Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard the news. The presidential election is in full swing, even though it is almost a year away.

With almost weekly debates and an overwhelming number of candidates, this upcoming election could be tough to track. If you blink, you might miss it. Although the official presidential election isn’t until Nov. 8, 2016, the meat of the election is just around the corner.

Between the excessive drama and scandals, to the debates and primaries, this election is going to be a bloodbath from now until the polls finally open.

With so many candidates, 17 to be exact at this point, how are we going to be able to filter out our favorite candidates from those that make us cringe? Apart from the tremendous size of the field, the numbers for this election are staggering.

In 2012, an estimated total of $7 billion was spent over the course of the presidential election, Politico reported. Seven billion sounds like a big number, but it is nothing compared to the price some candidates are willing to spend to buy a spot in the Oval Office. Donald Trump himself stated he would willingly to give up $1 billion of his own money to win this election, and
that’s just one candidate.

However, our distractions come from more than just money and power. Recently, social media outlets have become the battlefield of choice between contenders. For instance, during the first Democratic debate on CNN, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee tweeted, “I trust
@BernieSanders with my tax dollars like I trust a North Korean chef with my labrador.” The power of social media in this election has made it far too easy for us to get lost in what makes a good candidate.

But what does make a good candidate? Who would make the best president? What do we want in the new leader of the Free World?

From what we’ve seen so far, I’d like to think that all the skeletons are out of the closets. However, that just might not be the case. New rumors arise almost daily, attempting to put some of these major campaigns in jeopardy. From the fact that Jeb Bush smoked weed in high school to the great Hillary Clinton email mystery, there seems to be a lot more to be found in the secret lives of some of America’s top candidates.

I’d prefer to stay out of it. Typically, when pulled into drama that’s not mine, I might just turn away with the popular Polish proverb: “Not my circus, not my monkey,” but this election is too important to disregard the former lives of our nation’s top leaders.

When looking for a good candidate, we often times look to their past to predict their future. I’m not opposed to this tactic, but that doesn’t mean I fully support it.

It appears to me that we get so lost in a candidate’s past that we forget to examine what they have in store for the future. Don’t get me wrong. A candidate’s past life is extremely important. However, we have been majorly sidetracked. As voters, we must determine what is more important, their past or their future.

Every candidate brings a lot to the table. Sure, every candidate shows up with some serious baggage, but he or she also provides incredible amounts of hope.

As a whole, we must look on the bright side of things. See the cup as half full. Make up your mind. When you look to find your perfect candidate, make sure you focus on you. Focus on what you want to see in our next president. Determine what you think is important. After all, this country is ours.

As cliché as it sounds, we are the future of this nation. Our generation will be the one that can, and will, make history. We have the power to change the world.

You can read into a candidate’s past as much as you would like, but do not forget to take into consideration the path that some candidates have mapped out for the future of our nation. The choice is yours.

By: Samuel Littauer

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