The Scary Clown: A Fearful Archetype

The Scary Clown: A Fearful Archetype

For generations, people have feared clowns - and many have used that to their advantage.
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A new adaptation of the Stephen King novel It has been released, and with that, a whole new generation of kids can develop a fear of clowns and balloons. But it isn't just the 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry that sparked the common phobia of clowns – purposely scary or just normal circus ones. The concept of a creepy clown has been a staple of pop culture over decades, if not centuries. To talk about every instance and every single “evil clown” in media and culture would fill an entire book, but there are several major ones that have become icons in their own right, so we'll look at those – unless of course you happen to be afraid of clowns, but in that case, you probably didn't click on this article anyway.

Of course, no discussion on evil clowns would be complete without looking at the Clown Prince of Crime himself, the Joker. Created by Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson (though all credit went to Bob Kane, see a previous article for that story), the character was inspired by the film adaptation of The Man Who Laughs. Since his first appearances in the pre-WWII comics, the Joker's design and mannerisms have evolved to instil fear in a changing audience, though the Comics Code made him go from being a psychotic murderer to a comedic clown (of course, adding to the whole “Clown Prince” motif). Usually dressed in a purple and green suit, his face white and lips bright red, the Joker has become one of the most iconic villains in history – and when his appearance is changed to make him scary and intimidating to a new audience, oftetimes it is met with negative reactions (see Jared Leto in Suicide Squad). Even still, his brand of dark comedy-based crime and violence has in some ways influenced many of the portrayals of creepy clowns, many using evil twists on classic “clown acts”, a trait that was popularized by the Joker. It should also be noted that Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight created an image of fear in itself, further establishing the character as the most famous scary clown.

In reality, serial killer John Wayne Gacy had previously worked as a clown, thus giving him the nickname “the Killer Clown.” Active in the 1970s, Gacy's subsequent arrest and trial were given intense media coverage, not unlike Jeffrey Dahmer less than fifteen years later. This was uncommon at the time, with the Manson family still fresh in the minds of the public (causing a rise in interest of serial killers) and a general concern over saftey of children. When not killing, Gacy was an active member in his Chicago community, often dressing up as a clown named “Pogo” to entertain children at parties and local events. Well-known and in good regard, Gacy was the last person one would expect to be a serial killer. But of course, that's usually what happens. As many children were growing up around the news, it is very likely that aspects of the story and the idea that those funny guys down at the carnival could turn around and harm you, the makeup hiding their real selves. Gacy murdered 33 people, all males between the ages of 14 and possibly up to 32 (several bodies have yet to be identified) – and despite his years of service and entertaining, he was still severely ill. His nickname and story has become part of American history, a story still being researched and read into today.

And yes, we have to look back to the 2016 clown sightings. Because that's the kind of world we live in, where for a period of time, we had to be on the lookout for creepy clowns. Some theorized that the clowns were actually just a viral marketing scheme for Rob Zombie's 31, a film involving a gang of murderous clowns, or the then-upcoming It (which had just revealed a promotional image of Pennywise before the sightings started). However, spokesmen for both films denied these claims, and several people claimed to have been attacked or witnessed a person in a clown suit around their areas. Schools banned students from wearing clown costumes, police were brought in due to threats on schools and other public facilities, and McDonald's scaled back appearances of their mascot Ronald McDonald (right there, you know it's a real crisis). These slowly started falling in sightings, and following the threats of a “clown purge” in which these clowns would attack people on Halloween night, the clown problem was pretty much over. Of course, with the release of It, there has been a few, but it's assumed those are just people trying to jumpstart the epidemic again, to no avail. However, red balloons have been tied to sewer grates in reference to the movie, but unlike the clowns of 2016, this is obviously just a little prank to scare the kids who sneaked in to see the R-rated movie.

