The class

Mike Lepetit

The class

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City Limits is working this semester with teacher Mike Lepetit’s journalism class at the Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy High School in the West Bronx. We asked the students to identify what they feel is the most important issue in the election next Tuesday. Here are their (almost completely unfiltered) views:
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It’s the economy
Chelsea Almonte

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are forced to evaluate America’s economy and formulate a solution to make our economy a thriving success. A major issue America is facing is the ability to maintain and stimulate the current economy.

The middle class, the social group between the upper and working classes, hasn’t thrived since 1990s and the U.S national debt has grown significantly throughout the years. During the years President George W. Bush was in office, there was a huge financial crisis that took place between 2001 and 2009. Bush permitted many tax cuts, expenditures for fighting wars like Iraq, and de-emphasized the role of the government monitoring financial institutions. During this period, banks and lending institutions took advantage of the housing demands that affected the economy and caused the stock and housing markets to crash. Additionally, the 9/11 attacks caused a huge strain on the American economy as it caused a tremendous amount of the budget to get directed to warfare. When Barack Obama came into office, the economy slowly began to stabilize and the economy had some positive gains; more jobs were created, and unemployment rates decreased.

Democrats and Republicans both have different belief systems for ways to approach the situation of our economy. Trump, a member of the Republican Party, believes that taxes on the wealthy should be cut in order to conjure changes in our economy. Their theory says that reducing business, trade, and investment costs are the best way to increase economic growth. “If we do what we have to do correctly, we can create the biggest economic boom in this country since the New Deal when our vast infrastructure was first put into place. It’s a no-brainer. It’s so obvious that even the Democrats can figure it out.” Donald says in his book Crippled America published in November 2015. His tactics have never worked throughout America’s history and it won’t work for America’s future.

However, Clinton, a member of the Democratic party, believes taxes should increase on the wealthy. She would like to raise short-term capital gain taxes for those earning $400,000 a year. She also wants to increase minimum wage in order to ensure that the middle class doesn’t continue to disappear. “Previous generations of Americans built the greatest economy and strongest middle class the world has ever known on the promise of a basic bargain: if you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead. And when you get ahead, America gets ahead. But over the past several decades, that bargain has eroded. Our job is to make it strong again.” she said on July 13, 2015, in a speech in New York City. The best way to create a better economy is to create more jobs with public spending and no tax cuts.

Many citizens who don’t believe economics is an important issue that the presidential candidates face would say immigration policies is the dominant issue. The candidates have taken opposite paths on their search for immigration reforms. Many believe immigrants have been known to take away jobs from American citizens, and they are not wrong. Immigrants take on many jobs in America but that is no reason to keep them out, in some ways immigrants have helped influence America’s global economy.

Trump talks about putting up a wall to keep immigrants out; he has used racial slurs against these people, and has considered deporting them. He also wants to make it difficult for immigrants to come to America. “Let’s not normalize what Trump is proposing. It’s so extreme, it’s outrageous and terrifying and so un-American. We are a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, and comprehensive immigration reform would create a modernized system that would make sure we are both of those things.” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, which supports immigrant rights and comprehensive immigration reform.

Clinton, on the other hand, has presented herself as an advocate for comprehensive immigration legislation, emphasizing a commitment to keeping immigrant families together. In a speech given on May 5, 2015 on her views on immigration and immigration laws she said, “If we claim we are for family, then we have to pull together and resolve the outstanding issues around our broken immigration system. The American people support comprehensive immigration reform not just because it’s the right thing to do—and it is—but because they know it strengthens families, strengthens our economy, and strengthens our country.”

There are dramatic differences between the Republican and Democratic candidates. Trump believes in radical advancements and changes that will “make America great again,” while Hillary appeals to American citizens by making a more moderate argument to augment America socially, politically and economically. Our economy depends greatly on who our president is; in order to have a thriving economy we must have a responsible president who is able to ensure that our economy will be stable.

