We need to educate ourselves before we vote

As the race for the 2016 Republican and Democratic nominations continue, students are starting to increase their knowledge about the platforms and stances of different candidates.

For many students on campus between the ages of 18 and 22, this will be the first time they will get to vote in the presidential election.

Therefore, this race is of particular importance to them.

The campaigns, debates and media coverage have all contributed to the exposure of the different thoughts, viewpoints and character traits of different candidates — although the front runners have received more attention in comparison to others.

As the polls and results from different caucuses are released, students have begun to have conversations about which candidates they align themselves with and want to vote for.

A popular trend among students at Wake Forest is to take the “I side with quiz” — a virtual multiple choice questionnaire where students click their stance on certain platforms before receiving a breakdown of which candidates align closest to their personal beliefs.

At the Old Gold & Black, each of us individually took this quiz and were surprised to find a diverse range of candidates that each of us “sided with” the most.

Some were shocked to find out which candidate they “sided with,” while others found it to be exactly who they expected.

We at the Old Gold & Black think that the “I side with quiz” is a great way to start exploring one’s individual beliefs and views on certain political issues.

However, we don’t think students should let this quiz decide which candidate they should ultimately support.

Students should delve deeper into the ideas and stances that candidates have taken, rather than letting a third-party quiz decide that for them.

Just because the results say that the student aligns with a certain candidate on 94 percent of the election issues doesn’t mean that the candidate is the most worthy of his or her vote.

Maybe one of the political topics in the remaining six percent is actually an issue the student feels more strongly about than the issues he or she aligned with.

Making an educated vote for a candidate requires the responsibility of learning about that candidate for oneself and not being influenced by other people.

There are many pertinent issues that many candidates within the same party and opposing parties agree and also disagree on.

So, it’s important for students to analyze these issues and align them with their own beliefs.

Beliefs should not be influenced by friends, parents, the media, or even a quiz. Students should take the time to make up their minds for themselves.