As we enter 2016, and get geared up for political campaigns and primary voting, I've decided to put together a piece on the most currently popular candidates for presidency, specifically regarding their stances on vaccines.
Sure, it's a topic not being brought up much in the debates, or in campaign ads.
Admittedly, it's probably not the most important topic out there at the moment; unless of course you're one of the rapidly growing minority of those who question vaccine safety, efficacy, and policy. In that case, you're well aware of just how important this topic is, and how we are literally fighting tooth and nail and to retain our rights as parents to be able to choose whether or not to vaccinate our children.
If you're not familiar with this topic, you can review some of my other blogs for my opinions/research on it, or you can do your own research, but I won't get into it that much here. I will only say that I believe that we are witnessing history in regards to erosion of freedom, and it's approaching a point where we won't be able to deny the entry of toxic chemicals, carcinogens, and aborted fetal cells into our own bodies, all in the name of medical science. Despite mountains of evidence to prove that vaccines pose a serious risk to our health, and that diseases were not eliminated solely because of them, the U.S government, partnering with the giant drug companies that make them, and some of the more prestigious medical heads in the country, is leading a movement to eliminate personal choice, and to make vaccines mandatory. It has already happened in California, who joined Mississippi and West Virginia this year to be the first three states to eliminate religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions. If you choose to not vaccinate your children in CA, they now cannot attend school or daycare; you must homeschool. The CA bill SB-277's success has prompted several other states to introduce similar bills that would strip parents of their rights to choose what is injected into their children. This is only the beginning, and it's safe to say that President Obama's support of these bills and his firm support of vaccine mandates have given the green light to states whose legislation is a majority of vaccine mandate advocates.
For this reason, I believe this next election is critical for the vaccine topic. It is certainly critical for hundreds of thousands of parents with already vaccine-injured children. In reality, it is much more critical than most people fathom; they just don't know it yet. One thing I've learned since researching this topic in depth is that most "anti-vaxxers" didn't start out anti-vaxxers. They vaccinated their children according to their doctor's advice, compliant with the CDC schedule. At some point, it became obvious to them that their child had been damaged; in many cases, for life. One of the reasons that the "anti-vax movement" is gaining so much steam is because more and more children are being harmed, coinciding with more and more vaccines being added to the schedule. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this trend will continue if people are actually forced to vaccinate on a fast growing schedule.
This topic is critical, and whoever our next president is, no matter their current views on vaccines, they will soon find out that they've got a difficult fight on their hands. Some of them already know this. Parents trying to protect their kids are fierce, like wolverines fighting off bears. Personally, I'm more than willing to take a bullet for my own kids if it meant saving their lives. Believe me, we have much more power on this issue than it feels like sometimes. We just need to channel our energy and focus on important aspects of this topic.
I will offer a disclaimer before diving into the list. I'll keep my political affiliation subdued, and will be as objective as I possibly can in reviewing these candidates. My cynical nature may or may not be on display at times, but I will try my hardest to be unbiased, I promise. ;)
This top 10 list is based on current projections and straw polls; I will update this article if anything changes going forward.
I am neither republican nor democrat; I consider myself independent. I am honestly not a fan of our current political system, but I realize that we the people still do have a certain degree of power, and with that power comes the opportunity to cast your vote for who you want in office. We cannot and will not change anything by not voting, so I don't agree with people who complain, and then don't vote. Voting is crucial, especially if you support someone in particular. I only support one person in this whole list, and I may give myself away in the end… we'll see.
I will not get into other political views; we are here to talk vaccines. Please keep the comments classy. ;)
1. Jeb Bush, Republican
The brother of former president George W Bush, and son of former president George Herbert Walker Bush, Jeb is no stranger to the political limelight. As the governor of Florida from 1999-2007, he is familiar with how to present people with what he thinks they want to hear. Unfortunately for him, it seems not many people want another Bush in the White House, and it could be because of his way of addressing questions, such as the following: "What is your opinion on vaccines?"
His body language and demeanor in the following clip, in which he quickly answers the question and shuts down further discussion, doesn't bode well for him among voters concerned about this issue, which is no doubt a larger body of civilians than he suspects. While it's unclear if he supports mandatory vaccination, it is clear that he wouldn't think long about it if presented with the decision in the future.
Stance: "Parents ought to make sure their children are vaccinated."
2. Ben Carson, Republican
Dr. Ben Carson is a former neurosurgeon turned political powerhouse. He has won many people over with his friendly and level-headed approach to politics, and his desire for a smaller government. Wanting to eliminate Obamacare didn't hurt his status either.
