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Monday, July 25, 2016

Aside from the hyperbole, let's review the policy differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

*Disclaimer: during today's blog post, I will attempt to compare some of the political views of candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  If, from your perspective, I incorrectly identify a policy position of either nominee, feel free to send me a note, yell at me, or wish me ill-fortune.  Any and all errors are undoubtedly not mine, but the fault of the two candidates.

If the American voter makes the effort to examine the issues and the opinions of the two nominees, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, then we should have a good idea just how conservative/liberal the United States has become.  The reason the political landscape should become crystal clear is because we have two candidates who couldn't be further apart on the issues.  Donald Trump openly espouses conservative beliefs and intentions, while Hillary is sounding more liberal than ever before.  Interestingly enough, both candidates have a prior history of being somewhat moderate, but 2016 finds the American populace deeply divided, and both candidates have left moderation behind.  The Obama Administration in itself was a tremendous mobilizer for the right.  Conservatives have been waiting for the opportunity to voice their disapproval to everything from Obamacare to Gay Marriage.  Donald Trump embraced the primary season with an agenda that included insulting every person who had the temerity to disagree (with Mr. Trump).  Many unhappy Americans chose to live vicariously through Trump, especially when he addressed either Obama or Clinton directly (through Twitter).  To the average conservative, Republicans in Congress appeared unwilling to stand up to the Democrats in any fashion.  Sure, Congress convened one investigation after another, but all that was achieved was to aggravate an already open wound.  During the primaries, Trump was successful uniting conservative voters at the ballot box, while Hillary had all sorts of trouble shaking her only real opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  The self-identified Democrat-Socialist gave Clinton headaches, and his ability to appeal to young voters made it clear to the Clinton Camp that the S.S. Hillary needed to take a sharp turn to the left.  Trump knows his only hope of winning is to ratchet up the same game plan that has worked so well.  He must remain confrontational, introducing a different Clinton scandal day after day; Hillary needs to remind voters of Trump's bruises as well.  When all is said and done, this election may go down as the most negative in history.

From the beginning, it was assumed that Hillary Clinton would appear more able to handle foreign policy issues that Donald Trump.  Not only was Hillary Clinton First Lady for eight years, but she was also a one-term Senator from New York and Barack Obama's Secretary of State during Obama's first term. Clinton has been all over the world and met with hundreds of foreign leaders and dignitaries.  Oddly enough, in all that time, Hillary never thought it prudent to learn a foreign language.  Regardless, Hillary is recognized as being deeply involved in the negotiations that resulted in 2010's New Start Missile Reduction Treaty with Russia.  Don't expect to hear Hillary bring up this Treaty very often in the campaign.  Basically, it calls for the United States to voluntarily eliminate our remaining ballistic missile deterrent vis-à-vis Russia.  Now that Vladimir Putin is recognized for the snake that he is, and Russia's signature isn't worth a bucket of shit, you can expect Hillary to avoid the subject altogether.  Unfortunately, Hillary was also strongly supportive of Barack Obama's legacy Nuclear Treaty with Iran, which has proven over and over again to be completely untrustworthy.  Also, Hillary must explain to the voter how it was that we were caught so unaware during the Arab Spring.  Why was the Clinton State Department always so reactive, as opposed to proactive?  Trump, on the other hand, must rely on his skills of persuasion and the popularity of his policies to convince voters that his foreign policy ideas are more in-line with the average American.

Trump has made the issue of immigration one of the cornerstones of his campaign.  In the beginning, many political pundits considered this decision to be a mistake, but the anticipated backlash has yet to materialize.  The truth is, once you dig a little deeper, you discover that most Americans are very concerned about immigration and support increasing security and enforcement on the border.  This very well could be the issue which sinks one of these candidates.  Our immigration system is broken, and regardless of what you hear from the Obama Administration, deportations have ground to a halt in this country, including deportations of felons. After hearing about another murder committed by a foreign national felon, aren't you getting tired of asking the same question, "why wasn't this guy deported before he committed another crime?"  Many Americans are offended to the core to see school children waving and showing reverence to the Mexican flag, while stepping on Old Glory, and we saw it time and time again last summer.  Regardless of the cause, this type of imagery, which is repeated ad nauseam during any event related to immigration, is a boon for Mr. Trump.  In order to placate Sanders and his crowd of unwashed twenty-first century hippies, Hillary will have to support the most liberal immigration platform that was ever crafted at a Party Convention.  No doubt it will include support for the Obama Administration's Amnesty.  Support for this policy will make it difficult for Hillary to ever fully step out of Obama's shadow, at least during the election.

Trump and Clinton may actually agree on some foreign trade issues.  Both candidates have expressed support for the American laborer, as existing trade agreements with Europe, Asia and North America always seem to be more concerned with the foreign worker.  In reality, neither candidate has yet to put forth a detailed plan regarding the restructuring of America's trade agreements. There can be no doubt that the playing field is uneven, with countries like China able to protect their workers and product through trade agreement and tariffs, while the United States appears to always be the one sacrificing.  I look forward to the day when we no longer have to hear some loud-mouth politician lecturing about China's economy being so huge that we must ignore human rights violations, aggressive, dangerous espionage, especially in our universities, theft of department of defense property, and daily, deliberate hacking that is costing the United States billions of dollars.  I'm a bit worried about Hillary Clinton and the Chinese, only because they always seem to be involved in her political campaigns (google "Hillary Clinton" and "Chinese Campaign Contributions").

Today we have taken a look at a few of the issues that the two candidates will be debating during the next two months.  Later this week, we will examine a few additional policy differences.  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both have a lot to say regarding Taxes, and who should pay what.  At least they agree on the need for a more simple tax form.  We look forward to seeing you hear throughout the tumultuous next ten weeks.      

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