I’m a big believer in the importance of voting. But it’s pretty hard to vote if you don’t know anything about the candidates- and let’s face it, how much do we actually know about them? We know that Donald Trump ran Celebrity Apprentice and that he’s been offending people left and right. We know that Hillary Clinton is Bill’s wife and that there’s something weird going on with her emails. But aside from the media drama, do we really know anything about the policies of our two presidential front-runners? Some of their stances on major issues might surprise you.
Clinton: Hillary would stop giving tax breaks to oil and gas companies. She supports the increase in federal taxes and opposes having a flat tax on income. She would enforce laws to close the tax loopholes for wealthy taxpayers and cut taxes for low to middle class families. Clinton would not privatize Social Security, instead allowing workers to control their own investments. She plans to crack down on big banks with tougher regulations, but would not break them up unless they pose a threat to the economy.
Trump: Trump would not give tax breaks to oil and gas companies. He does not support increasing the federal tax rate. He seems to support a flatter tax rate, and would simplify the tax bracket system. Trump’s plan for Social Security is unclear. Trump has no current position on the big banks, but has not supported breaking them up in the past.
Social and Racial Equality
Clinton: She supports affirmative action by universities. Hillary acknowledges racial bias in the criminal justice system and stands behind the Black Lives Matter movement. She supports same-sex marriage and wants to enforce laws to protect LGBT people against discrimination. Clinton does not believe that institutions should be able to deny service to LGBT people based on religious beliefs, citing it as discrimination. She believes that transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.
Trump: Trump supports affirmative action. He has not expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and has not released a plan to combat racial inequality in the criminal justice system. He has not expressed strong opinions for or against the rights of the LGBT community. He has not taken a formal stance on transgender bathroom use, preferring to leave this decision up to the individual states.
Clinton: Hillary would continue to federally fund Planned Parenthood and would not ban abortions. She believes that minors should have access to abortion services without parental consent and would legalize physician-assisted suicide. She would keep Obamacare in place with some revisions.
Trump: Donald would cut funding for Planned Parenthood. He plans to make abortions illegal, and has talked about punishing women who receive them or doctors who perform them. His position on minors receiving abortions without parental consent is unclear. His position on physician-assisted suicide is also unclear. He would get rid of Obamacare, but still thinks that everyone needs healthcare coverage.
Clinton: Hillary supports Common Core standards, but thinks that the program was implemented poorly. It is unclear whether she would keep Common Core curriculum, but she believes that all states should be held to a national education standard. She supports free public education for college students and would enact free tuition at community colleges. She does not believe that teacher salaries should be linked to test scores.
Trump: Donald does not support Common Core. He believes that education should be governed at a local level. He does not support free college tuition, but looks to lower interest rates on loans. He wishes to cut back on funding for the Department of Education.
Clinton: Hillary believes that stricter gun control laws should be enforced. She would ban guns from school zones and prohibit people on the TSA’s no-fly list or on the Terror Watch List from being able to purchase firearms. She has not stated a position on the funding for the federal government to study gun violence.
Trump: Trump would not enact any more gun control laws. His positions on guns in school zones and on the study of gun violence are unclear. He would prohibit the purchase of guns by people on the no-fly list and the Terror Watch List.
Clinton: Hillary stands behind the position that humans are primarily responsible for global climate change and that the U.S. should focus on using renewable energy sources rather than using fossil fuels. She has changed her viewpoint on the Keystone XL Pipeline, now stating that the U.S. should not use the Keystone Pipleline to important tar sand oil from Canada. She believes that genetically modified foods should be labeled as GMO’s for consumers. She also supports fracking.
Trump: He does not believe in climate change and does not think that humans are responsible for global changes in environmental activity. Trump supports the continued use of fossil fuels as a source of energy and would authorize the use of the Keystone XL Pipeline to import tar sand oil from Canada. He does not think that genetically modified foods need to be labeled as such. Trump supports fracking.
Clinton: Hillary believes that undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. should have the chance to become legal residents. She would allow Syrian Refugees to enter the country. Her position on building a U.S./Mexico border wall is unclear, and she does not believe that the federal government should spend money on raids to find undocumented immigrants.
Trump: Donald does not believe that undocumented immigrants should have the chance to apply for U.S. citizenship and would not allow Syrian Refugees to take shelter in the U.S. He wants Mexico to fund the construction of a U.S./Mexico border wall. Trump believes that the federal government should conduct raids to enforce immigration laws.
Clinton: She is not opposed to the use of the death penalty for extreme cases, but would reserve the jurisdiction for federal cases. Hillary would ban the use of racial profiling in favor of a less biased judicial system. She believes that the current Senate and President have the right to elect a new Supreme Court Justice to fill the seat vacated by the death of former Justice Scalia*.
Trump: Trump fully supports the death penalty and believes that its implementation would deter criminal activity. He supports the use of racial profiling, especially in regard to Muslims. Trump acknowledges that the current President should be able to re-elect a new Supreme Court Justice to fill Scalia’s spot, but wants to delay the decision until he is in office.
*(there are normally 9 Supreme Court Justices, which prevents a tie vote from occurring. Justice Scalia died in February, which means that there are now only 8 Justices to vote on Supreme Court cases. The appointment of a new Justice could tip the votes in the favor of the liberal or conservative side.)
Foreign Policy and Military
Clinton: Clinton would continue to use drone strikes abroad and now supports sending ground troops to fight ISIS. She wants to close Guantanamo Bay. Hillary also wants to stop torturing prisoners, because she believes that torture does not reflect American values. She supports women in combat positions. She does not support the collection of data from citizen email and phone records by the NSA.
Trump: He supports sending ground troops to fight ISIS and has not expressed an opinion on drone strikes (though he has expressed support for the use of bombs against ISIS). He wishes to keep Guantanamo Bay open and would condone the torture of prisoners to extract information. Trump has gone back and forth on the issue of women serving in the military, and has raised concern about rape cases in the military. He supports the NSA’s collection of civilian data through email and phone records.
Labor and Wages
Clinton: Hillary would guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid medical of family leave for workers. She supports labor unions to maintain the integrity of the middle class. Clinton wants to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour.
Trump: He has not expressed a plan for paid medical or family leave or an opinion concerning labor unions. Trump’s position on the minimum wage is not clear, but he has not indicated a plan to increase it.
If you want to find out which candidate aligns most closely with your values, try this quiz. To learn more about Hillary Clinton's campaign, check out her website. To learn more about Donald Trump's campaign, visit his website.