PHOENIX — The dust is settled and the stage is set: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are officially running against each other in the 2016 presidential election.
Barring some sort of rare third-party run, one of the aforementioned nominees will win the general election in November and take over as the most powerful person in the United States come January.
But prior to that, American media will be filled with all kinds of ads, posts, commercials, and other accouterments as each candidate — and outside parties — attempt to win your vote.
While you have a good few months to decide who you are supporting, I went through both Trump’s and Clinton’s nomination acceptance speeches (note: Clinton’s official site did not have a copy of the speech as of this posting, so I linked to the most accurate one I could find) to sort out where they stand on the issues below.
The debate over our nation’s borders and the people wishing to cross them — legally or not — largely affects Arizona. But Trump and Clinton remained divided over the topic.
In his address, Trump stuck to his hard-line stance when it comes to illegal immigration and essentially outlined a three-part plan to improve the nation’s immigration system: Build a border wall between the United States and Mexico, halt all catch-and-release programs at the border and better enforce visa limits.
Trump mainly focused on the problems caused by illegal immigration, such as rising crime, the strain those immigrants cause on public resources and lower wages and higher unemployment.
But he was not all fire and brimstone. Toward the end of his speech, Trump said he wants his immigration system to be kind to people.
“We are going to be considerate and compassionate to everyone,” he said. “But my greatest compassion will be for our own struggling citizens.”
Clinton countered with a hard-line stance of her own: “We will not build a wall.
“Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one and we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy.”
She also said comprehensive immigration reform that seeks to keep families together is the “right thing to do.”
Trump carefully entwined his arguments against terror — particularly the question of the Islamic State — with both his immigration and foreign policy stances. He opened with a harsh criticism of both Clinton and President Barack Obama and used it as a springboard to launch into his policy.
While he echoed his desire to control who enters the country, he did so without mentioning a one-time plan to temporarily ban all Muslims from coming into the U.S., though he cited radical Islam as a source of terror attacks.
“I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people,” he said. “Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be.”
Trump’s terrorism plan, like his plan for immigration, relies on three prongs: Have the best intelligence available, work with “our greatest ally in the [Middle East], the state of Israel” and halt immigration from any country “compromised by terrorism.”
Clinton said that the United States will not “ban a religion” but echoed Trump’s call to work with allies in the region. She did not name any specific nations.
She also said that America is “dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated” and had already made her stance on ISIS clear:
“We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country.
“It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake: We will prevail,” she said.
Trump’s foreign policy stance is simple: America is first, other nations are second.
“Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo,” he said, adding that such a stance would command respect from other nations.
By placing America first, Trump said he would move away from the “failed policy of nation-building and regime change” used by the Obama administration.
Trump’s policy would also stretch to American NATO allies. He backed his stance that the international alliance is obsolete because other countries had not been paying their fair share.
Clinton’s policies echoed a theme recurrent throughout her speech — cooperation.
Leaning heavily on her resume of policy experience, Clinton said she would continue to work with NATO allies and boasted about her hand in the Iran deal, a hotly-debated subject in political spheres. She also said she would continue holding other nations who signed a global climate initiative responsible.
Clinton said America’s economy is doing well, but said the nation should not be satisfied with the status quo. She said Americans have a right to be frustrated that, though the economy is coming back, they are still struggling to find a good job.
Clinton said her primary focus in office will be creating good employment opportunities with particular emphasis on shifting power away from corporations that “take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other” and instead growing America’s middle class.
Trump painted a bleak picture of the American economy, particularly when it comes to minority groups.
After saying that numerous minorities are worse off, fewer people are working and household incomes are lower than when Obama first took office, Trump said he would offer several reforms that would not be popular with politicians but would “add millions of new jobs and trillions in new wealth that can be used to rebuild America.”
Clinton spoke a great deal more on jobs than Trump and promised to roll out one of the largest job initiatives since World War II within her first 100 days in office.
