Prepare for commercials. Prepare for stump speeches. Prepare for town halls, yard signs on every corner, and calls from volunteers in phone banks. It’s still 14 months before Election Day on Nov. 8. A number of us wish we could ignore it for just a little longer. However, it’s hard to escape news headlines, Facebook posts, and tweets that accompany every word the candidates say. Polls are taken and opinions given every day, and within a biblical worldview for stewardship of our great nation, being properly informed before voting is vital. This column seeks to be a resource for the Bob Jones University family as we all consider the candidates and their positions before coming up to Election Day.

A Personal Note

Weekly readers of this column can expect to effortlessly stay up to date with the campaign trail when they read segments including event coverage, candidate introductions, poll spotlights, and trends to watch. The ultimate goal of this column is your informed and confident voting in primaries and general elections. These columns reflect my personal viewpoint.

Primaries 101

Almost immediately following their declarations and announcements, candidates for the presidency travel rapidly between Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. They spend the majority of their time in these three states rallying support and funding, and organizing campaign staff among the locals. Iowa in particular gets special attention, because it is the first state to hold its caucus in February, followed closely by the other primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. On primary days, voters support their favorite candidates, and the winner of the caucus or primary, depending on the state, takes either most or all of the delegates for that state. At the party’s national convention in July, a nomination for president is given to the candidate who has collected the most delegates, or who has a simple majority—for  example, in the GOP, 1,191 of the 2,380 delegates available.

Candidate Introduction: Donald Trump

Donald Trump, a real estate billionaire with quasi-celebrity status, is the current front runner among GOP candidates. He is somewhat proud that he puts little stock in political correctness during speeches and debates, and in some ways, this has resonated with many  voters. He is enjoying a considerable term at the top of many polls, and by pursuing a rapid aggressive strategy, he has established himself early on as the maverick. He is a polarizing figure in many ways, such as his proposals for immigration reform that crack down on illegal border crossings and welfare abuse. Loved and hated by many, it is difficult to say if Trump will make it to the convention, but one thing is certain: if money is the issue, it’s not an issue for him. His first campaign finance report indicated that out of the $1.85 million that was raised, only five percent, $92,000, was from donors.

As the semester moves forward, the candidates will be introduced with priority given to the best polling performers at the time.