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By Shelby Hudson

Politics in discussion: two students discuss the presidential race

Seniors Zac Kornis and Sid Jambunathan debate presidential candidates and political policies

April 2, 2016

Due to increasing tensions between political parties of both candidates and their followers, the school has seen its fair share of political debates between students. In an attempt to hear a debate that doesn’t involve rude remarks between individuals, two students of differing political ideologies, seniors Sid Jambunathan and Zac Kornis, discussed the primaries, health care and the shrinking middle class. The following is a condensed transcript.

JAG editor-in-chief Shelby Hudson: In light of the primaries and divide within the GOP, please explain your political beliefs and what candidate you align yourself most with.

senior Sid Jambunathan: In terms of my political beliefs, I consider myself fairly liberal. Throughout the entirety of this presidential campaign, I have been going back and forth between Bernie and Hillary, but as of now I’d say I am a Hillary Clinton supporter. Is there anyone you are supporting now? I can’t imagine you supporting anyone in the GOP right now.

senior Zac Kornis: Well, I would like to begin by stating my political belief: I would call myself a conservative-leaning libertarian, meaning that fiscally we should be conservative, but socially, on some issues, I do tend to lean liberal. But, right now, I am not supporting a candidate; I don’t know who to support.

SJ: See, as a libertarian, you have an option, you can still support Hillary.

ZK: I hate her plans.

SJ: Like what?

ZK: Her economic plan is trash—

SJ: Like what, raising the minimum wage?

ZK: Yes, raising the minimum wage and lowering taxes for the poor.

SJ: She’s pro-middle class and pro-working class.

ZK: So is the Republican plan.

SJ: Ted Cruz’s flat tax rates? [laughs]

ZK: No, not the Ted Cruz flat tax rates, that won’t be passed.

SJ: The thing is, I can’t find a specific conservative tax plan that—

ZK: Because Donald Trump who just beats around the bush?

SJ: That’s the thing, that’s why the split in [the] GOP is happening. At least with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, until he dropped out, you knew where they stood, you knew specifically what their stances are. But Donald Trump, which I don’t understand why people support him, he’s all over the place.

ZK: People support Donald Trump because they’re mad.

SJ: Right, because he plays on fear.

ZK: And there are people in America that want that change — he will bring change.

SJ: No he’s not, he won’t get anything past Congress. That’s the reason why I was debating if I will support Bernie. I am in support of universal health care — I think, eventually and ideally, we will get there — but I believe in an incremental process, and I think that starts with building on Obamacare and not taking this huge step and throwing Obamacare out the window and starting immediately with universal health care. I don’t think he will get past Congress at all.

ZK: I ‘d agree.

SJ: But I support building [on] what Obama did, who laid the foundation for affordable health care.

ZK: But it’s making health care so much more expensive for people who can actually pay for it — [like] you for instance, you are paying a lot more than you’d have to without Obamacare.

SJ: Then are you supporting completely privatized—

ZK: Yes privatized—

SJ: Then that makes it harder for so many people.

SH: My parents have talked about wanting an open market in regards to health care. How do you feel about that, Zac?

ZK: That’s what I’m talking about.

SH: So, you’d want to open it across state lines?

ZK: Sure.

SJ: Doesn’t that still make it inaccessible for people who can’t afford it?

ZK: Yeah.

SJ: People are put into these situations and circumstances where, it’s not their fault—

ZK: There are disabled people that would need help provided by a government [agency], like old and disabled people, they would need help because they can’t work. But, for someone who is capable of working, they don’t need that help, and they shouldn’t need that help.

SJ: I still like that safety net.

ZK: That safety net is hurting the pockets of—

SJ: OK, but people can afford that, Zac.

ZK: Can they afford that though?

SJ: Yes.

ZK: It is still money — could that be why the middle class is moving down to the lower class?

SJ: Wealth gap?

ZK: Yes. Could one factor be the expense they are paying in health care? They’re using their money on health care, thus becoming more poor?

SJ: I would say a larger portion of it would be the current tax system, like how it’s so slanted for—

ZK: It’s graduated?

SJ: No, slanted for the top [one] percent.

ZK: It’s still graduated. The rich are paying more than the poor are; it’s like 40 percent income for the rich, and then it’s like, I don’t know, 20 percent [for lower income]?

SJ: Doesn’t the one percent still hold 90 percent of the nation’s wealth? You don’t think they can afford a higher percentage of a tax rate, which could close that wealth gap?

ZK: So you’re saying you want to take more money from them, their hard-earned money they worked for—

SJ: OK, but that’s all about greed.

ZK: Greed? It’s about [success] and failing.

SJ: OK, again, people are born into circumstances that aren’t their fault. That’s one of the small issues I have about capitalism—

ZK: Hillary Clinton supports capitalism.

SJ: I know she does, but she also supports closing the wealth gap and is pro-middle class and pro-working class, [so] she isn’t entirely pandering to the one percenters.

SH: Are there any last points you would like to make?

SJ: I would just say, hopefully by the end of this, the GOP is just destroyed.

ZK: [laughs]

SJ: If Donald Trump got the nomination, he would tear it apart.

ZK: That would suck.

SJ: Yeah, for you. Like, obviously you would side with the libertarians and the more moderates.

SH: Zac, if the party did split, would you side with Paul Ryan and the GOP or go libertarian?

ZK: Probably go libertarian.

SJ: I just wish Obama could have four more years.

ZK: No.

SJ: I would take Obama over Hillary, over Bernie, over the GOP right now.

ZK: OK.

SJ: OK?

ZK: When you say it like that, I would have him over Hillary or Bernie.

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