Clinton vs. Trump: A Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For The 2016 Presidential Race

Are you looking for a voter guide that breaks through the spin with an unbiased comparison of presidential candidate positions? Campus Election Engagement Project is a national nonpartisan initiative working to increase student electoral participation. At the request of the schools we work with, we’ve created concise nonpartisan candidate guides for the presidential race and key senate and governor races. We’ve also created a guide showing the importance of the 2016 election on major Supreme Court decisions. Our lead researcher spent 19 years as a senior editor at Encyclopedia Britannica, and we invite readers to share our guides as widely as possible.

Here are the issue-by-issue stands for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Visit our Nonpartisan Candidate Guides home page to find links to a Spanish language version of this guide, a version that includes the Libertarian and Green Party candidates, and all our other guides, with most available in both online/mobile friendly and printable PDF formats.

Abortion: Should abortion be highly restricted?

Clinton: No.

Trump: Yes.

Campaign Finance: Do you support the DISCLOSE Act, requiring political ads to list key funders?

Clinton: Yes.

Trump: Individual position unclear; party platform opposes.

Campaign Finance: Support Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate & union campaign contributions?

Clinton: No. Proposes Constitutional amendment to overturn.

Trump: Ambiguous. Condemns money in politics. Praises Justice Scalia who voted in favor of decision.

Climate Change: Is human activity causing climate change? Should government limit greenhouse gas emissions?

Clinton: Yes on both: “an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.” Supports EPA coal plant restrictions.

Trump: No on both. “Climate change is a hoax.” “Cancel Paris climate agreement.” Opposes EPA coal plant restrictions.

Climate change: Support renewable energy subsidies?

Clinton: Yes.

Trump: No. Let market decide.

Contraception: Let employers withhold contraceptive coverage due to personal religious beliefs?

Clinton: No.

Trump: Yes.

Courts: Should the Senate have confirmed Obama’s Supreme Court nominee for Justice Scalia's seat?

Clinton: Yes.

Trump: No.

Economy: To grow the economy increase government infrastructure spending? Or reduce taxes?

Clinton: More infrastructure investment.

Trump: Both reduced taxes and more infrastructure investment.

Economy: Prioritize deficit reduction or economic stimulus?

Clinton: Prioritize economic stimulus.

Trump: Prioritize economic stimulus but save $ by cutting depts. like EPA.

Education: Abolish the Dept. of Education & leave school funding & regulation to the states?

Clinton: No.

Trump: Yes.

Education: Make public college tuition free for students from families earning $125,000 or less? Have government help refinance student loans to lower interest rates?

Clinton: Yes on both, using federal subsidies to cover costs. Expand income-contingent loan repayment.

Trump: Trump position unclear. His education advisor considers tuition subsidies & loan refinancing too costly, advocates private sector handling loans.

Environment: Abolish Environmental Protection Agency?

Clinton: No.

Trump: Yes.

Financial Regulation: Support Dodd-Frank, which established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau & regulates banks & financial institutions?

Clinton: Yes.

Trump: No. Will come “close to dismantling.”

Gay Rights: Support gay marriage?

Clinton: Yes, since 2013. Supported civil unions since 2000.

Trump: Would appoint Supreme Court Justices who’d reconsider federal mandate & let states decide.

Gay Rights: Should federal government prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation?

Clinton: Yes.

Trump: No. Leave decision & legislation to states.

Guns: Stricter background checks for gun purchases & ban assault rifles?

Clinton: Yes to both

Trump: No to both

Healthcare: Repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare?

Clinton: No. Her plan also lets 50-year-olds buy into Medicare.

Trump: Yes. Let Americans deduct health insurance cost from taxes.

Immigration: How would you address America’s 11 million illegal immigrants? Should undocumented young people who entered the U.S. before age 16 & meet certain conditions get protection from deportation?

Clinton: Comprehensive reform with earned path to citizenship for adults. Expand DREAM Act protection for children who came to U.S. when young.

Trump: Build wall. First said deport all illegal immigrants; then said wouldn’t deport everyone. Also end automatic citizenship for U.S.-born children of immigrant parents.

Immigration: Ban immigration by Muslims?

Clinton: No.

Trump: Initial plan, ban all Muslims. Now ban immigration from any nation “compromised by terrorism.”

Iran: Support treaty limiting Iran’s nuclear capacity in return for lifting economic sanctions?

Clinton: Yes.

Trump: No.

Iraq: Did you support the Iraq war? What about Obama’s draw-down of troops? Should the US commit significant additional ground troops to Iraq to combat ISIS?

Clinton: Voted to give Bush authority for war; then said “made a mistake.” Supported Obama draw-down. Opposes adding more combat troops, but wants more support for Arab & Kurdish ground forces.

Trump: Says opposed war but made no public opposition statements at time, & some indicating support. Later supported troop withdrawal. Now supports 20,000-30,000 additional U.S. troops.

Marijuana: Support legalizing marijuana?

Clinton: Let states decide.

Trump: Let states decide.

Minimum Wage: Raising the $7.25-an-hour national minimum wage?

Clinton: Yes. Supports $12-per-hour national minimum, & encouraged individual cities & states to require $15 per hour.

Trump: Previously opposed any national minimum wage. Then said open to $10 national minimum.

Nuclear Weapons: Would you consider using nuclear weapons against ISIS?

Clinton: No.

Trump: Yes. "I’m never going to rule anything out."

Obama: Do you believe Barack Obama is a legal U.S. Citizen?

Clinton: Yes

Trump: Has repeatedly questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S.

Police: How would you deal with police violence against citizens & citizen violence against police?

Clinton: Support police, set guidelines on use of force, & budget $1 billion for police training to address racial tensions.

Trump: “I will restore law and order to our country.” “You can’t have true compassion without providing safety.”

Prisons: How to address the record U.S. prison population?

Clinton: In 1994 supported more penalties & sentences. Now says “time to end the era of mass incarceration.” Party Platform includes diversion for nonviolent offenders

Trump: Favors privatizing prisons & being “tough on crime." Party Platform includes diversion for nonviolent offenders

Social Security: Support partial privatization of Social Security?

Clinton: No

Trump: Has previously supported, no recent stand. Platform supports.

Taxes: Increase or decrease taxes on the wealthy & corporations?

Clinton: Increase taxes on both

Trump: Decrease on both as part of tax cut plan

Torture: Are approaches like waterboarding that some consider torture acceptable in the fight against terror?

Clinton: No

Trump: Yes

Trade: Support or oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal?

Clinton: Oppose, although previously supported it.

Trump: Oppose.

Voting Rights: Support strict voter ID rules even if this prevents some people from voting? Restore Voting Rights Act?

Clinton: No, strict ID laws “disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people.” Need to restore Voting Rights Act.

Trump: Yes on voter ID. Otherwise people “will vote 10 times.” No statement on Voting Rights Act.

(Candidate positions as of August 25, 2015)

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