Presidential candidates widen the partisan divide

Columnist Christine Edwards.

Columnist Christine Edwards.

You’ve already heard the disturbing news that, as of last week, Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee.

I suppose we shouldn’t be all that shocked, since he rapidly swept state after state, creating a gap too large to overcome for fellow Republican candidates Kasich and Cruz. Of the 1,237 delegates needed, Trump has 1,012 bound delegates and 43 unbound, free agent delegates, who’ve already announced support for Trump.

His win in the Indiana primary last week was enough for candidates Cruz and Kasich to pull out of the race, officially suspending their campaigns.

This latest update may be welcome news to Trump supporters, but I find it absolutely terrifying. Trump recently visited the Bay Area for the California State Republican Convention, and after violence erupted outside from Trump protesters, it’s clear others share similar sentiment.

After all of the name-calling and bad-mouthing of fellow Republican candidates (which we’ve all witnessed in disgust over the past year), how will the party scramble to unite in hopes of defeating expected Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton? Rather than throw jabs at each other, the Republican Party must now try to reunite and fight to reach the White House in November.
Considering the defamatory comments Trump has made toward Clinton since day one, shifting all of his hatred toward her alone should come quite naturally. He claims she plays the “woman card” and if she “were a man, she wouldn’t get five percent of the vote.”

Trump isn’t (and God willing, will never be) a politician. He doesn’t know how to be politically correct. He doesn’t understand that running this divided country will take some finessing.
As he throws insults at Clinton, many of which are completely false, it seems she feels as though she has no choice but to respond to this nonsense. As a voter, I would like to see my potential future leader discussing the issues and what they will do to create positive change.

The way Clinton is feeding into Trump’s bullsh*t only steers me away from her as well. We need a level-headed leader, not a childish bully. And as the long, seemingly endless presidential campaign wears on, the lies and hatred will only continue to ramp up as we approach November. All of these back-and-forth insults leave a terrible taste in my mouth.

These are individuals who will, in the very near future, be leading this country during a still difficult time. The economy is still in recovery-mode; we are still at war with Iraq and must decide what to do about our continued military presence and the global fight against ISIS. Healthcare, as Clinton mentioned, is still a major concern for many Americans, especially for low-income or disadvantaged families, seniors and undocumented residents.

Gaining access to some of the most basic necessities remains a huge struggle at home, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. The only way to tackle these domestic challenges is by becoming a united force against these issues.

Thus far, the strategy politicians have used during this presidential campaign has been to differentiate themselves as much as possible from the other candidates. They try to find their niche when it comes to voters and their campaign tactics. Cruz was a stark conservative committed to fighting for and honoring the values of the Constitution. Clinton is a liberal dedicated to women’s rights, challenging Republican candidates who wish to make abortion illegal and defund all Planned Parenthood locations nationwide. Kasich was a religious conservative, echoing many of the same values as Cruz. And Trump?

He has used his arrogant personality to show voters that he will not “back down” on his issues and is the fighter the White House so desperately needs. What does Trump stand for though? Besides “building a wall” I have not heard a consistent stance on any political agenda from him.
But this pompous attitude has pushed the majority of voters away, and I have a feeling the result of all of this division will lead many Republican voters to avoid the polls all together this November.

As a Democrat myself, I can’t say Clinton has won me over either; she has done her fair share of squawking this campaign season as well.

I will say one thing — it’s clear how divided we stand as a country, and presidential candidates must make it more clear which specific issues they support and what changes they will make once in office. Attack the issues, not each other.