Choosing who would be the best president for the average college student is not as simple as you would think. There are many clear differences and your choice should be based on more than just one issue. Rodney Christy, Professor of Political Science, gives us his take on the presidential election:
“Individual values differ tremendously,” said Christy. “What people want from government or what they want government to refrain from doing differs tremendously.”
Although there are many decisions to consider, one pressing issue for college students is economic policy. Which economic policy will work better for this demographic, in other words, whose economic agenda will provide more funding for higher education and whose will create a better environment for long term job growth. The two candidate’s political stances couldn’t be further apart and while there are many differing opinions for multiple reasons, we must look at their political point of views to see through the rhetoric.
“I do think the candidates differ,” said Christy. “I’m taking Governor Romney by his word that he is very interested in reducing people’s dependence upon government…including college-aged kids, who depend on government to afford a college education.” More specifically, Christy adds that Romney is considering reducing the dependence of federal higher education funds such as Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and work study.
Romney’s plan for job growth again is quite different from Obama’s. Romney believes that reducing individual and business taxes is the best way to stimulate growth for a strong job market. Christy believes on the other hand that, “President Obama would like to continue, if he gets elected and has the support of Congress in his next term, the expansion of federal aid to higher education.”
Although it seems that Obama’s higher education plan would make more economic sense to the average college student, Christy explains that people don’t always make political decisions based on which party that would benefit them more but by whose values they have most in common with. Christy cites a book titled “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” which addresses the question of why people in Kansas are voting overwhelmingly Republican when Democratic Party policy would benefit them more. “There are all sorts of things that come into play there. There’s a perception, or has been a perception that the Republican Party is stronger on defense and people from Kansas strongly value defense. Also, there was a perception and probably rightly so, that the Republican party is less supportive of abortion than the Democratic party and that was an important issue to the Kansas people,” said Christy. “There’s a whole series of things that are important to people in Kansas and the Republicans have been able to better appeal to them that out weigh their economic self interest of being better served by Democrats.”
Ultimately, Christy believes that voters need to look at a whole range of issues and believes there is a clear difference between the two candidates. “Any student can go to Obama’s or Romney’s website and find out what they say about higher education policy if that’s what they want to vote on. There are a number of independent websites that try to accumulate and directly compare the candidate’s stances side by side on everything from foreign policy to higher education aid and I think everyone should look at that.” said Christy.
Answering who is a better presidential candidate for college students is a complex question to answer and goes beyond just any one stance, issue, or policy. Nevertheless, this is an important election with important issues and with two very different paths for our country; remember the choice is yours in November.