However, he alienated himself to millions of parents when he announced that he is in favor of mandatory vaccination, and elimination of religious and philosophical exemptions: http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/03/politics/measles-vaccines-ben-carson-immunization/index.html
Below is a clip from one of the GOP debates in which the vaccine topic was brought up, and Carson was asked for his opinion. To his credit, he did admit that there are too many vaccines on the current schedule, but with his outspoken nature on the topic previously, it's probably way too late to recover. Carson also vehemently denies any correlation between vaccines and autism, which is quite frankly mind blowing for people to still deny, with the thousands upon thousands of stories publicly available of healthy children regressing into the ASD within very short periods of time after vaccination. Parents have literally watched it happen. Not only that, but "Vaccine Court" has awarded millions of dollars to several parents of autistic children, because they were able to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that vaccines caused their child's autism. To deny the link so profusely as Carson has is just plain foolish, especially for someone with his career accolades.
Stance: "Vaccines are good for everyone."
3. Chris Christie, Republican
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, was thrown into the mainstream media firestorm following comments he made in the wake of last year's Disneyland measles outbreak. He originally stated that he supported parental choice on vaccines and that he did not support mandates.
However, once his back was to the wall, he did some serious backpedaling. While every single candidate on this list has stated that they do support vaccination and have had their own children vaccinated, there's always something warm and fuzzy I experience when I hear someone say it should be parental choice: that's exactly what it should be, and that's exactly what it still remains(unless you live in CA, MS, or WV, where you have to be vaccinated to attend public school).
Christie appears to be no different than many other politicians; someone who will not stand strong on an issue once he is raked over the mainstream coals. This should worry those of us who oppose vaccine mandates.
Stance: "I think parents should be an integral part of these mandates."
4. Hillary Clinton, Democrat
I think everyone in the country knows Hillary Clinton. She's been around for what seems like forever; FLOTUS, Senator, Secretary of State, Monsanto spokeswoman; the list goes on. It's quite clear that she is a mainstream darling, and has been projected by many to win this next election and become the first female president in American history.
But, how does she feel about vaccines? Her opinion was largely unknown, until the prolific tweeter rocked the vaccine trenches with this gem:
Hillary Clinton ✔@HillaryClintonThe science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let's protect all our kids. #GrandmothersKnowBest
10:45 PM - 2 Feb 2015
In the clip below, Hillary presents her legislation(2008) for autism families. She admits in the video that "there is an epidemic"(to which she received a round of applause) of ASD, but it seems that what is causing it is right under her nose and she can't(or won't) see it. She also mentions that she is working feverishly to spur more research into what causes autism, so it can be prevented, but this was in 2008; it's safe to say based on her recent tweet that she's given up; 7 years later, we still "don't" know the cause(s).
While it is encouraging that she seems to be very supportive of autism families(they certainly deserve support), many of those parents will refuse to support her because she refuses to acknowledge what caused it in the first place.
Stance: "Vaccines work. Let's protect all our kids."
5. Ted Cruz, Republican
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has mostly stayed out of the public spotlight on this topic, except for quickly addressing the issue while it was at its height last year during the Disneyland measles outbreak that affected 129 people and killed a big fat 0. While Rand Paul and Chris Christie were busy making "outrageous" statements in favor of parental choice, Cruz was also asked his opinion, and he was fairly straightforward. "Of course children should be vaccinated," he quipped in response to Christie's stance(at the time).
Cruz appears to support mandating vaccines, but clarified that it should be left to the states, not the federal government. While that is slightly encouraging, based on the failures of several other state bills subsequent to SB-277 of CA, it is still quite disturbing that a man of his supposed faith would refuse to investigate the issues with vaccines.
Stance: "Of course children should be vaccinated!"
6. Carly Fiorina, Republican
The former HP CEO splashed onto the presidential candidate scene in 2015, shocking many with strong performances in the first couple GOP debates, and resonating with many using undisputed common sense on several key issues. So it was no surprise to hear that she opposed mandatory vaccines. "When in doubt, it should always be the parents' choice," she told one Iowa crowd. She did receive some heat for her initial reaction to the vaccine controversy, but has more or less stood her ground, and her campaign hasn't seemed to take that much of a hit because of it. She did say that individual school districts should be allowed to refuse non-vaccinated children to attend if they wish. That's kind of scary for some of us, but to be expected on this issue. It is comforting that she appears to be solidly against mandates though.
We have a long way to go in raising awareness.
Stance: "When in doubt, it should always be the parents' choice."
