Eisenhower was president, the highest marginal tax was something like 90%.” Sanders’s current plan is solely to establish a progressive estate tax for the top 0.3 percent of American citizens. Clinton’s plan of cutting taxes for small businesses is simply not enough. Merely cutting taxes for small businesses will not reduce the increasing wealth inequality.
  • When asked in an interview with CNBC if he believes President Dwight Eisenhower’s marginal tax rate of 90% was too high, Sanders responded “no.” An outrageously radical statement such as this is the epitome of Sanders’s extremist views that are simply unelectable. Republicans will instantly destroy any such plan, burying both Sanders’s and Clinton’s overarching goal to establish economic equality. Clinton is the more competent candidate to bring America closer to such an objective through reasonable and rational economical reforms. Reducing small business’s taxes are not her only economical proposal, either. With her New College Compact, Clinton hopes to eliminate student debt. Her plan to reduce taxes on businesses that share profits with employees is economically beneficial for both parties, and by enacting the “Buffett Rule,” she will ensure that tax rates are distributed according to income. To name a few, these plans are just the beginning of Clinton’s fight for economic inequality.
  • Today, some people are working over 40 hours a week and only earning 7.5 dollars per hour. Doubling the current minimum wage is not only feasible, but it is also precisely what our nation needs. Hillary Clinton herself plans to raise the minimum wage. The only difference between their minimum-wage policies is that Sanders has a specific plan that he will work to get approved. Sanders knows that he cannot suddenly change the minimum wage in an instant and that the Republican party will not immediately agree with his ideas. That is why his plan is to gradually raise the minimum wage, so that within five years American citizens will be earning what they deserve.
  • Sanders’s plan to double the minimum wage within five years is not gradual nor feasible. Never in the history of minimum wage has the price doubled within five years, let alone approached 15 dollars. Sanders’s promises to enact such left-wing ideas will never come to fruition. America needs to put their trust in someone who can work with both governmental parties and whose ideal-driven proposals are shaped accordingly. Clinton’s “specific” plan that she “will work to get approved” does just that. Her proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to 12 dollars contains the same principles as Sanders’ goal, but is comparatively reasonable and more likely to be attained.
  • Tuition free colleges and universities. As president, Bernie Sanders will fight to make sure that all Americans who would like to attend college can, no matter their economic background. Many countries such as Germany, Brazil, Finland, Norway, Sweden and others already offer free college to all their citizens. If other countries can provide free post-high school education, so can the United States of America. As Sanders said during the Democratic debate, “This is the year 2015. A college degree today is equivalent to what a high school degree was 50 years ago – what we said 50 years ago and 100 years ago is that every kid in this country should be able to get a high school education, regardless of the income of their family. I think that is true for everybody going to college.”
  • Sanders’s plan to establish free tuition for public colleges and universities sounds fantastic, yet the government spending $750 billion over 10 years doesn’t. The government should not waste colossal amounts of money per year paying for college tuition for those who can afford it. As Hillary put it in a recent NBC interview, “I am not in favor of making college free for Donald Trump’s kids.” Clinton’s “no debt tuition” plan costs approximately half of Sanders’ proposal and allows college to be cheaper for students on a need basis by giving students the ability to earn a four-year degree without having to take out loans: a realistic and economically-beneficial college tuition plan, not a free for all.
  • Fifty years ago, the United States of America decided that everyone should be able to get a high school education. That would have included Donald Trump’s kids. America is a country where every child has the opportunity to get an education, and where every child should have the opportunity to go to college. If a child wants to get a college education, no matter whether the parents have the money or not, America must give that child the right to acquire a college education.
  • You cannot compare offering free high school education to offering free college education. Receiving some form of high school education is a law, states must provide students the ability to do so. However, attending college is optional, and Clinton’s plan allows it to be economically obtainable for all, including the government. Sanders’s plan to fund his proposition by drastically increasing taxes on the wealthy would never pass the Republican party nor be enough to fund his $75 billion per year price tag. Additionally, US News says Sanders’s plan “fails to deliver the high-quality educational pathways that many students need to be successful in the modern workforce,” further proving his unattainable plan is a gargantuan waste of money.
  • Hillary Clinton’s plan is insufficient and inherently flawed. It is insufficient in that students still have to contribute the money they earn from working 10 hours per week. Students who are already working and balancing college work will have a hard time adding 10 hours every week to their busy schedule.
  • Additionally, if one works 10 hours per week earning Sanders’s ideal minimum wage of 15 dollars per hour for a year, one would earn about 8,000 dollars. The average cost of public college last year was about 9,000 dollars. The difference in cost is not enough to genuinely help students. Thus, her plan is pointless and ineffective. Clinton’s plan makes the entire process a lot more complicated than it already is, and a whole lot more complicated that it needs to be.
  • Saying Clinton’s college tuition plan is “pointless and inefficient” is silly. Her plan asks students to “contribute their earnings from working 10 hours a week” from their jobs, as a way to “do their part” by showing interest in their education, is nothing but beneficial. It supplies low-income students pocket money, increases employment rates, and establishes a sense of community that is similar to the already-established Federal Work Study program. The entire point of Hillary’s plan is to cover the cost of college after students and families make an “affordable and realistic” contribution, so the argument that “the difference in cost is not enough to genuinely help students” is fundamentally invalid.
