The tale of two candidates

This election season has seen Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spar over personality rather than policy, with personal, unsubstantiated attacks abound, and new scandals seeming to crop up everyday. In covering the election, we decided to instead tell the tale of two candidates and compare their respective proposed policies.

Photo illustration by Emily Davis

Differing Backgrounds

This election’s primary party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, come from two very different backgrounds. Both have had their ups and downs but have managed to make it as the top two candidates in this historic election.

||| Donald Trump |||

Trump, business mogul and Republican presidential nominee, seems to have come from nowhere, as he has no political background.

Trump was enrolled at Fordham University before transferring to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1968 with a degree in economics. Afterwards, he started a career in commercial real estate, revitalizing old buildings and hotels.

“He grew up doing real estate with his dad. He became a billionaire businessman who has real estate all over the world. But that’s not without challenges. Business is always up and down, and one has to take risks to get rewards. Trump has taken risks, and often-taking losses. Because of his ability to comeback, he has been dubbed the ‘Comeback King’,” President of Ohio State Students for Trump Nick Davis said.

During his business career, Trump led bankruptcy six times, once in 1991, three times in 1992, once in 2004 and once in 2009.

Trump makes executive decisions every day, but the one decision he cannot decide on is which political party he sides with.

Trump registered for the first time in New York as a Republican in 1987, only to leave the GOP party for the Independent Party in 1999, according to the New York City Board of Elections. In 2001 he joined the Democratic Party. He later returned to the GOP in 2009, only to decide he didn’t want to be associated with a political party in 2011, but in 2012 he went back to the GOP, in which he has stayed ever since, according to The Washington Times.

Trump announced his campaign for Republican presidential nominee on June 16, 2015.

||| Hillary Clinton |||

Clinton - former U.S Secretary of State, former First Lady and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee - is the first female to make it this far in a US presidential race. Unlike her opponent, she has been in politics for much of her life.

She began as a member of the GOP and campaigned for Barry Goldwater, the Republican presidential nominee of 1964. She joined the Democratic Party in 1968, where she has remained, according to

Clinton first went to Wellesley College, and then attended Yale Law School, graduating with honors in 1973. She went on to study at Yale Child Study Center. During her time at Yale, she met her husband, Bill. They got married in 1975 while he was running for attorney general in Arkansas.

She joined the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock in 1977 where she worked part-time, then became first lady of the state when her husband was elected Governor of Arkansas for the first time in 1978. While she was first lady of the state (1979-1981, 1983-1992) she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee and served on the boards of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Legal Services and the Children’s Defense Fund, according to “Hillary Clinton has been fighting for women, children and families for her entire career. She’s always done what she could to make people’s lives better. Hillary’s rise is a testament to her dedication and hard work. She’s respected by politicians and political leaders on both sides of the aisle and she has a history of partnering with Republicans to get the job done,” President of the Ohio Young Democrats Jen House said.

As the first lady of the United States, she pushed for health care reform. During that period, she helped to increase funding for osteoporosis, cancer research and treatment as well as childhood diabetes. She ran for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008 but lost to Barack Obama. Afterwards, Obama asked her to serve in his cabinet as the 67th Secretary of State. Clinton announced that she was running for the Democratic presidential nominee again on April 12, 2015.

Differing Policies

Presidential candidates’ stances on key issues can make or break them at the polls. In this election, the three main policy topics have been immigration, trade and national security.

|| Immigration ||

Donald Trump is most known for his stance on illegal immigration. According to his campaign website,, Trump said “there must be a wall across the Southern border.” He also supports ending birthright citizenship, which would classify children born in the United States to undocumented immigrants as ‘undocumented.’

Photo credit by Free from Wix

Trump has insisted that the United States needs major immigration reform and has made controversial suggestions. Some say that Trump may not know what he’s talking about. “The 14th Amendment says that anyone born or naturalized is a U.S. citizen, so [Trump] is talking about amending the Constitution when I don’t even think he realizes that’s what it would take,” AP United States Government and Politics teacher John Carmichael said.

