This election has been, to say the least, unconventional. More than any other election in American history, policies have taken a backseat to drama and mudslinging. But when the president is sworn in at the Capitol on January 20 — whether proclaiming Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump the victor — it will be their positions, not their personalities, that shape the country. To better understand the candidates, we’ve compiled some of the most contentious issues of this election and analyzed each of their policies.
Endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Clinton says she will expand background checks, address gun lobbyists, and support laws that will keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals. As the first lady and New York senator, she actively supported gun control while still respecting the Second Amendment.
“I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets … You shouldn’t be able to exploit loopholes and evade criminal background checks by buying online or at a gun show,” Clinton said.
Endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Trump strongly supports the Second Amendment — the right of Americans to own guns. However, he does not oppose all gun control. He supports bans on assault weapons and a slightly longer screening process for buying guns. He believes mass shootings result from the mental health epidemic following the closing of health institutions.
“This has nothing to do with guns, this has to do with the mentality of these people. I believe if you take the guns away from the good people, and the bad ones are going to have target practice,” Trump said.
Consistent with the Republican Party, Trump is against same-sex marriage. He opposes the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, believing that this issue should be left to the states to decide.
“I am very much for a traditional marriage,” Trump said in 2015.
Before 2013, Clinton opposed same-sex marriage, but since then she has changed her view. However, even before she supported gay marriage, she still believed in equal rights for all.
“Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” Clinton said in a 2011 speech.
Trump denies any scientific evidence that climate change is real, and claims that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy. As president, he said he would cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency as well as dismantle the Paris Agreement, which addresses global warming. Instead of spending money on climate change, Trump wants to fund other projects like providing clean water, combating malaria, and expanding clean energy sources.
“I think that clean air is a pressing problem. You want to have clean air, clean water. That’s very important to me, and I’ve won many environmental awards,” Trump said.
Clinton believes climate change is a serious problem and pledges to install hundreds of millions of solar panels that will harness enough power for every home in the U.S. In addition, she hopes to launch a $60 billion dollar clean energy challenge to minimize carbon pollution.
“I will work both domestically and internationally to ensure that we build on recent progress and continue to slash greenhouse gas pollution over the coming years as the science clearly tells us we must,” Clinton said.
Trump supports a privatized approach that benefits charter schools and voucher programs.
“Competition is why I’m very much in favor of school choice. I
guarantee that if you forced schools to get better or close because parents didn’t want to enroll their kids there, they would get better,” Trump wrote in his book.
Clinton, on the other hand, favors improving our current public schools — both the infrastructure and the faculty. While she used to support charter schools, she now opposes them, believing that they take resources away from public schools. She also pledges to implement computer science programs on a nationwide scale.
“There shouldn’t be a single public school in our country where any person wouldn’t want to send their child,” Clinton said.