Co authored with Helen Berger, Resident Scholar Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center
Hillary has been accused of being too cautious, of not taking risks, of saying what everyone wants to hear and therefore saying nothing clearly. However at the debates, both candidates very clearly stated their position on women's health, gun control, and immigration. Hillary, made a direct statement--she believes women have the right to control their own reproductive choices. Including making the agonizing decision to choose a late term abortion, to protect their own live. She does not believe the state should have the power to put women's lives in jeopardy. She outlined limits on purchasing of firearms. She noted that she is not for taking away gun rights from law abiding citizens but stating clearly and directly that criminals, wife's abusers, and terrorists shouldn't be allowed to buy guns. She also stated that she was for a path to immigration and for well vetted Syrian refugees entering our country. She spoke of her work through the decades for women and families and her continued commitment to it. She also committed to support Medicare and social security.
Trump also told us where he stood. He wants to eliminate safe and legal abortions. (Would this apply to the woman he might impregnate, or because he "is a star", the law wont apply to situations in which he's involved?) He is happy to claim the endorsement of the NRA. He wants to round up immigrants and use force to take them out of the country.
Hillary noted the need for a New New Deal --a new deal for American workers and families in the 21st century. Trump wanted as Hillary said, "Trickle down economics on steroids." He wanted more money for the upper echelon, for himself, and he told us he was sure it would create jobs. We of course have heard this "Trickle down" story before and seen the poor results.
The contrast is important. Much of this campaign has justifiably been focused on how unprepared Trump is emotionally and intellectually for the challenge of the presidency. But, in this debate we saw a clearly presented difference in policy between Democrats and Republicans. Not just for the presidency but for Senate and House of Representatives. Each voter must decide what image of America they want. Do they want a new gilded age with the rich getting even richer and the rest of us poorer, with social security being diminished, the elderly returned to poverty, schools under funded, and few laws to protect our environment or our health, and a return to women dying from back alley abortions?
Hillary provides a different image, women and their doctor's making the decisions that are the best for their health, the rich paying more taxes to help the society do what all societies need to do--provide food, education, health care, and create jobs and infrastructure for its populace. Trump wants us to feel unsafe to believe the inner cities are out of control. Yes, there are problems and yes there are people both who are raised here and who come here who do bad things. There always have been and always will be--but voters need to ask themselves if more guns will stop crime or make them more dangerous. Research says more dangerous. Even trained police miss more often than hit when they shoot a gun. The fantasy of having all these civilians shooting the bad guy is reassuring until you watch actual people shoot actual guns.
This debate more than any other made clear our choice--not only for the presidency but for the Congress.