So why are so many afraid of clowns? Is it the pale faces, bright clothes, and the way-too-happy mannerisms? Maybe it's the fact that the person under all that makeup may not be all there, and like John Wayne Gacy, you never know what people are capable of. As I said earlier, I could go on and on about different scary clowns and what they highlight and how they bring on feelings of fear and dread, but frankly we don't have that kind of time. Perhaps the fear is just like the fear of heights or fear of large crowds. It's a common phobia that everybody who has it has a different reasoning. Some don't like people in makeup and costumes to begin with. Others were exposed to Tim Curry in the 1990 It a little too young and it scarred them for life. Thousands of hours of research and investigations have been completed by experts (no not exactly clown experts, but scientists), and they found that many children are afraid of clowns, with no real reason why. I'd argue that it is at least partially brought on by their often unhuman appearance – white faces, bright colors, etc. It is unusual and oftentimes a little jarring to see. But hey, that's just an idea. It's just something that humanity will deal with until the end of time – and it doesn't look like there will be any stopping of the evil clown characters in media until then.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros. Televison/ABC

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19 Books Reading Addicts Should Toss In Their Beach Bag Summer 2019

Once you pick up these books, you won't be able to put them back down.

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If you're like me, you love to read tanning by the pool or relaxing at the beach. Something about the summertime just sparks something inside of your brain and you crave a good book. To me, summer reading trumps the rest because no one is assigning you chapter 1-3 or making you read for an assignment. Summer reading is only about you, so you might as well read something you'll love!

Here are 19 books I recommend checking out:

1. "Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn

"Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming."

2. "Dark Places" by Gillian Flynn 

"Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She'll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby's search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer."

3. "In a Dark, Dark Wood" by Ruth Ware

"Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.
There was a dark, dark house
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare's hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room
But something goes wrong. Very wrong.
And in the dark, dark room....
Some things can't stay secret for ever."





4. "The Woman in Cabin 10" by Ruth Ware

"Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo's stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo's desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong."

5. "One of Us is Lying" by Karen M. McManus

"Pay close attention and you might solve this.

One Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them."









6. "Mistress of the Ritz" by Melanie Benjamin

"The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other. Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi "guests," spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish."

7. "Tomb of Ancients" by Madeleine Roux

"Fleeing the nightmares of Coldthistle House, Louisa and her friends have taken up in a posh new London residence. But religious zealots from the shepherd's army are flocking to the city in droves, and ominous warnings are being left on Louisa's very doorstep. With the evil influence of her father's spirit growing stronger, Louisa knows she'll have to pick a side in the coming war between the old gods, whether she'd like to or not. Louisa will do whatever it takes to save herself—even if it means returning to Coldthistle House. And when she strikes another devil's bargain with Mr. Morningside, she's forced to join his supernatural staff on a journey to a gateway between worlds, a place of legend: the Tomb of Ancients. But as always, Louisa knows there's a catch. . . In this epic finale to Madeleine Roux's gripping House of Furies series, eerie photographs and beautiful illustrations from artist Iris Compiet help bring to life a world where gods and monsters are at war—and no one will escape the battle unscathed."

8. "The Tattooist of Auschwitz" by Heather Morris

"In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions."





9. "You" by Caroline Kepnes

"When a beautiful aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she'll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a "chance" meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck's life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck's perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder."



10. "The Perfect Couple" by Elin Hilderbrand

"It's Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom's wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.

But it's going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom's famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect."

11. "Circe" by Madeline Miller

"In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love."



12. "The Rules of Magic" by Alice Hoffman

"For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people's thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy."





13. "The Other Woman" by Sandie Jones

"Emily thinks Adam's perfect; the man she thought she'd never meet. But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn't choose his mother Pammie. There's nothing a mother wouldn't do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever."

14. "Her Daughter's Mother" by Daniela Petrova

"Lana Stone has never considered herself a stalker--until the night she impulsively follows a familiar face through the streets of New York's Upper West Side. Her target? The "anonymous" egg donor she'd selected through an agency, the one who's making motherhood possible for her. Hungry to learn more about her, Lana plans only to watch her from a distance. But when circumstances bring them face-to-face, an unexpected friendship is born.