Clinton, however, supports immigration reform that would create a pathway to full citizenship. According to her website,, she would focus resources on deporting undocumented immigrants who pose a threat to public safety. One fear people have is that her policy isn’t strict enough. “[Her policy] gives no incentive for people to come in legally because they know all they have to do is walk across the border, and they’re good,” President of Ohio State Students for Trump Nick Davis said.

Clinton’s plan states she would also create a simple system to help families of undocumented immigrants stay together. “She’s focused on keeping families together and bringing people out of the shadows and into society,” President of Ohio Young Democrats Jen House said.

|| Trade ||

An ambitious vision that Trump has is with trade. According to ontheissues. org, Trump plans on fundamentally reshaping the trade relationship between the United States and China. “Trump will instruct that China be labeled a currency manipulator and bring trade disputes against them if they don’t stop their illegal activities like theft of American trade secrets,” Davis said. Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Paci c Partnership (TPP), a multinational trade agreement, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was negotiated by the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico.

He wants to bring back millions of jobs from overseas that were lost because of these deals, yet some find this hypocritical. “His track record doesn’t support this, in fact it shows exactly the opposite. He had the opportunity to have his Trump-branded clothes made in the US. Instead, he has them produced in countries like Bangladesh, China and Mexico, where workers are often paid less than $1 an hour,” Davis said.

Photo credit by Free from Wix

Clinton wants to help the country’s economy and ensure that any trade deals will be beneficial to United States workers and national security. At the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, Clinton said, “When I was in the Senate, I had a number of trade deals that came before me, and I held them all to the same test. Will they create jobs in America? Some of them I voted for. The biggest one, a multinational one known as CAFTA, I voted against, and because I hold the same standards as I look at all of these."

Like Trump, Clinton is also against the TPP. However, she has been criticized for once supporting the deal, calling it the “gold standard in trade agreements” in 2012. She defended changing her stance on Sept. 26. “I did say I hoped it would be a good deal. I was against it once it was finally negotiated and the terms were laid out.”

|| National Security ||

Trump’s plan for national security would rebuild the US military and make sure that its troops aren’t put in vulnerable situations.

“Trump’s foreign policy plan is very non-interventional, meaning if we have no business being there, we should not be there. We need to worry about our own problems first,” Davis said.

Trump has also said that he would halt the intake of refugees from countries where radical terrorism is prevalent. “This temporary pause will end when we devise a system of vetting them to ensure they have no criminal past or ties to terrorism,” Davis said.

Photo credit by Free from Wix

Clinton plans to strengthen ties between the United States and its allies, as well as confront terrorism. Clinton has laid out a plan to combat ISIS, support local ground troops and strengthen the coalition air campaign in Iraq and Syria. Some disagree with her plan and believe her time spent as Secretary of State for Obama is what led to ISIS’ rise to power.

“Her and Obama’s policies led to the destabilization of the Middle East and the rise of ISIS. Now she wants an increase in the intake of these refugees,” Davis said.

Clinton also plans to stand up to Vladimir Putin, as well and hold China accountable on currency, climate change and in territorial disputes. She plans to be rm with other nations, something that her time as Secretary of State gave her experience with. “She knows how dif cult national security decisions can be. She was in the room with Obama advising him on the decision to take out Osama Bin Laden,” House said.

Differing student opinions

In the 2016 election, the American people have been primarily focused on the candidates as distinct personalities, rather than on their policies, rendering this election different than ever before. Students voiced their opinions about the different personalities, campaigns and policies of the two majority-party candidates.

||| Trump |||

Trump has created much controversy throughout his campaign, for better or for worse. Much of it dealt with social media.

On Twitter the candidate’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted a photo of a bowl of skittles saying, “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

“I think people blew it way out of proportion,” said junior Marcus Freeman. “I don’t think people understood what he was saying. Letting in many people would risk the lives of citizens because some of them could be terrorists and try to kill Americans.” Junior Hunter Wallace had a similar response. “We should take in Syrian refugees if they have no terrorist connections and they become legal citizens. We need to keep ourselves safe too,” said Wallace. “The media blew it up.”

Many people believed the metaphor belittled the Syrian refugee problem by making it seem like an easy decision. “Personally, I believe it was xenophobic. But it was also a terrible metaphor because refugees are people, some of whom are children who deserve safety,” said sophomore Lexi House.

