Focus on the small issues in this presidential election

With the constant media coverage of this season’s presidential candidates, it’s almost impossible to forget that elections are rapidly approaching. In just a matter of weeks, the nation will elect a new president, and media outlets will most likely shift from reporting on the most recent scandalous comment or debate debacle to examining each candidate’s reactions to the vote. Reporters will begin to write about what a Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump presidency will look like and newscasters will converse about potential early decisions and what will happen when the president elect takes office. Meanwhile, the new president will begin taking the first steps in making a series of decisions that will affect this country’s trajectory for the foreseeable future. At the risk of sounding self absorbed, though, this is not just national issue; America’s presidency is a global issue. The president will make decisions that will have ripple effects worldwide for long after this president’s term expires, and it is our responsibility as American voters to critically examine each of the candidate’s platforms in order to make the most educated decision possible.

The candidates’ views on big issues such as immigration and abortion have been fairly well covered by media and in the debates, and as voters, it can be easy to base our votes solely on these hot-button topics. But the potential president’s responsibilities extend much further than just the issues at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and we need to remember to examine the candidates’ stances on smaller issues and award them appropriate weight in our decision-making processes.

Article II of the United States Constitution gives the president the power to appoint men and women to U.S. federal agencies. According to, “Fifteen executive departments — each led by an appointed member of the President’s Cabinet — carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government. They are joined in this by other executive agencies such as the CIA and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the heads of which are not part of the Cabinet, but who are under the full authority of the President.”

Though this may seem trivial, presidential appointments to large federal agencies such as the EPA have the power to affect real change in how things work both in the United States and around the world. For example, the head of the EPA, known as the administrator, has the power to shape how the EPA functions in America. The administrator has the power to decide if the EPA will continue to enforce increasingly strict regulations on issues such as emissions and the disposal of potentially hazardous products, which can decrease pollution but make it more difficult for certain businesses to thrive. The other option for the EPA is to relax restrictions, giving more freedom to businesses in both established and emerging industries.

The administrator has the power to affect environmental legislation and regulations nationwide, as well as environmental relations globally, the consequences from which could continue to be seen far into the future.

voters: We have the ability to choose a president who can affect positive change,
who can improve conditions both nationally and worldwide. But with this power,
we also have the responsibility to do our research. Pay attention to the smaller
issues, not just the hot-button topics featured heavily in articles,
on news broadcasts and late night commentaries. Be informed about the president’s
lesser-known duties and what he or she will have the power to effect post
election, because while the candidates’ stances on heavily debated issues such
as immigration and abortion are certainly important, how they plan to handle seemingly
insignificant issues can effect just as drastic a change.