Katya, a student at Columbia, is the yin to Lana's yang, an impulsive free spirit who lives life at the edge. And for pragmatic Lana, she's a breath of fresh air and a welcome distraction from her painful breakup with her baby's father. Then, just as suddenly as Katya entered Lana's life, she disappears--and Lana might have been the last person to see her before she went missing. Determined to find out what became of the woman to whom she owes so much, Lana digs into Katya's past, even as the police grow suspicious of her motives. But she's unprepared for the secrets she unearths, and their power to change everything she thought she knew about those she loves best..."

15. "The Last Resort" by Marissa Stapley

"The Harmony Resort promises hope for struggling marriages. Run by celebrity power couple Drs. Miles and Grace Markell, the "last resort" offers a chance for partners to repair their relationships in a luxurious setting on the gorgeous Mayan Riviera.

Johanna and Ben have a marriage that looks perfect on the surface, but in reality, they don't know each other at all. Shell and Colin fight constantly: after all, Colin is a workaholic, and Shell always comes second to his job as an executive at a powerful mining company. But what has really torn them apart is too devastating to talk about. When both couples begin Harmony's intensive therapy program, it becomes clear that Harmony is not all it seems—and neither are Miles and Grace themselves. What are they hiding, and what price will these couples pay for finding out?

As a deadly tropical storm descends on the coast, trapping the hosts and the guests on the resort, secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested and not one single person—or their marriage—will remain unchanged by what follows."



16. "The Woman in the Window" by A.J. Finn

"Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.


Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.


What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems."

17. "An American Marriage" by Tayari Jones

"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. This novel is an exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America."

18. "The Sun Is Also a Star" by Nicola Yoon

"Natasha: I'm a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I'm definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won't be my story.

Daniel: I've always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents' high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?"



19. "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas

"Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed."

And many, MANY more!

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The 2020 Election: The Democratic Party Part 1

We all have the duty of becoming politically conscious in order to wisely act on the crucial decision that lies ahead of us in the very near future. In this unbiased, multi-part series you'll be able to get a brief look into both the 2020 Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

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The race for the 2020 presidential election is on the rise as 24 Democrats and 2 Republicans have been officially confirmed as potential candidates. Ranging from California to New York, we may recognize "big names" such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, however, it's important to get to know all the candidates in order to have a clear idea as to who you want to be leading the country for the next four years.

*Due to the high number of Democratic candidates, they will all be highlighted over the course of three articles throughout the coming weeks.

1. Joe Biden

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Serving as the Vice President alongside Barack Obama and former senator of Delaware, Joe Biden has already ran for president twice, making the 2020 election his third and what he considers, final time. Biden hopes to strengthen the middle class by raising the minimum wage to a more livable standard. He also hopes to restrict the purchase of guns through background checks as well as being in support of a ban on assault weapons.

2. Bernie Sanders

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Having served on both the House of Representatives and The Senate, Bernie Sanders has caught the attention of many Americans due to his push for universal healthcare with the idea that "All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they're sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital." As well as making public secondary-education schools tuition-free in a mission to help lower student debt. Sanders believes in the threat of climate change as his campaign includes the future of passing a Green New Deal to move from fossil fuels to sustainable energy as well as ban fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure. Bernie Sanders additionally believes in abolishing the death penalty, reforming the police system, and ending the discrimination of applicants based on criminal history

3. Beto O'Rourke

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Beto O'Rourke has represented Texas in the House of Representatives from 2013 - 2019. He has a noteworthy platform towards business which includes increasing federal funding towards the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that would aid in creating competitiveness with America's small- and medium-sized manufacturers against global markets. O'Rourke also believes in the idea of increasing voter numbers no matter what the political party may be as well as help ex-convicts regain their right to vote after serving their sentences. In doing so, he plans to create more outreach to the younger generations by ensuring pre-voter registration for all 16 and 17 year olds. Moreover, Beto pushes for a change in creating new term limits for the US House, Senate, and Supreme Court.

