A No-Nonsense Guide To Where Clinton And Trump Stand On The Issues

by John Haltiwanger

It's not exactly a secret the presidential election has America completely divided.

There is a great deal of animosity across the country right now, and people can't seem to have civil conversations about virtually any issue.

Amid all this noise, it can be difficult to discern where the candidates for the two major parties truly stand on the issues.

Don't worry, we've got you covered.

Here's a no-nonsense guide to the positions and proposed policies of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Foreign policy

Hillary Clinton: 

Clinton, who is a former senator and secretary of state, is often criticized for voting "yes" for the invasion of Iraq. She's since said this was a mistake.

The invasion of Iraq helped facilitate the rise of ISIS, which stands as perhaps the biggest issue for the US when it comes to foreign affairs.

The US has conducted over 12,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in its effort to defeat ISIS, and there are currently over 5,000 US troops on the ground in Iraq and a few hundred in Syria.

Clinton has outlined an approach to ISIS, and terrorism generally, that is largely a continuation of President Obama's policies.

She supports the use of drones and drone strikes, for example.

Clinton recently said,

We're not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again.

But the fact of the matter is there already are US ground troops in Iraq, and it's risky to speak in absolutes when it comes to such issues.

The former secretary of state seemed to be echoing President Obama in stating this, however, and was perhaps trying to further distance herself from her association with the Iraq War.

Like President Obama, Clinton also opposes the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (torture).

She also wants to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

While there is no substantial evidence refugees pose a major risk in terms of terrorism, the global refugee crisis has been linked to this issue.

Clinton would like the US to accept more Syrian refugees, but also supports increased screening of refugees.

Continuing to build off the work of the Obama administration, Clinton also condones the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord.

She's a strong supporter of NATO and highly critical of Russia.

Clinton is also a strong supporter of Israel and described its security as a "national priority" for the US.

While she stands with President Obama on most foreign policy issues, Clinton claims to be against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

But she hasn't been particularly outspoken about this, and leaked emails have led some to suggest she's actually pro-TPP.

Donald Trump:

Donald Trump claims he didn't support the invasion of Iraq, but a 2002 interview with Howard Stern contradicts this assertion.

He supports sending US troops to combat ISIS.

In an interview with CBS' Lesley Stahl, Trump said,

We're going to declare war against ISIS. We have to wipe out ISIS. I am going to have very few troops on the ground. We're going to have unbelievable intelligence, which we need; which, right now, we don't have. We don't have the people over there.

Trump also said he would "bomb the shit out of" ISIS.

During an interview with "Fox & Friends" in December, the real estate mogul also suggested he would kill the families of terrorists. He stated,

When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families.

Trump also supports the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (torture).

The Republican presidential nominee is vehemently against the US accepting more Syrian refugees.

In December, he proposed banning Muslim immigration to the US, but this transformed into him calling for "extreme vetting" and banning immigration from countries with a "proven history of terrorism."

Unlike Clinton, Trump is a strong critic of the Iran nuclear deal, wants to work on improving relations with Russia and has suggested he's okay with more countries acquiring nuclear weapons.

He also reportedly asked an unnamed foreign policy expert why the US "can't use" its nuclear weapons.

The Republican presidential nominee is against the TPP and the Paris climate accord.

He also said he would be "neutral" on the issue of Israel-Palestine, but has been somewhat unclear on his overall stance.


Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton champions immigration reform and supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

In May, she said,

If we claim we are for family, then we have to pull together and resolve the outstanding issues around our broken immigration system. The American people support comprehensive immigration reform not just because it's the right thing to do — and it is — but because they know it strengthens families, strengthens our economy, and strengthens our country... We can't wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship.

Clinton has pledged to introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship within her first 100 days in office if she's elected.

Donald Trump:

Trump has made immigration one of the central issues of his campaign.

His website outlines a 10-point plan to address immigration.

Central to this plan is Trump's desire to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. He claims Mexico will pay for the wall.

While Trump initially suggested he wanted to deport every single undocumented immigrant in the US -- over 11 million people -- his latest plan would target around 5 million for deportation.

Trump wants to create a "deportation task force" and recently stated,

Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation.

Trump does not support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.