A tainted pioneer
Amy Angeles

After the election we might have a female president for the first time. It is very important and a huge accomplishment for our country that a female has such a high probability of winning the election. Clinton is running against Trump, one of the most powerful people in the world, but she’s not the best candidate because she has been branded a liar. It’s great that a woman has come this far, but it isn’t great that that woman is her.

Clinton ran in the 2008 election but didn’t make it to be the Democratic candidate, Obama ended up winning that election. It is now eight years later and Clinton has decided to try again, running against Trump. The United States is known for its freedom and equality, finally having our first female president would be the perfect way to show that. Hilary has some history of lying, though, and that makes everyone a little nervous. It’s great that a woman might win, but It should be another woman not her.

A lot of people might say Clinton is the perfect female candidate, she was a senator and her husband was the 41st president. She has a lot of experience and knows the ropes and would have great help. I don’t believe this to be true, because of her experience with already being part of the government she knows how to fool people and make herself very likable especially when running against someone like Trump.

There’s one thing that makes Clinton likable and that’s her opponent Trump, he’s known for being extremely radical. He’s been called a racist and sexist, he makes comments that are inappropriate and most people are so against him they are settling for Clinton. I believe having another candidate win, even if he were a man, would be a way better option for the United States. We have been left with a mediocre candidate and a candidate that is so radical that most people will have to settle for Clinton.

A victory for progressivism
Alana Brown

Being that it is the year 2016, the United States is preparing for its upcoming election. For the past eight years, the president was Barack Obama. November is now fast approaching and there are two completely different candidates running to be the next president of the country. The two candidates running are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. If Hillary Clinton were to be the new president, she would be the first female president of the United States. Many people in the United States are not fans of her, however, they would rather that she run the country than Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton potentially being elected as the next president is important as well as exciting for me to witness. There are critical reasons why this is important to me.

One important reason why Hillary Clinton potentially being the next president of the United States is because it shows our progress in gender equality within this country. The United States of America has never had a female president before. Many other leading nations have already had women leading their country: Margaret Thatcher of Britain and Golda Meir of Israel. Based on important principles that the US stands for, one would think that we would’ve had many women leaders already. Hillary Clinton would serve as a symbol that women are just as impactful and important as men are and can affect the future of our nation. It would serve to show that women aren’t less powerful or soft as leaders. In the article “Why Hillary Clinton Being the ‘First Woman’ President Matters” in Time, it says, “people subconsciously associate females with less power and impact.” With Hillary being the next president of the united states, she can help to diminish this negative assumption often associated with women, especially those in power.

A second reason why Hillary Clinton being the next president of the United States is important is that it would represent how progressive America is. Clinton being elected as president would show that for the second election in a row, history has been made. Previously, Obama being elected made history as he was the first African American president. With Clinton being elected, she would be the first woman as president. This positive trend and changes within our country’s political changes can serve as inspirations for youth and potential leaders alike. It would change opinions of those who are conservative and closed minded, it would show that anyone who is qualified can become a leader.

However, there are some people in this country who don’t feel that Clinton being president is important or beneficial. Many Americans feel like they cannot trust Clinton because of the numerous e-mails that were sent from a private account and then leaked. There are also some citizens that worry that Hillary is unfit to be the president because she isn’t strong enough and can’t handle the job as she’s “weak.”

This topic is very important; it can have many important benefits for our country as well as upset those who’d rather see Trump or another possible candidate in office. However, having Clinton as president would ultimately boost the appearance and reputation of our nation; she’s also the most capable of the two candidates to run the nation as well as inspire future leaders and pave the way for new moments of history to be made.

A vote against outsourcing
Tristan Cruz

Throughout this presidential election the candidates have had to discuss many issues that they will have to face if they get elected as president. Many voters are worried that the two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are overly concerned about the wrong issues. But what really is the main issue that America faces? And how will our future president deal with it? The most important problem that America faces at this point in time is bringing jobs back to better our economy.

