Campaign 2000 is winding down as Vice President Al Gore (D) and Texas Governor George W. Bush (R) make last-ditch efforts to appeal to the undecided voters that will likely determine the outcome of the election.
Even as third-party candidates like Ralph Nader (Green) attract young people to their campaigns, the contest over who will win is among the Republican and Democratic candidates.
The candidates hope to drum up support from a crop of younger voters. This includes Temple University students that want their voices to be heard.
A number of students on campus expressed their concerns on the policies of both Gore and Bush concerning Affirmative Action, tax cuts, military spending, capital punishment,
gun control and health care.
The two issues that Temple students seem to be most concerned with are Education and Abortion.
“The education system needs improvement. If you compare the United States to Japan, we’re way behind,” Will Russel said.
“I come from a middle class, suburban town, and our school had great facilities,” Jaime Hagadorn said. “I think students in inner-city school districts are losing out as far as funding goes.”
Tim Mulhern, a Music Education major said, “I have to make some important career plans, so the position of the candidates regarding education will ultimately affect my decision.”
So where do the candidates stand? Gore’s plans to spend $170 billion over 10 years for children in public schools. He wants testing of students for accountability, hiring 100,000 new teachers in order to reduce class sizes in lower grades, and wiring classrooms to the Internet and training students and teachers to use that technology.
Bush stands in favor of school vouchers so that parents can send their children to private schools instead of public school. He also would require individual states to set education standards and wants to provide additional college financial aid to high school students who take advanced courses in math and science.
In addition to education, abortion was the issue many of the students on campus felt was crucial in deciding who will get their vote.
Considering that three Supreme Court Justices are up for retirement, whoever is elected has the responsibility to appoint the new judges. Conservative Supreme Court justices, appointed by Bush, could overturn Roe V. Wade, essentially taking away abortion rights. This was a high concern for many students.
“I don’t agree with Bush’s abortion policies,” Latifa David said, “This is my body and I don’t feel that the government should have the right to make decisions for me concerning it.”
Bush is against abortion rights, except in emergency cases where the mother’s life is in danger or the woman was raped. But Bush has said he would not use the abortion stance as a requirement in choosing Supreme Court nominees if he is elected president.
” I’m pro-life, and I disagree with partial birth abortions, and fetal testing,” Jaime Gamble said. “However, I think others should have a right to choose if they want.”
Al Gore supports an expansion of Medicaid abortions, which are currently provided in instances of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life. He says he would not impose a litmus test on Supreme Court nominees, but insists his choices for the Supreme Court would likely vote with a woman’s right to choose.