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Destler Dodge

It's ironic that getting a straight answer is so difficult in this age of information. With all of the facts, figures, exaggerations and outright lies that permeate our political landscape, it is harder than ever to get a good understanding of what each candidate stands for. As an antidote, here is a condensed rundown of presidential frontrunners, Jeb Bush and Hilary Clinton’s respective positions on the issues.

Jeb Bush: Republican Party Candidate

What are Jeb Bush’s political credentials?

Jeb Bush was the Republican governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. Before that, he was Florida’s Secretary of Commerce.

How is he on social issues?

Jeb Bush is ardently pro-life, opposing abortion except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother. As such, Bush defunded Planned Parenthood when he was governor of Florida, years before the current controversy. His pro-life principles also extend to the issue of euthanasia; in one of the biggest controversies of his governorship, Bush attempted to stop a man from taking his vegetative wife off of life support in 2003. 

Bush has a poor record with LGBTQIA+ rights, but his current views are somewhat moderate. During his tenure as governor, he was consistently against same sex marriage. Bush now believes that both the legalization of same-sex marriage and passage of LGBTQIA+ anti-discrimination laws should be decided by the states, though he is in favor of the latter and opposed to the former. He also supports lifting the ban on transgender people serving in the military

What about immigration?

Jeb Bush believes that the immigration system should be reformed and undocumented immigrants should be given a legal path to permanent residence; this is a markedly softer stance on illegal immigration than his fellow Republican presidential candidates. However, he does not believe in giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

What kind of healthcare system does he support?

Like many Republicans, Bush is dead-set against the Affordable Care Act. Beyond some talk about a government-paid catastrophic coverage plan, which would only cover extreme health costs and not day-to-day ones, Bush is against any kind of government run healthcare. His shrinking of Medicaid in favor of market alternatives as governor of Florida is a testament to his focus on privatization of healthcare.

How about foreign policy?

Bush is in favor of a more aggressive stance against the Islamic State and would want to commit more troops to the region, although he wouldn’t be in favor of a large scale military operation. He has been supportive of his brother’s foreign policy decisions, and blames the current situation in Iraq on the Obama administration.

What about miscellaneous issues?

Although he put into place an $8 billion dollar plan to protect and preserve Florida’s ailing wetlands when he was governor, Bush has vowed to loosen environmental regulations on businesses and supports alternative drilling industries.

Hilary Clinton: Democratic Party Candidate

What are Hilary Clinton’s credentials?

Hilary Clinton was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, Democratic Senator for New York from 2000 to 2009 and First Lady from 1993 to 2001. Before that, a lawyer for a prestigious law firm.

How is she on social issues?

Clinton is pro-choice and has been a consistently strong supporter of women’s reproductive rights as well as women’s rights in general throughout her career. Her support of LGBTQIA+ rights have been less consistent; her support of same-sex marriage is somewhat recent, although she fought against a federal amendment proposed to ban it during her tenure in the Senate. Clinton also pushed for a greater focus on LGBTQIA+ rights in the state department when she was Secretary of State.

Clinton has also been vocal about confronting systemic racism and the criminal justice system, meeting with Black Lives Matter protesters and speaking frankly about racial issues. Her record, however, is more nuanced; although her early career was spent as an advocate for criminals, she supported and lobbied for her husband Bill Clinton’s 'tough on crime' legislation when she was First Lady.

What about immigration?

Clinton supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and comprehensive immigration reform. She has said that she would use her full legal power as president to protect undocumented immigrants, even if Congress were to block her.

What kind of health care system does she want?

Clinton supports the Affordable Care Act, but would be open to alterations. She has been a longtime supporter of government run universal healthcare, going back to her support and role in creation of Bill Clinton’s plan for universal coverage, colloquially named "Hillarycare." She also supports mandatory paid maternity and paternity leave.

How about foreign policy?

Possibly due to her experience as Secretary of State, Clinton is considerably more aggressive in her foreign policy than the mainstream Democratic Party. She has explicitly threatened Iran with military action if they were to attempt to procure a nuclear weapon, wants to ramp up U.S. training of Syrian rebels, and promised to more aggressively confront Russian expansion. She has also preached support for Israel, an uncontroversial but significant stance considering the Obama administration’s recent tensions with Israel.

What about miscellaneous issues?

Clinton has remained unclear in her position on the legal status of marijuana. In her previous presidential run in 2007, she was against decriminalizing the substance. Her current position is tentative support of medical marijuana while adopting a wait-and-see policy for recreational legalization.