Within the past 15 or so years there has been a huge jump in overseas outsourcing. “The big brand-name companies that employ a fifth of all American workers… Cut their workforces in the U.S. By 2.9 million during the 2000’s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million,” according to It is extremely important that we bring these jobs back to America considering the fact that a little over 35% of the American population is on welfare.

It seems as if both candidates have their own views on overseas outsourcing, but it is quite concerning that Clinton has changed her views on the topic time and time again. In 2012 Senator Clinton told an audience she believes when it comes outsourcing American jobs, there have been aspects that “benefited” America. But in an interview in 2016 she denies that she has ever said that even though the speech was caught on video and that outsourcing American jobs is horrible.

On the other hand Trump disagrees with American jobs being outsourced. Yes, Trump owns a clothing brand that features some garments that are produced overseas but he isn’t directly responsible for this. Trump’s clothing company happens to have many investors who like to save money, and because they hold 50% of this company they decided to unfortunately outsource these jobs.

We need a president that will do his/her best to bring these jobs back to America. America needs its economy to thrive like it never has before. This is our time to step in and use the opportunity we have to change our lives and the next generations of Americans’ lives.

Trickle-down: Trial and error
Henry Mandel

This year’s presidential election has been a long, unique, intense, and for many, very stressful experience. We are in-between two candidates, Republican nominee Donald J Trump, the chairman and president of The Trump Organization which has built office towers, hotels, casinos, golf courses and many other branded facilities and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton who has been in public service for 30 years, as the First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States when her husband Bill Clinton served as president, and the United States Secretary of State. Both nominees differ heavily on many issues. From the economy, stimulating job growth, the environment, energy sources, war and terrorism to police brutality, education, taxes, gun rights, and many other important issues, there’s a lot at stake. Of all these issues though, one stands out as heavily important amongst the rest and that would be the gap between the wealthy and the poor in this country.

Throughout the history of the U.S. there have been the very few “top” members of society, the high class, the wealthiest, the elite. The majority of citizens, however, are of the middle and lower class. With the growth of the middle class over the decades, there is a growing problem, they continue to face economic hardships, while those at the top keep getting richer. Hillary Clinton has proposed to raise taxes on those at the top so that their money can go towards benefiting all sorts of services and would help stimulate our economy. Donald Trump has proposed heavy tax cuts on the wealthier class in the vein of trickle down economic theory.

Trickle down economic theory is the economic belief that by cutting taxes to the rich and by the government providing incentives, the rich will invest in the middle and lower classes and in doing so will increase economic growth as well as job opportunities. The problem is that this doesn’t work and it’s been proven throughout U.S. history. In the 1920s, America was prospering like never before. We saw all kinds of jobs and work being done throughout our country. Businesses were thriving and the economy was booming. With presidents Warren G Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover, the country experienced this economic boom. These presidents all provided tax cuts to the wealthy and strongly opposed large government intervention regarding economic affairs. While this prosperity lasted throughout the decade, it came to a screeching halt by 1929 when the Great Depression occurred. Millions of Americans were out of work and many businesses failed. Only when Franklin D Roosevelt came to be president in 1934 did things start changing with big government work programs and government run banks and even then, it still was a slow process to undo all the damage done.

Now some would argue that trickle down economics do work and would point to the Reagan administration as proof, where once again the wealthiest Americans saw large tax cuts and minimal government intervention, as well as the budget cuts to many government programs such as welfare, food stamps, and social security. Those that would argue for trickle down economics would also argue against such programs like welfare or food stamps claiming that these programs do not stimulate growth, end up making people dependent on the government for a living, and only end up doing damage. While there is an understanding to having such heavy presence of government in our lives, these programs are not harmful, they help those who really need it and provide a support system that would be hard to find elsewhere. Yes there are those that abuse the system, but they are hardly a majority, while the rest work hard and make up a large presence in the American work force.If anything, these programs should be receiving more, while our military budget (the largest in the world) would not be hurt to see some cuts.

All the issues in this current political climate are all worth discussing, but if we don’t start looking to serve the people of America, the ones who go to work everyday and put their lives into helping this country run, all while the minority wealthy class reap the benefits, then we will only create greater economic disparity within our country.

