The final presidential debate: The issues that actually matter

Hannah Layden, Contributing Writer

On Oct. 19, millions of people around the country settled in to watch the third presidential debate unfold. What they saw was Chris Wallace asking the tough policy questions that forced the candidates to explain their stances. The debate began with Hillary Clinton answering in her typical, well-spoken manner and Donald Trump citing real historical cases to make policy points. However, not far into the debate Trump uttered the word “hombres” and things spiraled downward immediately.

After that, both Clinton and Trump resorted back to old tactics of attacking each other and either laughing off or refuting what the other candidate has to say. They brought up scandals and character flaws about one another. Yes, the character of the president is an important consideration as the winner of the election could be in office for the next four or even eight years. But it is no longer just about the imperfect personalities of the candidates. By Nov. 8, Trump or Clinton will be elected and it is important for the electorate to recognize and consider the significant differences between the candidates on major policy issues both domestically and abroad.

National security is of the utmost importance right now, with ISIS as a major global threat and terrorist attacks becoming a regular occurrence. Trump is calling for protection of our people first, wanting to build a wall to secure our borders and “extreme vetting” to keep terrorists out of our neighborhoods. Clinton wants to increase the number of refugees allowed entry to the United States after an intensive examination process and maintain the inclusive nature of our country. The two candidates have held these positions firmly throughout the course of their campaigns.

National security concerns gun laws as well, and in the third debate the two candidates argued for their positions on the Second Amendment. Clinton called for more restrictions on the purchase of guns while claiming that she is not interesting in taking away the Second Amendment guarantee to bear arms. Trump disputed this by saying he became endorsed by the NRA very early on in the election process and wants to protect the rights of the people. These issues are important as you consider your choice for president.

The Supreme Court nomination process is an additional issue each candidate must take a stance on. The rising Supreme Court will tackle many issues including, but not limited to, abortion, gay rights, education, religious entanglement with government, and affirmative action, and the nomination for a justice by the president will alter the course of our nation. Their influence impacts not just the people involved in the specific case, but the entire country, and whoever wins on Nov. 8 will determine the shift in the balance of power between conservative and liberal ideals.

The two candidates also have radically different views on the economy and taxes, and what the best course of action is to reduce the debt in this country. Trump wants to create three tax brackets of 12, 25, and 33 percents, lower the corporate income tax, and eliminate the estate tax. Clinton wants to add a 4% percent surtax on income over $5 million and increase the top estate tax rate to 45% percent. What you believe the role of government should be when it comes to taxing citizens and how you think jobs will best be created should inform your stance on taxes and, additionally, which candidate you would prefer when it comes to the economy.

Both candidates have done things they are not proud of that compromise their character, put our national security at risk, or target a specific group of people. While these things can be discussed and can play a role in your final decision on who to vote for, it is not the only thing to think about. The future of our country rests on the outcome of this election. It is time to think about where you stand on the issues that impact not only the United States and its citizens, but more broadly, the world.

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