How Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump would address 12 key issues

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are worlds apart on some issues, but surprisingly similar on others. UPI File Photos

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) — It has been a campaign of insults between two of the most famous figures ever to run for U.S. president, but there are also genuine policy disputes between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The candidates are worlds apart on some issues — and surprisingly similar in others.

Here is a brief summary of where they stand on 12 key issues facing the United States.

Click on the topic name to read a full story on each issue.


Both candidates agree on the need for additional funding for education. They disagree on how to spend the money. Trump advocates creating a school voucher program for underprivileged students. Clinton wants to increase teacher salaries and hire support staff to improve the academic culture in schools, especially in predominantly black and Hispanic communities.


Repeal and replace or fix what’s broken? The debate over Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, plays out on familiar partisan lines for Trump and Clinton. He takes the GOP position the legislation is a failure and must be repealed in order to start over. She sides with Democrats, arguing there are good parts about the law, but changes must be made to ensure health insurance is more affordable.

LGBT rights

The candidates generally agree that civil rights for gays and lesbians need to be defended. Both support allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choosing and both have been supportive personally of friends’ same-sex marriages. They differ on the policy level, however. Clinton came out in support of same-sex marriage prior to starting her 2016 campaign, while Trump believes the government should restrict marriage to between men and women and would appoint judges to the Supreme Court who would overturn that decision.

Criminal justice reform

Perhaps the issue where the candidates diverge the most is on how to reform the nation’s criminal justice system. Clinton has called out inherent bias in the system against minorities and would work to change sentencing laws and increase racial sensitivity among police. She supports the Black Lives Matter movement. Trump bills himself as the “law and order” candidate, arguing police are disrespected. His solution to racial tension between minorities and the police is to hire more officers to arrest the criminals who foment mistrust of law enforcement.

Jobs and the economy

Clinton calls for a new energy economy and a significant investment in the nation’s infrastructure, creating jobs by repairing and improving roads, bridges, sewers, electric lines and mass transit facilities. Trump says the nation’s economy has suffered badly from the effects of over-taxation and free trade deals that have caused manufacturing jobs to migrate to low-wage countries like Mexico and China.

Fighting terrorism

As secretary of state, Clinton was one of the more hawkish members of PresidentBarack Obama‘s Cabinet. She advocated for more troops in Afghanistan early in Obama’s first term, and for arming Syrian rebels in their fight against the Assad regime in Syria. She also advocated bombing forces loyal to Libyan dictatorMoammar Gadhafi and would continue deploying special forces to hunt leaders of the Islamic State. Trump has made defeating the Islamic State the centerpiece of his terror policy, faulting Clinton and Obama for not being tough enough on the group in its infancy, allowing it to spread into a global movement. He has proposed the “extreme vetting” of Muslim immigrants to guard against terrorists trying to enter the country.

Gun control and the Second Amendment

Trump is a staunch advocate of gun rights and has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association. He has repeatedly accused Clinton of wanting to do away with the Second Amendment, a position she has never taken. Clinton has called for universal background checks and restricting those on the no-fly list from being able to purchase a gun.

Student loan reform

Clinton and Trump agree the federal government should stop earning interest on federally subsidized student loans. Clinton has put forth a plan that would allow those with loans to refinance at a lower interest rate and a series of reforms that would allow for free in-state tuition for working- and middle-class students. Trump was critical of proposals by Clinton’s primary opponent Bernie Sanders to make college tuition-free for everyone

VA healthcare reform

In the wake of the 2014 scandal that found veterans were being forced to wait up to four months to receive Veterans Affairs care at some hospitals, Trump called for allowing former service members to get care at any private practitioner who accepts Medicare. Trump says that will create competition and force the VA to be more efficient. Clinton said that would “privatize” the system. Instead, she favors upgrading medical records technology, hiring more staff and paying overtime to reduce the VA backlog. Both candidates advocate a stronger emphasis on mental health services to aide veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Energy and the environment

Trump has suggested on multiple occasions that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese in order to skirt international obligations to improve their manufacturing sector. He has said he will scrap the Paris climate accord negotiated by the Obama administration. Clinton sees climate change as a serious threat that is due to human effects on the environment. She proposes ending coal-fired power plants, increasing clean energy production and would fully implement the Paris accord.


The centerpiece of Trump’s campaign is building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration. He has called for the immediate deportation of all undocumented immigrants with a criminal record, and eventually all undocumented immigrants, including those who were brought into the United States as young children. Clinton has called for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants who have otherwise abided by the law. She has promised to end deportations for immigrants who were brought to the country as children, and undocumented parents who have young children who were born here and are American citizens.


Trump would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and readjust the income tax brackets, condensing them from seven categories to three. He would also eliminate the estate tax and several loopholes employed by corporations to pay less than their normal tax rate. He would also make the cost of childcare tax deductible and offer a cash benefit to low-income parents who do not meet the income tax threshold. Clinton would leave the existing income tax brackets in place but add a 4 percent surcharge for wealthier Americans to “pay their fair share.” She would also close a series of loopholes in the tax code wealthy Americans use to reduce their tax burden and increase the estate tax on the wealthiest estates. Clinton has proposed doubling the Child Tax Credit and eliminating the income requirement to qualify for it.


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