Abortion Matters
Jamie Schiller

Out of all the issues facing the presidential candidates, one of the most important is abortion, the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. Donald Trump is Pro-Life, while Hillary Clinton is for abortion. There were 699,202 abortions reported in 2012. However, the numbers of abortions have fluctuated throughout the years.

Clinton believes “politicians have no business interfering with womens personal health decisions,” according to Newsday. Meanwhile, Trump believes “the primary responsibility of the federal government is to protect the rights of it’s citizens. Life is the most fundamental right,” according to CBS News.

Trump is Pro-Life, believing that it is immoral to have an abortion, as it is killing a “citizen.” He states, according to Vanity Fair, that one of his reasons for his decision is that a friend of his contemplated aborting their child but didn’t and that “that child is a total superstar. It is a great, great child.” Although he makes a valid point about the government protecting it’s citizens’ rights, the ‘citizen’ in the situation is a fetus, and hasn’t not been born into the world, making it not a citizen. Not only that, but his friend made a choice in whether or not they were going to terminate that pregnancy, therefore she used to right to choose.

If someone is given the right to make abortion illegal it should not be a privileged man. However, it’s not to say that if Hillary felt that abortion should be illegal she had the right to make the law. Nonetheless, Hillary stands for Planned Parenthood and women’s access to safe and legal abortion, so people’s choices wouldn’t be punished if she’s elected.

Roughly 70 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal, according to the website Although this is an astounding amount of support, abortion should be legal regardless of a poll of people and their opinions. It’s up to the woman herself whether or not she keeps a baby inside her body or not.

There are several reasons why women get abortions, including rape, being a young parent, or the sheer fact that they aren’t ready for the responsibility of a child. As a president of a free country, women should have a right to say whether or not they terminate their pregnancy.

Abortions are normally done up to the 24th week of pregnancy, because at this stage they won’t be able to survive outside the mother’s body (this according to Due to this, Trump’s argument of taking away a life isn’t valid. The fetus being aborted is not old enough to survive which doesn’t make it “taking a life.”

With Hillary’s view on abortion, along with other issues she tends to adjust, women will get a much larger and much needed representation, giving them the freedom and choice to either keep their baby or abort it.

Milestone doesn’t move her
Amable Aristy​

Being able to choose who gets to run your country for the next four years is something that one should take advantage of and not take for granted because it is important to show your input. The election of 2008 was of big importance because for the first time, an African American man was chosen. This time, the selection could possibly be even bigger because there is a chance that a female could, in fact, run the country for the first time in history. I personally believe that it is not nor should it be a big deal to have a female president.

It is though, a big deal, for all the wrong reason to possibly have Hillary Clinton as the chief.

Many people are favoring her over Donald Trump. Some are just favoring her because of her sex even though she has been lying to the world just as much as Trump. Had it been another female that was actually honest and truly cared for the country, maybe I would be excited for what would come in the future. That is not the case though, so if I had the chance, I would not hesitate to choose an outside candidate.

Hillary is an individual that has gotten her way while doing it all in the worst ways. She is a total hypocrite and does not truly care about any of the issues she claims to care about. Selfish and fake are the correct words to use as a description for her. She has made some awful comments about certain races in the past and then acts as if she has changed her point of view. Her being sick and not being 100% to run the country is one thing that I don’t want. A person, a woman specifically, that is in the political field told me that she believed the country was better off with another candidate even though it would be history to have a female president after all the scrutiny and harm women used to go through back in the day.

Now, her becoming president might actually be important, not because she is a female but because she has better qualities and more experience in the political field than Donald Trump, the business man. She has grown into all of this ever since her husband was the president more than a decade ago. Trump has zero experience with politics. Also, while she may not be liked all that much, especially by me, she could potentially become a better person and even bigger, one of the best presidents the country has ever seen. That would make all the fighting women did for equality in the past all worth it. Women would feel like they have finally made it.