It's Time YOU Decide

At the conclusion of last night’s third and final US presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle, the issues important to American citizens and the positions of the two major parties’ candidates are clear.

Here’s what matters to voters (based on polling)

According to a comprehensive Pew Research Center poll, the economy (84%) and terrorism (80%) are the top two issues, generally speaking, for voters this fall. These are followed by foreign policy (75% very important), health care (74%), gun policy (72%), and immigration (70%). With an open seat on the Supreme Court, 65% say appointments to the nation’s highest court will be a very important factor in their decision, and (63%) say the issue of how racial and ethnic minorities are treated will be very important to their vote. Further, rated as very important to their vote are the issues of abortion (45%) or the treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people (40%).

*Note: Pew found that older Americans say the issue of Supreme Court appointments and Social Security will be very important; whereas, younger adults place greater importance on two issues: the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities and the treatment of gay, lesbian, and transgender people.

Here are the views of the candidates on the issues

With these statistics in mind, let’s briefly look at where the two top candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, stand on the 10 most pressing issues for voters today.

1.     Economy:

a.    Trump believes jobs are fleeing the US and that the US is in the worst recovery since the Great Depression with 1% GDP growth this year. To stimulate the economy, he proposes large tax cuts and ensuring foreign governments and entities pay their fair share to the stability of the world, rather than the US footing the bill alone.

b.    Hillary proposed a plan to spend $1 trillion more on government public works programs, free day care and college education, and expanded entitlements. To finance this, she would raise investment and personal income tax rates paid by many small businesses.

2.     Terrorism:

a.    Trump believes in order to defeat terrorism, you must first know what it is, which is to state that it is radical Islamic terrorism. He also wants to keep Guantanamo Bay open.

b.    Focused on partnering with other Arab nations, Hillary emphasis that the US should work with Muslims and be cautious with rhetoric. She wants to close Guantanamo Bay.

3.     Foreign Policy:

a.    Trump said that the US cannot afford to be the world's police – let NATO allies pay. He believes the Iran Deal is one of the worst deals he’s ever seen, and that the US should not train rebels it does not know or control.

b.    Hillary believes on honoring current treaties and painting the US position against nuclear proliferation. The Iran deal keeps nuclear “off the table” she says. The US should intake more refugees, while arming Kurdish and Sunni Arab fighters.

4.     Healthcare:

a.    Trump wants to repeal and replace Obamacare with Health Savings Accounts. He proposes keeping pre-existing condition coverage but not the individual mandate.

b.    While not perfect, Hillary believes Obamacare should be retained but reformed by regulating private company prices and providing families on the exchanges higher tax credits.

5.     Gun Policy:

a.    A huge advocate of the second amendment, Trump does not want limits on guns because he says gun ownership makes the US safer.

b.    For Hillary, guns should be regulated more through the closing of loopholes and intense background checks.

6.     Immigration:

a.    Probably his most favorite statement aside from “Make America Great Again,” is “Build the wall.” Trump wants to close the borders to maintain the integrity of immigration law, by having people come legally. He believes refugees can be Trojan horses and, therefore, must be thoroughly vetted before entering the country.

b.    A path to full and equal citizenship is how Hillary believes immigration can be handled fairly, by ending family detention and closing private immigrant detention centers, and promoting naturalization through free vouchers and free healthcare.

7.     Supreme Court Appointments:

a.    Representative of the kind of constitutional principles he values, he has made a list of six federal appeals court judges and five state supreme court justices who are favorites of conservative legal scholars.

b.    Hillary not released a Supreme Court nominee list and believes President Obama’s nominee should be accepted by the US Congress.

8.     Treatment of Racial/Ethnic Minorities:

a.    Rebuilding inner cities as well as reducing crime are large parts of the Trump plan to settle racial and minority tension.

b.    By being stricter on gun regulation and removing the implicit bias within the criminal system, focusing on violent crime, as well as ending racial profiling, Hillary trusts racial issues will decrease.

9.     Abortion:

a.    As of 2011, Trump said after years of being pro-choice, he is now pro-life. He believes in banning late-term abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest, or health and advocates for defunding Planned Parenthood.

b.    Hillary believes that the government has no business interfering in women’s health decisions, so she will fight to keep Roe v Wade and the funding of Planned Parenthood. She is in favor of late-term abortions based on the exception for the health of the mother.

10.  Treatment of LGBT:

a.    Trump said that after the Supreme Court vote, gay marriage is a reality but believes it should be a state issue, and that sexual orientation is an invalid reason for hiring or firing workers.

b.    Hillary announced her support for same-sex marriage in March 2013, and since then, she believes gender identity should be added to anti-discrimination laws.

Sit. Investigate. Rate.

I have outlined in short the ten most important issues for Americans voting in the upcoming election. You, too, should sit and make a list of the things that you really care about, or, even, expand on this one. After making a list of the things that matter, investigate how the candidates regard these issues. Then, put a tally mark next to the candidate who represents your views. At the conclusion of your list, the candidate with the most tallies should get your vote. It’s that simple. Why do this? Because you are deciding what actually matters to you.

At this point in the election cycle, the candidates’ positions are well documented, and any undecided voter is a decidedly undecided voter.