Race to the White House: A Guide to the Presidential Election of 2016

By: Robert Glueck

As a law student, you’ve undoubtedly mastered the art of sounding much more intelligent than you really are, but let’s face it: you know less than you’re willing to let on about the upcoming election. Allow The Civilian to help. While each candidate’s views largely track their party’s philosophy, below you will find a more detailed summary of both Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s platforms on several key issues for the upcoming election:

Job Growth

According to Clinton, income inequality is the primary obstacle standing between our country and job growth. She plans to raise the minimum wage and cut middle class taxes while increasing taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Beyond this, she also plans to invest in job training and community college education.

Trump, on the other hand, plans to cut taxes, reduce regulations, and re-establish America’s role as a leader in the global economy. Specifically, he wants to reduce imports and curb immigration, and renegotiate NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), which he calls “the worst trade deal ever.” Unsurprisingly, NAFTA was negotiated by Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton.

Both candidates also used the recent debate as an opportunity to take shots at their opponent’s economic plan. Clinton criticized Trump’s plan as a poor imitation of Reagan’s economic plan, referring to it as “Trumped Up Trickle Down Economics.” Trump accused Clinton of being a globalist who seeks to diminish America’s role in the global economy.

Higher Education and Student Debt

Both candidates agree our government should place greater emphasis on the borrower rather than the lender when issuing student loans. Trump believes in holding schools accountable for unpaid student debt, while Clinton has proposed a plan which would refinance loans for current borrowers and forgive loans for young entrepreneurs. Clinton has also proposed a “debt free college” plan which would allow students from middle and lower class families to attend public colleges without paying tuition.


Unless you live under a “yuge” rock, you know about the “The Wall.” In addition to building an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico, Trump initially claimed he would deport all illegal aliens and even proposed banning Muslims from entering the U.S. in the wake of the San Bernardino attacks. Although he has backed away from these initial comments, he remains adamant that we are going to build a wall and that Mexico will pay for it. Trump’s rationale is that illegal immigration is partly responsible for our country’s alleged demise. Therefore, by building a wall, we will take an important step towards “Making America Great Again.”

Clinton, in contrast, wants to overhaul immigration laws to help eligible persons become naturalized citizens. She has also pledged to support President Obama’s executive order—which blocked deportation of nearly 4 million immigrants—if Congress refuses to act on this issue. In response to Trump’s plans, Clinton calls the wall “a fantasy.”


Similar to immigration, the two candidates are also diametrically opposed on abortion. Trump opposes government-funded abortions except under rare circumstances (e.g. rape, incest, health of the mother), whereas Clinton has promised to continue funding Planned Parenthood and supports women’s access to a safe, legal abortion. In essence, Trump characterizes himself with as “pro-life, but with some caveats,” while Clinton is pro-choice.

Crime and Safety

Although both candidates promote safety for all Americans, Trump has dubbed himself the “law and order” candidate. Citing New York under former mayor Rudy Giuliani as an example, Trump strongly supports stop and frisk policies and pledges increased support for law enforcement agencies. Clinton, in contrast, seeks to reform law enforcement by improving officer accountability. Clinton also aims to end mass incarceration by investing in job training and education.

National Security

Both candidates agree that terrorism poses a grave threat to our nation, but disagree on how to combat it. Trump supports tactics such as waterboarding and has preached unpredictability in the fight against terrorism. When asked about recent terror attacks in Europe, Trump also states that he would not be opposed to using nuclear weapons against terrorists.

Clinton, in contrast, proposes a more diplomatic approach to combatting terrorism. She emphasizes preventing terrorists from acquiring “the tools they need to carry out the attacks” and does not support the use of nuclear weapons to combat terrorism. Clinton has also preached cooperation between the U.S. and its allies in the fight against terror organizations.

Trump and Clinton have two more opportunities to face off on their respective platforms. The next presidential debates will take place on October 9th and will be moderated by Anderson Cooper of CNN. The final debate will air October 19th, moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News. Election Day is November 8th, so be sure to exercise your voting rights and head to the polls!