7. Rand Paul, Libertarian (R)
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, an MD in another life, has stood firm in his stance on vaccines ever since the topic burst onto the national scene. The libertarian running as a republican has stated that he thinks vaccines are a great medical achievement(he even got a flu shot last year on camera), particularly the smallpox inoculation. However, he has also stressed that the choice should ALWAYS be up to parents. "I'm about freedom," he said in one GOP debate in which he was asked his opinion, "I think parents should have the right to refuse or at least spread them out." He has said that he spaced out his own children's vaccines, and that he has personally witnessed vaccine injuries, a far cry from most of the other candidates on this list who seem to think it's impossible to suffer a vaccine injury, much less that it's actually COMMON.
Paul is very outspoken and firm in his mission to restore freedom and the constitution to the USA, so it's hard to believe he means anything other than what he says in regards to the vaccine topic.
Many of us who question vaccine safety and boldly challenge the system don't have a problem with people supporting vaccination; it should be a choice. Our biggest issue is the fact that we are not getting true informed consent, and there is now a huge push to mandate vaccines for every man, woman, and child. It certainly seems that Senator Paul would be a safe bet in office to preserve our rights. Now, when will the mainstream media stop ignoring him?
Stance: "The state doesn't own the children; the parents own the children."
8. Marco Rubio, Republican
Florida Senator Marco Rubio has experienced a recent surge in popularity for his stance on other topics, but how does he feel about vaccination? He has only minimally weighed in, but when he did, he pissed off millions of attentive parents around the country with this quote: "Absolutely, all children in America should be vaccinated." Perhaps Senator Rubio has not actually taken the time to research this topic, because if he had, his answer probably would't have been so one-sided. Apparently, he doesn't realize that only about 50% of the population are even "high responders"(create antibodies and artificial immunity that lasts 5-25 years) to vaccines. Scientifically, this means that the other half either do not respond to vaccines(have no antibody reaction), or only gain a very temporary immunity of 1-4 years. Surely if he knew that, his opinion would be different. Surely, if he knew that there were hundreds of thousands(over 500K) of reports on VAERS(Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) of vaccine injury, or that this only accounted for an estimated 1-10% of actual vaccine injury cases, many of which are lifelong, or death, he would not have said that.
Again, it seems that Rubio has done little to no actual research on the topic, which is not going to bode well for him in the future.
Stance: "Absolutely, all children in America should be vaccinated."
9. Bernie Sanders, Independant (D)
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders made some waves with this quote last year amid the measles panic: "I think obviously vaccinations work. Vaccination has worked for many, many years. I am sensitive to the fact that there are some families who disagree but the difficulty is if I have a kid who is suffering from an illness who is subjected to a kid who walks into a room without vaccines that could kill that child and that’s wrong.”
It may be the most misguided statement out there in regards to these candidates on this topic, because he attempts to sound scientific and ends up failing miserably. Does this hypothetical kid without vaccines have imaginary viruses waiting to be launched upon whomever gets in the way? Of course not, but that's almost the way he makes it sound. Does he realize that in recent outbreaks of whooping cough, up to 80% of the kids who've contracted it are actually up to date on their vaccines? Is he aware that the flu shot is the biggest disaster in vaccine history, with record lows in efficacy percentage, while distributing the most frequent "side effects"?
While Senator Sanders is generally well liked for his tenacity and no nonsense approach to politicking, he no doubt made a few million enemies just from this statement alone. He also has been known for pushing vaccines in the past, so it appears this opinion of his has been around for quite awhile.
Can we teach an old dog new tricks?
Stance: "Unvaccinated kids are killers."
10. Donald Trump, Republican
Ah, Trump. The political firestorm. I told you I'd try to be objective here, and I really am trying. Trump's a hard one for me, because I actually agree with him on vaccines. He has really brought this topic to the front burner, even though the mainstream media has tried desperately to downplay it. I really do appreciate him for that. He has sparked and maintained discussion on this topic, which is desperately needed.
He has claimed repeatedly for years that he's witnessed vaccine injury; that vaccines do cause autism and that the CDC schedule is completely ridiculous. Check, check, and check.
He claims he is all for vaccines, but parents should be able to choose. Check. He says that the bundles should be done away with. Check. He has promised if he is commander-in-chief, vaccines will not be mandated. CHECK. He's not concerned at all with PC and is a natural born and proven leader. As someone very concerned with mandatory vaccines and the autism epidemic, he's got my vote…
But… then there's all that other Trump-stuff that I promised I wouldn't get into here….
That said, on all the things Trump has flip-flopped on, vaccines are not one of them.
Stance: "Vaccines cause autism and should not be mandatory."
My favorite number has always been 7, so it was really no surprise when my list's #7 came up, strictly from alphabetical order. While may not be the best candidate on this issue specifically(that is Trump hands down), I'd encourage everyone reading to not vote based solely on one issue.