As has been the case with most of the events during this election season, the majority of last night’s debate seemed to be a competition to see who could talk the loudest into their microphone while someone else was also talking loudly into their microphone. However, under all of the squabbling, there were small (like, very small) nuggets of actual substance and policy. I’ve taken the liberty of cutting through all the fighting to lay out the candidate’s stated policies.

The Fox News moderator, Chris Wallace, divided the debate into several topics, asking the candidates to answer specific questions related to those issues. Although both candidates frequently strayed from the intended topic, the main points of discussion were the U.S. Supreme Court, immigration reform, the economy, fitness to serve as president, foreign hotspots, and the national debt.

The U.S. Supreme Court

"Where is the court going to take the country?" and "How should the Constitution be interpreted?"

Hillary Clinton believes that the U.S. Supreme Court should stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the wealthy corporations. She says that we need a Supreme Court that will stand up for the rights of the LGBTQ community and that will say no to Citizens United. Clinton does not want to overturn the decision for marriage equality. She would also defend the decision of Roe v. Wade and will defend Planned Parenthood, and by extension, women's rights to be in control of their own healthcare. She would appoint a Supreme Court Justice that would stand up for the rights of people in the workplace.

In terms of Constitutional interpretation, Clinton wants the Senate to confirm the Supreme Court Justice nominee Obama has chosen. She respects gun ownership under the 2nd Amendment and wants to make it clear that she is not trying to take back anyone's firearms. All "common sense regulations" that she would impose do not conflict with the 2nd Amendment.

Donald Trump says that he has 20 pro-life, conservative nominees lined up that will uphold the 2nd Amendment because it “is under siege.” He opposes any limitations on assault weapons and plans to create a Supreme Court that will reflect the same beliefs. Trump would also like to elect justices that would overturn the decision of Roe v. Wade, planning to leave it up to individual states to decide the fate of women’s healthcare, independently of the federal government.

He believes that the Constitution should be interpreted the way that the founders intended it to be.


“How do you plan to secure our borders?”

Donald Trump still plans to build a wall to keep out future illegal immigrants from Mexico. He says that the U.S. needs stronger borders to protect the American people from illegal immigrants bringing drugs and murdering U.S.citizens. He also cited illegal immigrants as contributing to the rise in the use of heroin in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton says that America doesn’t have the massive law enforcement presence required to find and deport all of the undocumented immigrants in this country like Donald Trump wants to do. She would prefer to allocate resources to deporting violent illegal immigrants and would offer amnesty and a path to citizenship for peaceful immigrants. She has voted for tighter border security while serving in the Senate. She also attacked Trump for using undocumented immigrants (and underpaying them) to build Trump Tower.

The Economy

“Why will your plan create more jobs?”

Hillary Clinton “When the middle class thrives, America thrives.” Clinton wants to create the biggest job program since World War 2. She plans to fight climate change by creating new jobs in the clean energy industry. Under her administration, the minimum wage will be raised to lift more workers out of poverty. She also plans to eliminate the gender wage gap. Clinton will to create a more technical education and make apprenticeships more prominent in adolescent education. She wants to make college debt-free for families by subsidizing costs with tax revenue collected from wealthy corporations.

She will not raise taxes for families making $250,000 or less per year. Hillary would also employ a trade prosecutor to monitor global trade deals.

Donald Trump thinks that foreign countries we protect should be paying the U.S for that protection. He will renegotiate trade deals to create more free trade, and to bring internationally outsourced jobs back to the homeland. He plans to cut taxes and make the general public pay for college tuition.

Fitness to be the Next President of the United States

“What do you have to say about the recent allegations of sexual assault?”

Donald Trump said that the women that have accused him of sexual assault were actors who were paid by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He claims that these women only came forward for their “10 minutes of fame.” Trump says that there are taped recordings of Obama and Clinton hiring people to incite violence at his rallies.

Hillary Clinton cited multiple examples of Trump speaking in a derogatory way about women by targeting their appearances. She wants the American people to stand up, celebrate our diversity, and show Trump what we expect from our next president.

Foreign Hotspots

“If Iranian Mosul is successful in pushing out ISIS, what happens the day after?” and “Will you put U.S. troops into the vacuum hopefully created by the absence of ISIS to prevent further similar groups from forming?”

Hillary Clinton will not support putting U.S. soldiers in Iraq as an occupying force. She acknowledges that taking back Mosul will be a hard fight, and wants to continue to press into Syria to keep fighting. Hillary would also push for a no-fly zone over Syria and wants to meet with other world leaders to have serious negotiations to end the ongoing war.

She wants to focus more attention on the prominent threat of domestic terrorism and plans to prohibit people on the no-fly list from buying weapons. Clinton also plans to thoroughly vet Syrian refugees before they are let into the country.

Donald Trump thinks we need to stop discussing our plans to combat terrorism because it makes the terrorist groups feel the need to prove themselves, which causes heightened violence. He says that we’ve made it easy for Iran to take over Iraq, but didn’t offer a plan for the future.

National Debt

“Why are both of you ignoring the debt problem?” and “Would you as president make a deal to save Medicare and Social Security before they run out of money that would include tax increases and benefit cuts?”

Donald Trump is going to create “tremendous jobs,” which he claims will raise the GDP from 1% to 4%. He thinks that the people in control of our nation’s finances are “hacks.” Donald plans to create a more efficient “economic machine” that will send people back to work and help companies expand.

Trump wants to repeal and replace Obamacare because it is destroying businesses of all sizes.

Hillary Clinton has allocated funding for every aspect of her economic plan without adding anything to the national debt. She is going to “go where the money is,” taking money from the “corrupt wealthy class” and growing the economy through investing in the middle class.

Hillary would raise taxes on the wealthy to contribute more to the Social Security trust fund. She would ensure that we have sufficient tax revenue to fund Medicare and Social Security or raise the spending cap.

Closing Statements

Hillary Clinton will stand up for American families in the face of large corporations. She wants to ensure that everyone has access to good jobs with rising incomes and that families are guaranteed quality education from preschool through college.

Donald Trump is going to "make America great again.” He wants to take care of war veterans and also aims to bring law and order to the inner cities to help the African American and the Latino populations.