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Prominent Issues Divide Trump, Clinton in Race for White House

  • Chris Hannas

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Athens, Ohio, United States, May 3, 2016.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Athens, Ohio, United States, May 3, 2016.

With the U.S. party primary process nearing its end, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton appear set to battle in the November election to become the next president of the United States.

Months of debates, speeches and interviews have provided insight into their differing stances on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues that are sure to be prominent as they try to convince voters in the general election.

Diplomacy

Clinton, who served as the nation's top diplomat under Obama, wants to strengthen relations with current allies and build new ties. She supports the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program and wants to deter China and Russia from aggressive actions in their regions. Trump also supports boosting ties with allies, but has criticized NATO as "obsolete' and vowed to make U.S. partners pay their share for defense. He called the Iran deal "disastrous" and said he thinks he would get along well with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Terrorism / Islamic State

Trump said in March he would consider sending 30,000 ground troops to help defeat Islamic State, but later said he would rather not send U.S. troops. He has repeatedly pledged to knock out the militant group, but has not provided a specific plan. Clinton's plan resembles the one put in place by the Obama administration, relying on coalition airstrikes, supporting local ground fighters and working to disrupt terrorist financing and online propaganda.

Interrogations

Obama banned enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, while Clinton was a part of his Cabinet. She says she will not condone or practice torture if she is the U.S. leader. Trump says militants are doing far worse and supports bringing back waterboarding.

Migrants / Muslims

After last year's terror attacks in Paris, Trump said he would ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. "until our country's representatives can figure out what's going on." He later said "Islam hates us," and on Wednesday told MSNBC that migrants are "destroying Europe." Clinton says demonizing Muslims alienates U.S. partners and that it would be wrong to shut the country's doors to orphans of war or to apply religious tests to those fleeing persecution.

Immigration

Trump wants to build a wall to seal off the southern U.S. border with Mexico, and have the Mexican government pay for it. He accuses Mexico of exporting crime and poverty. He also wants to deport the millions of people who are already living in the U.S. illegally, triple the number of immigration enforcement agents and end birthright citizenship. Clinton calls Trump's wall plan a "fantasy." She proposes immigration reforms that include a path to citizenship, and says she will defend executive orders issued by Obama that shield large numbers of immigrants from deportation.

FILE - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign supporting his plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico that he borrowed from a member of the audience at his campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, March 9

FILE - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign supporting his plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico that he borrowed from a member of the audience at his campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, March 9

Trade

Both candidates oppose the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump has stated further objections to the North American Free Trade Agreement enacted when Clinton's husband, Bill, was president in the 1990s. Trump has also proposed renegotiating trade deals and imposing stiff tariffs on Chinese and Mexican goods. He said he does not mind igniting a trade war when the U.S. has a trade deficit of billions of dollars.

Domestic Economy

Trump and Clinton both want to cut taxes for the middle class. On the minimum wage, Clinton has said she supports a higher federal rate and the ability of local governments to pass even higher rates. Trump said early in the campaign that the minimum wage was already too high, but now says he is open to raising it. He staunchly opposes Obama's Affordable Care Act healthcare program, while Clinton says she will defend and build on it.

Global Warming

Clinton calls climate change "an urgent threat and the defining challenge of our time." She wants to cut the nation's carbon pollution and push the development of a green energy economy. Trump has said he does not believe humans are driving climate change. He tweeted once that the concept was created by China to make the U.S. manufacturing sector less competitive.

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