Our Presidential Candidates: What you NEED to know
Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton is the democratic party nominee who also happens to be the first major female candidate in history. Her candidacy marks an era where gender no longer bars political ambition, where one can campaign on a message of inclusion and diversity. On policy, the Secretary has been unapologetically centrist on issues, an accusation to which she pleads “guilty.” Her personal center-left politics are moderate to say the least, as she is not extreme at all. Notwithstanding the occasional tug of a primary race, or a flip flop to address a new age, her positions are roughly the same: centrist policy that hardly anyone can agree or disagree with.
What you need to know
After the primary, Hillary Clinton took a very hard, and uncharacteristic, turn to leftist ideology in order to appease Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters. She favors more government intervention, or “investment” as she refers to it, in the economy. Entitlement growth, government subsidies, and public sector expansion are all to be expected under a Clinton administration. Clinton has also explicitly expressed a potent sense of fiscal responsibility. Being quoted for claiming to pay for everything she proposes, and “not adding a penny to the national debt,” one can also expect to see high tax spikes under her term. These taxes are meant to come from the wealthiest persons and corporations in the United States.
On foreign policy, Clinton has a very hawkish attitude. In Syria, she proposes a “no fly zone” over Aleppo that would prohibit any nation from flying into the area; an action that Generals in the United States military say would cause war with the Russian Federation.
Beyond policy, Clinton has an impressive array of personal qualifications, yielding experience that undoubtedly equals what is asked of the President of the United States. She has been a successful attorney, the First Lady of Arkansas, the First Lady of the United States, a New York Senator, the Secretary of State, and now a premiere presidential candidate. Her political experience is unparalleled, unrivaled, and beyond comparison to Trump. Her experience is so overwhelming that some consider it to be a fault.
On a more personal level, Clinton has a few problems. Firstly, both President Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders have said that Hillary Clinton has poor judgment. Clinton also lied about Benghazi, her state department emails, and even in the third presidential debate, she was caught in a lie over her desire for “open borders.”
She is also on the record for having “a public and private” political position on issues, suggesting that her real intentions are not as transparent as previously thought. She has repeatedly refused to release her transcripts from speeches made to big banking donors behind closed doors.
Additionally, Clinton has been accused of operating a “pay to play” system at the State Department during her tenure as Secretary of State. The accusation includes giving her donors special favors after a monetary exchange, or donation, to the Clinton Foundation. Her charity foundation took in millions of dollars from foreign governments- the same she dealt with in the State Department. Clinton represents the status quo. She is an establishment candidate who has been in politics for 40+ years. Her policies would largely represent an extension of the laws and processes that Obama has been pushing forward for the last 8 years.
Donald John Trump is a billionaire business mogul who is the Republican presidential nominee. Rather than pursuing politics, he has spent his life crafting a personal brand of opulence and success that is self evident from any of his real estate ventures. Donald Trump’s landmark candidacy is particularly surprising because of his ability to, well, win. As a total and complete political outsider, he beat a well-qualified group of 16 candidates in a primary that he was never, ever supposed to win. He is unapologetically brash and uncensored, preferring to speak his mind than use a politician’s filter.
Using plain and imprecise language, Trump has often landed himself in controversy, perhaps purposefully. Through a clever use of the media cycle, and a belief that bad publicity is better than none, Mr. Trump prefers the media to do his advertising for him through name recognition, as he is now known to be “the Loudest Man on the Planet”.
What you need to know
Donald Trump’s political background is murky to say the least. By “playing off both sides” Trump has built up a very convoluted political past. He has supported and critiqued both democratic and republican presidents, showing his unconventional political stances. Beyond his support for varying policies, Trump is very outspoken.
He does not care whether his comments are misunderstood, offensive, misleading, or purposefully unclear. Since Trump so clearly represents a populist surge in American politics, he has faced hurdles at every step of his campaign. No party establishment wants an outsider- someone who will completely break apart their status quo, and yet he managed to pull off a landslide victory.
Trump answers to an extraordinarily angry and distraught electorate, the kind of people who lost their jobs as they watched their communities fall apart. These people feel betrayed by the political class, by everyone who has had the power to help them out, so it’s not surprising that they are so willing to overlook Trump’s comments and faults.
Trump’s policies are not what one would expect from the typical Republican playbook. He is not for free trade as others, but would rather have “fair” trade. He wants a system that allows workers in America to pursue good jobs. Trump’s greatest appeal lies in his proposition to help fix the broken trade deals that America is currently engaged in.
Another position is his hardline stance on immigration. Just as the Republican party was about to concede the immigration debate, Trump exploded the conversation. He wants to fully overhaul the immigration process, as he says “there is none; they’re pouring over our border!” Building a wall, deportations, and strict adherence to immigration laws would be expected from a Trump administration.
Trump would also like to lessen the tax burden on American families, individuals, and companies. The Trump tax cuts would slash the federal budget, and in the short run blow up the yearly deficit. At the same time, however, Trump believes the plan to spur the economy into robust growth (of about 3-4% GDP as opposed to 1-2%) and massive reinvestment due to the low corporate tax rate.
Trump has also expressed concern over our National Debt, however, he considers fixing the economy a primary concern. On foreign policy Trump is less hawkish than Mrs. Clinton. He proposes working together with Russia, and pulling out of the Middle east; an action that would avoid large conflicts with other countries in the area.