On Tuesday, Maryland held its primary for the 2016 presidential election. One of five states to hold primaries on the day, Maryland’s results were decisive, with clear victories by Republican front runner Donald Trump and Democrat front runner Hillary Clinton. Trump received the majority of the vote in the Republican primary, beating out Ohio Governor John Kasich and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Clinton received nearly two-thirds of the vote in the Democratic primary, defeating Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The results were similar in the other states, with Trump winning all five primaries and Clinton taking four.
A day before the primary, Governor Kasich held a town hall at Thomas Farm Community Center in Rockville, just under three miles from our school campus. Kasich spoke about his political experience and goals before fielding questions from audience members, touching on education reform, the relationship between law enforcement and citizens, border security and health care. The Ohio governor also talked of his experience working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and drew loud applause for his plan to double the budget of NIH.
Kasich made headlines beforehand by effectively teaming up with Cruz in an attempt to prevent the front runner, Trump, from winning the 1,237 votes needed for the Republican nomination. In accordance with the agreement, Kasich would stop campaign funding in Indiana and Cruz would do the same in New Mexico and Oregon, with the hope that the alliance would hurt Trump’s chances of dominating the states instead of splitting the anti-Trump votes. After Tuesday, Trump only needed 287 votes, or 46.4%, of the remaining votes to win first ballot.
For the majority of our seniors, Tuesday’s primary was their first chance to vote. In order to vote in the primary, voters must be 18 by next November, the date of the general election. With MCPS closing schools for the day, eligible students had the opportunity to vote on the candidate of their party identification. “We are the future of this country, and voting is one of the most effective ways to make sure we shape our government however we see fit,” senior Langston Thomas said on the importance of voting. “Our needs and beliefs and concerns need to be heard and represented, and if we don’t use our voices, we won’t accomplish anything.”
On April 22, Thomas organized a teen caucus after school, with students presenting about each presidential candidate. “I had two goals for the teen caucus,” Thomas said. “The first was to get teens excited about voting in the primary. The second was to give students information on all the candidates and allow them to ask questions, ultimately creating an informed teenage voter base.”
Presidential nominees will be announced at each party’s national convention. The Republican National Convention will be held from July 18 to 21 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Democratic National Convention is a couple days later, July 25 to 28, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The general election to decide our next president will be on Nov. 8.
Note: Governor Kasich and Senator Cruz dropped out of the 2016 Presidential Election earlier this month, after the Indiana primary.
Published in Wootton’s Common Sense Newspaper