Part 1: The Winners of Iowa
In November, the US will elect is 45th president, and with the Republican and Democratic nominees not even chosen yet, we already have an interesting race. At the beginning of the race for the republican nominee, there were seventeen candidates — almost too many to have a well rounded debate; the republican party has whittled it down to twelve (this article covers the top three candidates). On the other side, the democrats have three candidates in the running, after three dropped out of the race. In this race for the White House, there are many contrasting different views on key issues such as immigration, LGBT rights, racial issues such as police brutality, healthcare, and gun control. In this three part piece, we will be examining the beliefs of the top ranking candidates on these very issues.
In her second run for the White House, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been the more well known democratic candidate since the beginning of the race. She has also been the more moderate option when compared to former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and self proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders.
Though not a supporter of a single payer system, Hillary Clinton is a vigorous supporter of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, promising to defend it in spite of efforts to repeal it. She promises to reduce costs of prescriptions, copays and deductibles. Clinton is also a strong advocate for reproductive rights for women, and during her term as senator, she defended women’s’ right to choose, and has promised to defend planned parenthood as president.
Clinton supports “comprehensive immigration reform,” supporting and planning to expand Obama’s plan for amnesty, and promising to institute reform with a path to “full and equal citizenship.” As a supporter and former cosponsor of the DREAM Act, Clinton aims to protect beneficiaries of the act, and families that live under the DREAM Act. She is a strong opponent of family detention, supporting instead the supervised release of those who “pose no flight or safety risk,” among other alternatives. Her plans for immigration reform also include the expansion of health care for all families, and she intends to promote naturalization by increasing “access to robust language programs” and “enhanc[ing] outreach and education.”
In the area of LGBT rights, Clinton promises to continue to work on passing the Equality Act, and to continue trying to decrease discrimination on the basis of sexuality or gender identity in areas such as housing, as many states do not have laws protecting LGBT individuals from housing discrimination and work discrimination. Clinton has also set the goal of expanding Medicaid to cover HIV and AIDS suffers. As secretary of state, she promoted worldwide human rights for LGBT people, and even led the first UN Resolution on LGBT Human Rights during her term; as president she plans on continuing to promote equality internationally as well as domestically.
On the subject of racial inequality, Clinton can be quoted as saying, “We can’t continue to make progress if we’re not even honest with ourselves that we still have problems.” She went on to say that a prime example of one of these problems is police brutality towards people of color. She also told Lena Dunham in an interview, that after 9/11, police departments took steps to militarize their procedures, acting as if they were in a war zone rather than protecting the community. Though she said that ultimately people must respect the police, she said that they must respect their community as well, and that they are not being trained as well as they could be. “I think their first reaction is one of anxiety and nervousness and they overreact,” she told Dunham.
Clinton has a history of being a strong advocate of gun control. During the nineties, after the shooting at Columbine, Clinton defended the federal background checks mandated by the Brady Bill, and has supported efforts to close the gun show loophole, and as senator she supported legislation that re-ban assault weapons. As president, Clinton has promised to attack the gun show loophole, hold the gun industry accountable for gun violence, continue support for legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and continue support for the reinstatement of a federal ban on assault weapons.
Lastly, Ted Cruz. Cruz is a Tea Party republican from Texas, who has always preached religious liberty and conservative values in his politics, appealing to many republican evangelicals across the country.
Since the beginning of his term, Cruz has vowed to repeal Obamacare. Much like Marco Rubio, he supports non-federally funded medical care. He believes in a free market alternative, where competition drives prices down and improves quality. Put simply, his healthcare plan is “reigning in the federal government.”
To prevent illegal immigration, Cruz supports increasing border security by increasing the number of patrol agents and by building a secure border with a wall. He is an opponent of Obama’s policy of amnesty, plans to increase deportations, and aims to “prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving financial benefits.” He plans to reform legal immigration by ending birthright citizenship, and by halting legal immigration in times of high unemployment, so as to protect the jobs of citizens already in the US.
Senator Cruz has been, throughout his career, very outspoken on the subject of religious liberty, which often conflicts with the interests of the LGBT community and its activists. Cruz is a staunch opponent of same gender marriage, claiming that “marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman,” and even supported county clerk Kim Davis when she refused to issue marriage licenses after DOMA was repealed. Ted Cruz frequently associates with anti-gay activists, even attending a rally in Iowa held by Pastor Kevin Swanson who advocates for the death penalty for gay people; however, when asked about his association with Swanson, Cruz dodged the question. As senator, Cruz also supported a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, and, according to the Human Rights Campaign, has “consistently opposed granting protections to LGBT Americans,”and “both local ordinances in Texas that would protect LGBT Americans, and ENDA’s explicit federal workplace protections.”
As for racial relations, Cruz supports racial equality but has openly disparaged the Black Lives Matter movement and does not believe that police unfairly target people of color. In fact, he believes just the opposite; Cruz has been quoted as saying that the activists of BLM, “literally suggesting and embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers,” despite many protests led by the movement being peaceful. Cruz cited the death of Deputy Darren Goforth, shot while refilling his car, to defend this claim. Despite his remarks about the movement, Cruz did say, “Absolutely, black lives matter, and the consequence of President Obama and the Attorney General’s vilification of law enforcement is many more black lives have been lost.”
Finally, Senator Cruz is adamantly anti-gun control. Arguing that guns provide security and safety for our personal freedoms, he has fought against largely democratic proposals for federally mandated gun restrictions and has pledged to filibuster pro-gun control legislations. In addition, he opposed movements for restrictions on high capacity magazines and did not support the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty.
Header photo courtesy of Pam Roth