  • Relatable character. Although one doesn’t generally associate honesty with politics, Bernie Sanders has a much more honest demeanor than Hillary Clinton, and he always speaks his mind. As a child, Sanders was part of a struggling working-class family. His father arrived in the US in 1917 without a penny, and he didn’t even speak English. Sanders has worked his way to the top, as shown by the data: 95 percent of Sanders’s top 20 contributors are unions whereas 90 percent of Clinton’s top 20 contributors are large corporations and banks. As President, Sanders would connect more with citizens’ struggles, and if he can understand what the people are going through, he can make our country a better place to live in.
  • Clinton, too, was raised in a middle-class home, attended public schools, and worked her way to Yale Law School. After college she worked for the Children’s Defense Fund and ran clinics representing lower classes. Clinton is the daughter of a small business owner. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She connects with “citizens’ struggles” just as well as Sanders. However, which class our president was born into or the relatability of their character are trivial factors when weighing qualities of a good candidate. America needs a leader, not a “nice guy.”
  • As previously stated, Clinton understands “citizens’ struggles” as well as anyone and has never ceased fighting to ease them. Even before she began her career in politics, Clinton committed to public service, especially for children and families, through her work with the Children’s Defence Fund and co-founding one of the first child advocacy groups in Arkansas, to name a few. These efforts show that her tenacity for equality powers her “opinions, ideals, and character” to be those of a fighter. Any media coverage stating she is inconsistent does not observe all the facts, for as she stated in the Democratic debate, “I have been very consistent. Over the course of my entire life, I have always fought for the same values and principles.” The sole reason Clinton’s opinions on issues have ever changed is because the issues themselves have changed, not because she is erratic in decision making.
  • Regardless of Sanders being a consistent fighter or not, he is unelectable. Sanders’s viewpoints are already too left-wing for some Democrats, let alone Republicans. Once we reach the general election, Sander won’t stand a chance, for his democratic socialist views fundamentally disagree with Republicans’. Even the The New York Times acknowledges his unelectability, saying in May, “Mr. Sanders’s policy prescriptions — including far higher taxes on the wealthy and deep military spending cuts — may eventually persuade Democrats that he is unelectable in a general election.” To ensure a Democrat in the White House is to support Clinton.
  • Avoiding political quagmires. Bernie Sanders is the only major candidate in either party willing to put veterans before distress over Syria and ISIS. Sanders says, “I will do everything that I can to make sure that the United States does not get involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country.” America does not need another hawkish President such as Hillary Clinton. America needs a President who will support the people whenever possible, and only go to war as a last resort, if it is absolutely necessary.
  • Clinton also cares for the wellbeing of our veterans. In June she said, “I believe strongly that taking care of our veterans is part of our solemn duty as Americans.” Already, she has expanded veterans’ access to military health insurance and to spousal benefits, and personally raised money to build a veteran rehabilitation center. As President, she plans to build a “world class” Department of Veteran Affairs, increase spending for supportive veteran housing, and expand access to mental health services. A President who supports our veterans and does not easily support dangerous war efforts is hardly hawkish.
  • Clinton may support veterans, but she has promoted various war efforts like keeping residual troops in Iraq, sending more troops to Afghanistan, intervening in Libya’s civil war, and intervening in Syria’s civil war. In 2008, Clinton claimed that if she were president, the United States could “totally obliterate” Iran. Sanders, on the other hand, will attempt to avoid “obliterating” nations. Sanders intends to avoid transforming countless young citizens into war veterans. These young people return from wars with innumerable mental and physical injuries; their lives are changed forever and generally not for the better. Sanders believes that our country should only go to war as a last resort, and he will always search for a diplomatic solution first. Sanders is still prepared to take our country to war if absolutely necessary.
  • Clinton’s “totally obliterate” quote is taken completely out of context. Clinton was speaking about the United States’ potential course of action in the event of Iran launching a nuclear attack on Israel, not that “if she were President” she would arbitrarily eradicate a nation. She does not advocate for war and it is offensive to claim so. Her promotion of war efforts in the past involved a weighing of multiple factors, (i.e., when she supported American intervention in the Syrian war. Even now she believes our not doing so led to the rise of the Islamic State.).
  • The fact that Clinton, a Presidential candidate, would even mention obliterating another nation is disturbing. No matter what the Iranian government does, there are still innocent people living in Iran, and “totally obliterating” their nation would destroy countless innocent lives.
  • Clinton undoubtedly agrees war interventions should be avoided, but they will inevitably arise. She stated in the 2008 Democratic debate that “we need a President who will be sensitive to the implications of the use of force and understand that force should be a last resort, not a first resort.” Hillary Clinton is that President. She was our Secretary of State, heading our nation’s foreign policy issues. She more than anyone understands how to approach international relations and conflicts, and that war by definition is a last resort. She strives to keep America safe by maintaining her “no boots on the ground” philosophy and is the President to do so.
  • Clinton is not the only democratic Presidential candidate who has been called “hawkish” and supported keeping troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sanders, too, has his own list of various war efforts he promoted. His backing the 1999 Kosovo War was so aggressive in policy, that it drove Jeremy Brecher, his key advisor, to resign. In his resignation letter, Brecher wrote, “Is there a moral limit to the military violence you are willing to participate in or support?” Outraged, antiwar activists occupied his office in protest, and Sanders’s response was to have them arrested. Additionally, Sanders’s supporting military aid to Israel provoked War Resisters League leader David McReynolds to write to him saying, “Because of your vote of support for the Israeli actions, I would hope any friends and contacts of mine would not send you funds, nor give you their votes.” These negative responses to Sanders’s opinions on political quagmires hardly lead to the conclusion that he “avoids” them.