With extensive, 24-7 media coverage, you’d think we would know by now where the 2016 presidential candidates stand on the most prominent issues of the day. All the noise, however, tends to reduce clarity rather than enable it, and it can be tough to discern the difference between what one candidate says the other plans to do, and what each candidate actually plans to do if elected to office. In the wake of last night’s debate—which did provide some small elaboration—and because today is Voter Registration Day, we’ve put together a cheat sheet with each candidate’s take on key issues. Knowledge is power, and so is your vote—don’t forget to register to cast your ballot in November! Also, MTV’s TRL is coming back tonight as Total Registration Live, a one-hour, nostalgia-inducing program meant to motivate millennials to vote. You can watch it on MTV or stream it via electthis.com.
Your 2016 Election Cheat Sheet
Hillary Clinton: She has called for a path to "full and equal" citizenship and humane enforcement of immigration laws through comprehensive immigration reform. Read more here.
Donald Trump: He has called for mass deportations, tougher immigration restrictions (including an end to birthright citizenship) and for a wall to be built between the US and Mexico. Read more here.
Hillary Clinton: She plans to raise taxes for the wealthiest Americans. She also wants to increase the capital gains tax, close tax loopholes for the wealthy and increase estate taxes. Read more here.
Donald Trump: He wants to reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three. He also wants to cut corporate taxes, eliminate estate taxes and increase the standard deductions for those who file individually. Read more here.
Hillary Clinton: She's against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Though she has supported some free trade agreements in the past, her campaign now says she's not interested in renegotiation of trade deals but rather in finding a new approach to trade entirely. Read more here.
Donald Trump: Trump is also against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and says he will reopen and renegotiate trade deals that have already been signed, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (aka NAFTA). He specifically wants to renegotiate with China.
Hillary Clinton: She plans to intensify the coalition campaigns against ISIS. She wants to pursue diplomatic strategy to resolve Syria's civil war and Iraq's sectarian conflict (both of which are said to have contributed to the rise of ISIS). She believes Putin is a "bully." She thinks we need to take a harder line with China when it comes to trade. She was heavily involved in the sanctions placed on Iran in the early years of Obama's administration. Read more on her foreign policy positions here.
Donald Trump: He notably hopes to improve relations between the US and Russia. He believes in taking a hard line with China when it comes to trade. He thinks we should not have entered Iraq. He believes Iran is a big threat. Read more on his foreign policy positions here.
Hillary Clinton: She plans to reduce American oil consumption and energy waste each by one third, install half a million solar panels by the end of her first term and "defend, implement and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards." She also plans to launch the $60M Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities and rural areas to expand clean energy and reduce pollution. Read more here.
Donald Trump: He believes in protecting the right to clean water and air, and has said that water infrastructure will be a focus of his presidency. He wants to decrease funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, which he believes creates policies that cost jobs. His website states no official position on climate change, but in the past, Trump has called global warming "a hoax" on Twitter.
Hillary Clinton: She is proposing a 550% increase in the number of Syrian refugees allowed to resettle in the states (from 10,000 to 65,000). To put this number into perspective—Canada, which is 1/10 the size of the US, population-wise—took in 26,000 over just four months. Read more here.
Donald Trump: He is proposing a total suspension of refugee resettlement in the US until more extreme vetting procedures can be implemented. Read more here.
Hillary Clinton: She is opposed to state legislation that increases regulation for abortion providers, and she is opposed to cutting government funding for Planned Parenthood.
Donald Trump: He supports an abortion ban except in cases of rape, incest or life of mother, and he supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood, though he acknowledges how helpful its services aside from abortion have been to women.
Not-so-fun fact: The US is the only industrialized country in the world without paid family leave.
Hillary Clinton: She has vowed to guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid leave for those with a newborn or sick family member. She plans to pay for this through tax reforms (see Taxes slide). Read more on her plans here, as well as a thorough examination of how she will pay for them here.
Donald Trump: His plan is to afford women six weeks of paid maternity leave. According to an interview with his daughter Ivanka, who has been credited with helping him write this policy, only women—not men—who are married will qualify for this benefit. His website, however, makes no mention of this provision. Read more here.
Not-so-fun fact: The annual cost of daycare is now higher than the cost of in-state college tuition in 31 states.
Hillary Clinton: She has pledged to cap child-care expenses at 10% of household income. She also plans to increase pay for child-care workers, a strategy she believes will improve care and reduce employee turnover. These initiatives will be paid for via tax credits and subsidized health care. You can read more here.
Donald Trump: He proposes allowing parents to fully deduct the money they spend on child care from the money they owe in taxes. You can read more here.
Not-so-fun fact: The US has less than 5% of the world's population, but it has 25% of the world's total prison population.
Hillary Clinton: She supports rehabilitation rather than long jail sentences for non-violent drug offenders, and she plans to cut sentences for these perpetrators in half. (She also plans to move marijuana from a schedule I drug to a schedule II drug.) She plans to "acknowledge that implicit bias" exists "even in the best police departments," and plans to spend $1 billion in her first term on training programs for law enforcement. Finally, she plans to end the privatization of prisons.
Donald Trump: He has declared himself the "law and order candidate." He has of yet listed no specific positions on his website regarding prison reform or any related matter.