She said her plan included adding jobs in both the infrastructure and sustainable energy fields that would employ millions of American workers.
“If we invest in infrastructure now, we’ll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future,” she said.
She also advocated for equal pay for women, profit-sharing for workers, free college for some Americans and giving small businesses a boost.
Trump did not touch on jobs much, other than to say his America-first economic plans would lead to a great surge in hiring, particularly — and like Clinton said — in the infrastructure field
He did however say that he would look to block companies from taking their business overseas to cut costs without some form of consequence, though he did not specify what that would be in the speech.
Clinton said companies who take tax cuts an move jobs overseas would be made to pay back the nation. That money would go to creating more jobs in the U.S.
Trump said he is proposing the largest tax cut of any candidate. Much like his other approaches, Trump’s tax plan revolves around several points: Simplifying the tax code, costly regulation policies and taking the limits off of American energy production.
Clinton said she plans to make big businesses and the super-rich pay their share of taxes “because when more than 90 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent, that’s where the money is.”
One of Trump’s largest targets was trade. A businessman, he said he wants to roll out new trade policies in place of international agreements, such as NAFTA and the TPP.
Instead, the United States would make individual deals that favor America with individual nations and force them to stick to their agreement.
“I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and independence,” he said.
Clinton touched briefly on trade, saying that those who support saying no to unfair trade deals and standing up to China should vote Democrat.
Both nominees were in agreement in criticizing the spike in shootings of law enforcement officers.
Trump took the firmer stance, saying, “An attack on law enforcement is an attack on all Americans” while Clinton said Americans should put themselves in the shoes of officers who are “kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job.”
Trump gave several figures that he said showed crime is on the rise in America and promised to bring in the best officials possible to reverse that course.
Clinton promised to make changes in the system, both to protect police officers and ameliorate racial tensions.
“We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” she said.
Trump was rather quiet when it came to the gun control debate, saying only a few lines on it. He said Clinton wanted to get rid of the Second Amendment while he had the support of the NRA and had pledged to protect the rights of gun owners.
Clinton refuted that, saying she does not want to take people’s guns and does not want to repeal the Second Amendment. She does, however, want to pass some gun control measures to prevent firearms from getting into the “hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.”
“I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place,” she said.
Trump touched briefly on veterans, a subject on which he’s been hit hard as of late. He said his Ten Point Plan has received strong support from veterans and would allow those who served to visit the “doctor or hospital of their choice.”
Clinton was also brief but called the military “a national treasure.”
At one point, she said caring for veterans and honoring them at home “will be my highest priority.” She also said she had experience working with veterans and highlighted her experience as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
While Clinton did not come out and fully support the Affordable Care Act — also referred to as Obamacare — she did say that 20 million more Americans had health care under Obama’s watch.
She also said “If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care, join us.”
Trump was extremely brief when it came to health care, using only two sentences in his speech to directly address the issue: “We will repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare. You will be able to choose your own doctor again.”
Trump took a stance that may not sit well with some of the party’s more extreme conservative members. After saying the Obama administration has failed those who live in inner cities, he pledged to always consider if his next decision was going to make a better world for young Americans.
He then added: “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
Clinton took a far broader approach, not only pledging to protect the rights of gay Americans, but also the rights of numerous other groups.
“We will defend all our rights: Civil rights, human rights and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities,” she said, adding that she would stand up to “mean and divisive rhetoric.”
Calling the placement of a new Supreme Court justice “one of the most important issues decided by this election,” Trump vowed to replace the late Antonin Scalia with “a person of similar views, principles, and judicial philosophy.”
Clinton mentioned the Supreme Court in passing, saying the U.S. needs to appoint justices “who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them.
Keep in mind, this is by no means a definitive guide to each candidate’s full policy ideas, but a brief summary based on their respective speeches. I would recommend going to both Trump’s and Clinton’s websites to read more.
It is also based on the exact transcripts of their speeches, so any asides of off-speech statements are not included.
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