4. Kamala Harris

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Kamila is a lawyer and has served as the junior US senator and Attorney General of California. While she is new to the presidential election process, Harris aims to increase teacher pay with the "largest federal investment in teacher pay in U.S. history with a $13,500 raise." Moreover, using her specialization in legal matters regarding sexual assault, Kamila hopes to protect Planned Parenthood as well as women's reproductive rights. Harris states that as President, she will eliminate the wage gap between men and women as well as racial disparities involving maternal health care. Harris additionally hopes in protecting LGBTQ+ rights by not only passing an Equality Act to fight against discrimination in schools, work, and public, but appoint an Attorney General with the purpose of investigating and prosecuting hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals.


5. Elizabeth Warren

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Growing up in rural Oklahoma in a low-income home and eventually serving as a US senator for Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is described as a progressive candidate who's campaign is working towards "universal childcare, student loan debt relief, and down payments on a Green New Deal and Medicare for All." Warren hopes to build the middle class up and defend unionized jobs by allowing 40% of board members to be elected through employees. Moreover, Warren is in favor of strengthening the military as well has bringing troops home from overseas, as well as banning private prisons and decriminalizing marijuana. She additionally has stated to end Washington corruption by banning lobbying along with preventing Senators and Congressman from trading stocks whilst in office.

6. Cory Booker

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Attending Stanford and later graduating from Yale Law School, Cory Booker became the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey. Booker's main concern is to end gun violence, ban assault weapons, and bring his battle to the attention of the NRA to create "liberty for all." His 14-part plan includes creating a more extensive process to obtain a gun, one of which would including an FBI-issued background check as well as requiring "micro-stamping" on all guns to ensure the ability to trace back the source of ammunition used in crimes. Moreover, Americans seeking a gun license would have to apply for a 5-year license after which would require renewal. Booker has also proposed the idea of providing newborns with savings accounts that would accumulate until they reached 18. He states that this plan would help settle the gap between the classes by offering lower-income households a nest-egg averaging at about $46,000. He also aims to make contraceptives employer-covered and repeal the punishment for an abortion outside of incest, rape, or for the woman's health.

7. Kirsten Gillibrand

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From New York, Kristin Gillibrand became a US Senator in 2009, becoming the youngest person in the Senate at the time. Her 2020 platform includes creating universal healthcare for all that would cover both mental and reproductive health in addition to it's regular standards. Her stance on Medicare For All also stands for reducing the price of prescription drugs as well as aiding in the process of overcoming addiction. Gillibrand also aims to introduce postal banking which would allow those without checking accounts have the opportunity to take out small loans through their local post office. Moreover, she believes in not only the legalization of both medical and recreation marijuana, but in erasing all past convictions from it. Kristin Gillibrand stands with strengthening the middle class by raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, creating paid medical and parental leave for all Americans, and fighting for the right to form unions and protect worker's rights.

8. Amy Klobuchar

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Amy Klobuchar is a lawyer and politician who currently serves as a US Senator from Minnesota. Klobuchar's campaign fights for providing every household in America with high-speed internet by the year 2020 along with aiding farmers by increasing their access to loan programs as well as raising farm bankruptcy debt levels. Moreover, she hopes to better the education system by increasing teacher pay and putting more money towards public schools. As well as increasing the federal Pell Grant and tuition-free one to two year community and technical colleges. Amy Klobucher believes in re-instated the DREAM Act to grant citizenship for foreigners who immigrated to America as minors. She supports immigration reform as well as ending the cruel separation and treatment of families on the lines of the border and creating a refined pathway to gain citizenship.

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