The opening bouts are finally finished. It is time for the main event. In one corner is the bigoted bully from Queens who has made a career out of declaring bankruptcies and cheating the small businessman, Donald Trump. In the other corner is the former first lady, ex-senator from the great state of New York, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump has built his political career on the back of his television show, the Apprentice. He has also become one of the pre-eminent birthers in the United States. Mr. Trump's other notable credentials include casinos in Atlantic City and Florida as well as luxury golf courses in areas as exclusive as Scotland. He has never been elected to any office at the local, state,or national level. Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, has a long history of public service. Whether it has been as an employee fighting for children without a voice, the first lady of Arkansas and then the United States, the junior senator from the great state of New York, or the Secretary of State of the United States of America.
There is only one thing that seems to bind these two candidates together. Both, either because of their business dealings or their time in the public eye, have extremely low voter approval ratings. Both appear, rightly or wrongly, to be upside down in their approval ratings. The question is, are these viewpoints justifiable? If you talk to their backers, they will tell you that they are being unfairly maligned, but when you speak to people on the other side, you will be told that either Mr. Trump or Secretary Clinton are pathological liars who are interested only in themselves. This is not going to change. Perception is what perception is, and you will believe or not believe the candidate based on your own preconceived notions. What is more important are the facts on the ground. What are the platforms of the candidates respective parties? Can the candidate demonstrate what the electorate expects of their president? Can the election frame the candidate for the future, rather than strengthen their stereotypes in the past? This is going to be what wins the main event.
Let's begin by looking at platforms. The republican party led by Donald Trump is seeking to eliminate the minimum wage. The democratic party led by Hillary Clinton is seeking to raise the minimum raise in stages to $15.00 per hour. It is one of the clearest differences between the parties. Mr. Trump is seeking to close our borders to both Hispanic immigrants with a wall on our southern border and a ban on at least certain Muslim immigrants. Secretary Clinton is seeking to maintain the American open border policy with appropriate policing and vetting of immigrants. Mr. Trump has advocated a tax policy that calls for cuts across the board, but the greatest cuts at the highest income levels. Secretary Clinton advocates a tax policy where the highest income earners pay a substantially higher tax rate.
Foreign policy is another area where there are stark differences between the republican and democratic visions. Mr. Trump has advocated that we modify our agreements with NATO allies contingent on their fiscal soundness, rather than strategic necessity while Secretary Clinton has looked at strengthening our strategic alliances in a dangerous world. Mr. Trump has advocated the benefits of nuclear proliferation while Secretary Clinton has advocated nuclear disarmament. We can also look at which foreign leaders each of the candidates most admire. For Secretary Clinton, that admiration has extended to Mrs. Merkel of Germany and to the leaders of other great allies of American exceptionalism. To Mr. Trump, that admiration has extended to Kim Jon Il and Vladimir Putin.
Of course, the candidates differ on the social issues that always tend to divide us. Secretary Clinton is pro-choice and Mr. Trump is ostensibly anti-choice. Secretary Clinton is pro-public education and for free college education for middle class students while Mr. Trump supports voucher programs at the expense of the public schools. Secretary Clinton has espoused moving toward universal healthcare and the universal right to vote for citizens. Mr. Trump has vowed to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act and has supported republican efforts to restrict voting rights for eligible Americans. Secretary Clinton is for increasing understanding of climate change and intervention by our nation to save the environment. Mr. Trump has joined the republican chant of climate change being an over-hyped hoax. Secretary Clinton is for an absolute wall of separation between church and state while Mr. Trump has made little or no statement on the issue.
The differences between the candidates are stark and real. They represent two extremely different views of America. For about eighty per cent of the nation, the choice has already been made. For the other 20%, the personalities of the candidates must be put to the side. America has to elect a president based on the issues. Do we want a president for the 21st century in Hillary Clinton or are we pining for an authoritarian president whose own words would seem to take us back two hundred years. I believe we have to move forward, do you?