In March 2006, Trump said on the ABC talk show, “The Apprentice”, “I’ve always said if Ivanka wasn’t my, I’d be dating her.” “The media acted appropriately, saying he was creepy. Nobody finds a man dating his daughter as an OK thing,” Freeman said. House had a similar response. “Donald Trump has a history of sexism and generally being creepy towards women. He definitely crossed the line,” Lexi House said.

Wallace disagrees, he said, “I think the media took it the wrong way.” The definition of racist is a person who believes one particular race is superior over the other, and many people believe this is a defining feature of Trump. “I absolutely think he is [racist]. Time and time again, he makes comments on how there won’t be another black president for a while because he didn’t like Obama, which has nothing to do with his race,” said Lexi House. “The leader should support all of its citizens.” The media is notorious for persuading the public’s belief.

“The media makes him racist. He focuses on keeping illegal immigrants out. How is keeping radical terrorists out if they are going to harm and kill us?” Wallace said. Overall, Trump has people who like his ideas and not him, love both or hate it all. “I like the idea of illegal immigration being cut down and trying to cut down on the debt. Also, his idea to bring jobs back to America,” said Freeman, “I dislike just about everything else about him, including his idea for the wall.”

“I like his ideas on how we will generate new jobs and help the economy get back on track. I also like how he will try to have a stricter immigration. And how he will x our horrible foreign trade deals, like NAFTA,” said Wallace, “I dislike how he acts and how he can’t control his mouth sometimes.”

“I disagree with all of his major ideas such as building a wall along the Mexican border, making abortion illegal in almost all cases, lowering taxes on the rich, denial of climate change, stance on gay marriage and against harsher gun control,” said Lexi House.

||| Clinton |||

Clinton has also had many controversial events happen throughout her campaign; many dealt with her past, gender and health.

When Clinton was Secretary of State (2009-2013), she set up a private email server, sending 33,000 emails, some holding classified government information. “She should be in jail. She shouldn’t even be walking the streets free. If anybody else did that they would be. It’s messed up. And even if not in jail, she should not be running,” said Freeman. Now that the majority of citizens know about it, they believe she should release them in order to see how much she was hiding. “She is a pathological liar, and she should release them,” said Wallace.

“I definitely think she was in the wrong, but I do respect how she handled the mentioning of it in the debate by not making excuses and owning up to her (admittedly very large) mistakes,” Lexi House. Clinton is the first female candidate to ever make it this far in a US presidential election. Her victory could be a great leap in history for women. However, some voters may use that as their reasoning when voting. “I think it will lessen her chances because people will think she’s too unsteady for it,” said Freeman. “I think people will [vote for her because she is a female], yes.”

“I think it made an impact that she is the first female, and her ideas on issues and women’s rights are more relevant because she is a woman. I think the fact that the nomination alone was groundbreaking boosted her popularity. Although I am a feminist, I disagree with the people who plan to vote for her just because she is a woman. I think a female president being elected would be amazing, but voting for someone just because they’re a woman isn’t wise,” said House. Clinton being elected president would make history. “I mean it’s great for a woman to be a part of the presidential title. I think she will be a great help to women equality,” said Wallace. Finally, a recent situation the media has been focusing on is Clinton’s health; questioning how t she is to be president.

“It’s dumb. She’s coughing; people do that. I think it affects [her campaign] because of the stupidity of voters,” said Freeman. “In this situation I think people are overreacting based on their opinions, and some are placing too much value on her health rather than her ideology. Rumors have been blown out of proportion,” said House. Overall many people either love her or hate her.

“Her hair looks nice sometimes,” said Wallace, “I don’t like her gun policy. She is basically taking away the second amendment and Americans’ rights to use guns.” “I don’t like her at all,” Freeman said. “I agree with her stances on abortion, taxation, LGBTQ+ rights, gun control, police brutality, path to citizenship, climate change; her fundamental tenes,” said House, “however, I don’t like her tendency to ip on issues. Ideas do change but she doesn’t seem to hold onto her beliefs. She goes with what is popular with the Democratic Party which isn’t necessarily bad, but it is questionable.”

Photo illustration by Emily Davis

The poll was taken during social studies classes. 981 votes were casted for the nominees and some others. The margin of error for is 2%.


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