As students of voting age, many people at Long Beach State with the opportunity to vote will be taking ballots to vote centers on March 3. However, with so many candidate statements, debates and town halls it might be difficult to know who believes in what.
That’s why the Daily Forty-Niner has decided to do the heavy lifting for you. According to multiple polls, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden are currently the highest polling democrats in California, so here are their stances on several topics students may care about.
Jason Whitehead, associate professor of political science said the 18 to 24-year-old demographic historically has had the lowest voter turnout.
“I hear students all the time [say] that they want to … be part of the solution to the problems that are besetting the country … so I would say vote,” Whitehead said. “Your vote is the number one tool that you have to direct change in the direction that you want.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden views climate change as his top issue of concern if elected. He plans to immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement that was notably exited by the Trump Administration.
Biden wants to allocate $1.7 trillion toward climate change reformation and drastically reducing carbon emissions, with the goal of zero net emissions in the United States by 2050.
“His plan [for climate change] is building on existing government regulations and tax credits and incentives,” Whitehead said.
Historically, Biden has pushed towards lowering emissions. During his time with the Obama Administration, Biden played a vital role in the passing of legislation that reduced harmful automotive emissions.
On the global scale, Biden plans to “immediately get to work, leading a diplomatic initiative to get every nation to go beyond their initial commitment [to reduce climate change],” according to his campaign website.
Biden’s plans to make college more affordable centers on community college. The plan would offer two years of tuition-free community college to both part-time and full-time students.
Biden also intends to double the value of Pell Grants and to make them more accessible for Americans, allowing students to use the Pell Grant to cover living expenses. This would create more freedom for college students to choose how their financial aid money is being spent.
Although Biden’s plan would help community college students, the plan leaves out a mention of assistance for four-year university students, such as California State University students.
When it comes to healthcare, Biden is the most noteworthy contrarian candidate. He would continue and expand the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option.
Biden’s stance on immigration policy would include strong national borders, and reasserting what Biden describes as a nation of immigrants.
“Biden is much more moderate in his approach [of immigration],” Whitehead said. “[He] wants to secure the border, [but] doesn’t want thousands of miles of border wall like Trump.”
Bernie Sanders is the candidate with arguably the most unorthodox college affordability plan. If elected, Sanders’ administration would help cancel student loan debt and create tuition-free public colleges and trade schools.
Sanders plans to fund public higher education through a “moderate tax on Wall Street,” according to statements he made on a recent CNN appearance in Charleston, South Carolina.
“[Sanders] has probably the most far reaching plan to deal with college tuition,” Whitehead said. “Sanders’ plan is much more generous than most of the rest of the field [of other candidates] in terms of forgiving student debt.”
Sanders’ plan for a drastic revision of college tuition prices and the student loan repayment system was the focal point of his campaign platform in 2016 and still is in his 2020 campaign.
Sanders regularly polls most favorably among college-aged voters.
When it comes to healthcare reform, Sanders’ plan is to implement a Medicare for All program. This approach would do as the name implies: provide a health care plan for every person in the United States regardless of preexisting medical conditions.
Sanders’ healthcare reformation would be funded by a 4% tax on any family-based income greater than $29,000.
Naysayers of Sanders’ plans argue that his goals cannot be fully paid for by governmental funds or taxation. As a rebuttal, Sanders published the breakdown of his funding for each of his policy plans.
Sanders’ climate change reduction strategy, The Green New Deal, includes the end goals of transforming America’s energy system into a 100% renewable energy system. If elected, Sanders plans to strengthen DACA and develop more supportive policies for people seeking asylum. He also intends to break up ICE and dismantle deportation centers with inhumane conditions.
“Sanders, I think, really wants immigration to be part of his larger movement to build a grassroots coalition of working-class people,” Whitehead said.
Elizabeth Warren is holding a steady spot at second place in Democratic Primary support among college students.
On her website, Warren claims her Medicare For All plan would cost taxpayers just under $52 trillion over a 10-year period and would provide all Americans with government supplied healthcare benefits. Her plan would be funded by restructuring the tax rate on the wealthy, while claiming not to impose any new taxes for middle-class incomes.
Warren also plans to support DACA and expand the program to anyone entering the country under age 18.
She also plans to eliminate the need for jailing undocumented persons on the sole premise of their citizenship status.
To address student debt, Warren wants to forgive up to $50,000 of student debt for 42 million Americans.
She also plans on creating an annual tax of 2% on families with incomes greater than $50 million to provide a $500 billion spending package that would provide tuition for families earning less than $100,000 annually and fund HBCUs.
Warren also takes pride in cosponsoring the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Warren wants to address climate change with a budget of $3 trillion spent over a 10 year period to shift the U.S. to 100% clean energy in that timeframe.
Some of the details of that plan include zero carbon pollution from new commercial and residential buildings by 2028 and zero emissions of new cars, buses and both light and mid-duty trucks by 2030.
Michael Bloomberg is struggling with college students, garnering few supporters.
He has plans to address the education and student debt crisis and his $700 billion higher education plan is no different.
Rather than eliminate student debt, he plans to restructure current payment plans for new and existing borrowers that would cap monthly payments at 5% of the borrower’s disposable income; which is half the current rate. His targeted income bracket for qualifying families would only be up to $30,000 dollars annually.
Bloomberg’s plan on immigration differs slightly from his democratic opponents.
He has openly vowed to reverse some of Trump’s immigration policies such as the travel ban and funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and defend DACA, but wants to offer visas for people willing to emigrate and take jobs to stimulate the economy, according to CNN.
He also plans to create start-up visas for both entrepreneurs who create jobs, as well as international students who graduate with advanced degrees in key fields.
His plan on healthcare is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion over 10 years, which is much cheaper than any other candidate proposing healthcare. However his plan would not be as extensive as those proposed by senators Warren and Sanders.
Bloomberg’s plan would allow private insurers to remain intact, but also form a government-based option that would be funded primarily with customer premiums, according to the New York Post.
He claims the competition will drive private insurance rates down.
Bloomberg plans to cut carbon emissions and work towards making all new vehicles pollution free by 2035. He also wants to reduce diesel pollution from trucks and buses and has pledged to get the U.S. involved with the Paris Climate Agreement.