Hillary Clinton:

Clinton wants to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes and wants to reduce taxes on low and middle-income earners.

She does not support decreasing the corporate income tax and is a strong supporter of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Clinton wants to increase the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour.

The former secretary of state would like to invest in infrastructure to create jobs and wants to restrict companies from moving profits overseas.

Clinton believes there is a gender pay gap and wants to ensure equal pay.

Donald Trump:

Trump says he wants to cut taxes "across-the-board," including for low and middle-income Americans.

But a recent analysis of his tax plan showed it could actually end up increasing taxes for low- and middle-income families.

Trump has shifted his position on the minimum wage a number of times. He's argued against raising it, but also suggested he'd support raising it to $10.

Like Clinton, the real estate mogul would like to invest in infrastructure.

Unlike Clinton, Trump does not support the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The Republican presidential nominee said he believes women should earn equal pay for equal work, but hasn't proposed any specific policies in this regard.

Trump is highly critical of globalization and has made keeping jobs and wealth in America a central aspect of his rhetoric.

The real estate mogul recently promised to create 25 million jobs with his economic plan.

He wants to reduce the corporate tax rate.

Racial tension and police brutality

Hillary Clinton:

Clinton supports the Black Lives Matter movement.

She believes police should wear body cameras and supports federal funding going toward law enforcement being trained in crisis intervention and deescalation.

Clinton is often criticized for her use of the racially-charged term "superpredators" as first lady and for supporting a crime bill that increased mass incarceration.

In March, Clinton characterized her support for that legislation as a "mistake." She added,

That's why I am focused and have a very comprehensive approach towards fixing the criminal justice system, going after systemic racism that stalks the justice system, ending private prisons and ending the incarceration of low level offenders and I am committed to doing that.

When Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination in July, she argued Americans needs to do more to acknowledge "systemic racism."

Donald Trump:

Trump has not offered support to Black Lives Matter and has suggested the movement leads to the killing of police officers.

He did argue, however, that police should wear body cameras.

Trump believes "crime is rampant" and we have to "give power back to the police."

On this topic, it's worth noting violent crime has actually decreased significantly in the US since the 1980s.

Moreover, while Trump has been critical of Obama and has questioned the president's support for police, the average number of police fatalities is far lower under Obama than it was under previous presidents.


Hillary Clinton:

Clinton is very vocal on the issue of gun control.

While she supports gun rights, she also condones an assault weapons ban.

Clinton is also a strong proponent of universal background checks, closing the gun show and Internet sales loophole and believes people on the no-fly list should be banned from purchasing firearms.

Donald Trump:

The Republican presidential nominee is very vocal about his support for the Second Amendment.

Trump does not support an assault weapons ban and nor has he proposed closing the gun show and Internet sales loophole.

He does, however, support barring people on the no-fly list from buying guns.


Hillary Clinton: 

Around 40 million Americans collectively owe over $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

Clinton wants to make college debt-free for students.

She wants tuition and public colleges and universities to be free for families making less than $125,000 a year and reduce rates on existing loans. Clinton says this would be paid for by tax increases.

Some have criticized her plan and argue it could end up increasing tuition.

Donald Trump:

Trump characterized student debt as a "tremendous problem in the United States."

The real estate mogul recently outlined his stance on student loan debt at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. He stated,

We would cap repayment for an affordable portion of the borrower's income, 12.5 percent, we'd cap it. That gives you a lot to play with and a lot to do. And if borrowers work hard and make their full payments for 15 years, we'll let them get on with their lives. They just go ahead and they get on with their lives.

This income-based repayment plan is actually quite similar to programs pushed and expanded by the Obama administration.


Hillary Clinton:

Clinton wants to expand on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

She wants to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and double funding for community health centers.

Clinton is extremely vocal about reproductive rights and a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood.

The former secretary of state also supports paid family and medical leave.

Donald Trump:

Trump wants to repeal and replace Obamacare.

He does not support reproductive rights, and at one point suggested women who get abortions should be punished.

Trump recently stated Planned Parenthood should be defunded as "long as they continue to perform abortions" and called for the Hyde Amendment to be made a permanent law.

He also said he will nominate pro-life justices to the Supreme Court.