The run up to the US presidential elections has been a war between two conflicting personalities. Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump can’t seem to stand the sight of each other. While Trump has gone to brand Hillary as crooked over a number of controversies, Hillary has attacked Trump for his repeated antics and boisterous attitude with an “Only I can fix it” seemingly written on his forehead.
Clinton and Hillary stand poles apart on key election issues. Although, the election campaign has been anything but a discourse on poll issues and issues of individual, national and global importance, we take a look on where the candidates stand on these issues that will directly affect the American citizens.
Hillary Clinton has devised a plan to address the pressing issue–one she has worked on for decades since her days in Harvard–of income inequality by raising taxes, primarily for the rich and upper middle class. Clinton proposes increasing estate tax, imposing an extra 4 per cent surcharge for earnings over $5 million. She has also proposed to treat carried interest income that is earned by hedge fund managers as income and not capital gains thus increasing capital gains tax revenues. She also proposes that she will give higher tax breaks for education and healthcare spending of working class families. The brunt of the increased taxes is set to come on the wealthy 1 per cent of America which may end up paying over 75 per cent of the increased taxes.
Trump rubbishes these plans and proposes doing away with estate tax. He also proposes to reduce number of tax slabs from seven to three. Trumps reforms are expected to cause a double digit increase in income for the wealthy and nearly two percent for the bottom strata. Trump proposes increasing standard deduction charges for individual tax filers and cutting down massively on corporate taxes. The plan is also expected to cost the US trillions of dollars over the coming five years before it takes shape, if it goes to plan.
Hillary Clinton wants to continue with Obama care while Donald Trump wants to repeal it. President Barack Obama’s trademark Obamacare health care reform ensured access to high quality health care for low income families and brought health insurance coverage benefits to the weakest in the financial spectrum. The act has been criticised for having several loopholes and the insurance lobby has been constantly trying to get the Republicans to get it repealed.
Trump plans to create 25 million jobs over the next decade in the US. He argues that most of the jobs in the manufacturing sector are lost to third world countries and that the government needs to invest in infrastructure, reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent down to 15 per cent to bring them back. He advocates reducing trade deficits and easing trade regulations to boost job creation in the country.
Hillary wants to use the increased revenue from wealthy earners to start efficient job training for people. Also, she contends that her plan will create at least 10 million new jobs. She proposes that if elected she will invest substantially in renewable energy, small businesses, advanced technology and manufacturing.
Donald Trump’s stand on this topic has been the most controversial. He has proposed building a wall on the over 2000-mile long US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration of Mexicans into the US. A huge amount of Mexicans and Hispanics constitute the American vote pool and such announcements have pushed them away. He has tapped into the large insecurity of the average American and proposed conservative and watertight immigration laws banning immigration of individuals from individuals from troubled countries. He also wants to end refugee influx. He has proposed restricting legal immigration and supported forced deportation of the 11 million immigrants living without documentation.
Hillary, on the other hand, has supported immigrants and has promised them the American dream. She has opposed the idea of the wall and promised that immigrants will have a future in the US and that they are welcome along with those seeking safe refuge, regardless of the hailing country or religion. She has been strongly vocal against privately operated detention facilities and promised to expand upon Obama’s immigration reforms that lay ground for allowing undocumented immigrants to take legal residency and eventually citizenship.
Hillary intends to work on President Obama’s Pivot to Asia model and proposes to engage partners like Japan, India more to gain strength in the south China sea. She has served four years as secretary of State in the Obama administration and advocated continued ground presence of US troops in Afghanistan and increased US presence in the fight against ISIS in Syria. She advocates arming Syrian rebels, Kurdish Peshmergas and hasn’t refused to allow special forces’ presence in the region. She has also supported US’ continued backing of NATO allies. Hillary is opposed to sending troops on ground in Middle East but justifies the Iraq war and the current US presence in the region. She also criticises Russia and has painted Putin as the ‘enemy’.
Trump has slammed US’ partnership with NATO and has proposed charging NATO partners for the security the US provides them with and urged them to increase their spending. He also proposes sending several thousands of foot soldiers into the Middle East to battle the Islamic State. He favours making friends with Russia and Putin showering him with praise on multiple occasions. He has also criticised the US position currently as too compromising and wants to revamp US foreign policy to bring US interests as issues of prime importance. He has proposed increased alliances in Europe and portrayed a trigger happy stance to tackle the ISIS threat.
Donald Trump seeks to review the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)–a pact he calls one of the worst trade deals in US history. He accuses China of intellectual threat of hundreds of billions of dollars annually and Mexico and China both of currency manipulation and unfair trade practices. Trump wants to impose punitive measures along with unilateral tariffs to ‘punish’ the two. He is also firmly against the trans pacific partnership (TPP) and wants to review the trade deals already signed and not budge till US interests are ensured otherwise he’ll pull out.
Hillary coined his husband and former president Bill Clinton’s NAFTA trade deal as the gold standard in international trade deals but has changed her stance. She has also backed out from her support to the Central American Free Trade Agreement. She proposes to provide a safety net to American workers in international trade environment.
Hillary supports President Obama’s stance on climate change and is an advocate of green and renewable energy. She says that climate change can cause unimaginable threats to American security. She supports strict regulation of the American energy industry and has opposed expanded drilling in Alaska. Alarmingly for some, she refused to sign a moratorium on extraction of shale oil through fracking.
Trump has dubbed climate change and global warming as a sham, the old Republican argument. He opposes regulating the energy industry. He claims to scrap the Paris Agreement if voted to power and any other climate pacts. Trumps claims to be in support of clean environment but calls global warming caused by humans a ‘hoax’.
Hillary opposes moves to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and supports increased government aid to NGOs providing abortion aid to rape victims in war zones. She advocates the mother’s right to choose on pregnancy and planned parenthood. She is opposed to putting stringent regulations on the abortion industry.
Trump rejects the idea outright and is strongly opposed to abortion. Trump contends that abortions should be made illegal and punishment should be enforced for violating mothers. His campaign was quick to back out from these statements after criticism and then put the onus on states to form punitive legislations. He says that he will not oppose the procedure only when it is a matter of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger. He advocates scrapping funds for Planned Parenthood.
Hillary is in support of reviewing the flawed mandatory minimum system and wants to impose rehabilitation setup as a first preference over long prison sentences. She is also against racial profiling, commonly done in the US, and mass imprisonment.
Trump says violence is at an all-time high in the country and that the government and law enforcement agencies need to act tough against offenders. Trump also supports the contentious stop and frisk powers of police, something strongly criticised by Hillary, and rubbishes it as supporting racial profiling or being unconstitutional and improper.
Hillary bats for strict gun regulations. Incidents of mass shootings have raked up the issue of need for stricter gun laws but the Senate has stood opposed to the proposal for a review. Hillary, however, intends to make amends with stringent background checks and putting a blanket ban on availability of assault weapons to common people. Currently, one can buy a gun in a supermarket as well in the US.
Trump rubbishes the need to enforce strict gun laws and contends that current laws prohibit people exercising their gun rights. He says that if enough people were armed, they could intervene in any situation of the nature of mass shootings or public violence.