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Good To Know: Trump vs. Hillary PART 2 - Their Parties and Policies Explained

- American Political Parties
- The Republican Party: Policies and Values 
- The Democratic Party: Policies and Values
- Why People Love to Hate Trump
- Why People Hate to Love Hillary
- Now What?



American Political Parties

  There are two main political parties in the US; the Republican Party and the Democrats. There are also minor parties, such as the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, but American politics is geared to favour either the Republicans or the Democrats, so much so that the presidential office has been held exclusively by one of these two parties since 1853. This is much like politics in Australia (Liberal vs. Labor). While it is technically possible for a third party to win the presidency it is the same as me technically being able to marry Ryan Gosling. A string of highly improbable events would have to occur in a highly improbable sequence. So, sorry Ryan Gosling, but it won't be working out between us.

  The Washington Post published a good article on the possibility of a third party candidate taking over the Oval Office, analyzing in greater depth how the architecture of US politics won't really allow for it.
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The Republican Party: Policies and Values

  The Republican Party is referred to as "GOP", which stands for the 'Grand Old Party', and was started in 1854. The party values and policies are built around liberalism; the belief that individuals should be able to conduct their own activities within the rule of law, free from government intervention, and that economic markets should be free from government control. The party's focus is thus geared towards the protection of an individual's rights and on economic growth, fueled by the belief that the two are of mutual benefit. The party also places a strong emphasis on conservative and traditional values, such as marriage being only between a man and a woman. If you are familiar with Australian politics the Republicans are similar to the Liberal Party.

  The full list of policies propagated by the Republican Party can be found here, the PDF version of which is 66 pages. Much of it will reiterate the belief that the government exists to serve the individual, not the other way around, and so the government must enable its citizens to live out their lives with the freedoms highly valued in the American Constitution. In short however, their policy platform places emphasis on:
- Jobs, economic growth and the reduction of national debt.
- The protection of civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.
- The protection of the American citizen, both natural-born and legal migrants, by cracking down on illegal immigration.
- Less government regulation of the private sector.
- The repeal of Obamacare and the replacement of it with a more affordable system, one that is simpler and allows for more healthcare options.
- Flexing military muscle in the international arena to ensure national security, gaining "peace through strength" and gearing away from President Obama's "ideological" approach, known for his hesitation regarding military intervention.
- And of course, "Making America great again."

  Some Key Republican Presidents: Abraham Lincoln,  Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
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The Democratic Party: Policies and Values

  The Democrats claim to be the oldest continuing party in the US, having been established in 1848. They lean towards the social end of the political spectrum. They're not actually socialists but the party is geared towards a more united social approach rather than the emphasis placed on the individual by their Republican counterpart. They believe that equality and fairness are achieved when all work together and everyone "plays by the same rules." They are in favour of government involvement in regulating big financial institutions to safeguard tax payers from economic breakdown, and believe that social fairness is achieved when large corporations and the wealthy are made to pay higher taxes. They value social progression and champion the plight of all members of society, regardless of background, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. In Australian politics they are similar to the Labor Party.

  You can find the full list of Democratic policies in the current campaign here, an easy 55 pages in the PDF compared to the Republican Party's 66, and much of it reiterates the strengthening of society through equal opportunity and fairness. Key points from their platform include:
- Restoring economic security for the middle class and tighter financial regulation.
- Emphasis on equality, including ending discrimination, equal pay for women and marriage equality for all despite sexual orientation.
- An overhaul of the immigration system to allow for a more efficient and fair system.
- Addressing climate change and environmental issues.
- Keeping and improving Obamacare so that all Americans have access to a public healthcare option.
- An emphasis on diplomatic and humanitarian efforts in the international arena rather than on military operations.
- The belief that everyone is "Stronger together."

  Some Key Democratic Presidents: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
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Why People Love to Hate Trump

  Where to begin... Having gained his success in the business world Donald Trump tried his hand at politics, propelled by a propagated mission to "make America great again", and found himself leader of the Republican Party. Despite his obvious success many dislike him. Why? It could be any number of reasons; the recently released recording of his lewd comments regarding women (see full transcript here), harassment accusations made against him and him exhibiting misogynistic and sexist behavior whilst also saying:

  It could be his approach to immigration. He has proposed to build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants, and to make the Mexican government pay for it. He has also proposed to ban all Muslims migrating to the US until the US government "figures out" what's going on with Islamic terrorism. You can read more here. This has attracted much backlash. For example, Trump is quoted saying "When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best... They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." To which one Mexican media channel responded with:

  He has gained a reputation for making outlandish comments and rash statements with dramatic flare.

By the Oatmeal - see more here

 There has even been a divide within the Republican Party over Trump's popularity, and where his views are perceived to differ from that of traditional Republican values, such as his policies on immigration, international trade and foreign policy (see more here).

  There is a myriad of reasons why people dislike Trump but when all is said and done he has made it this far, which means that there are also people who like him. The BBC and the Washington Post each released good articles listing reasons why people support Trump. Key among them are; he has proven successful in the business world, he is outspoken, his views on immigration are widely reflected, and he is not from a political background, earning him trust in a political climate where much of the public have lost faith in politicians. And in addition many feel dissatisfied with Obama's leadership over the last two terms. Regardless of their reasoning Trump supporters seem to be on board with 'making America great again'.
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Why People Hate to Love Hillary

  Despite the many reasons people have to dislike Trump, his opponent Hillary Clinton, nominee for the Democrats, is still only leading the polls by a small margin (see here). She shows little promise of staging a landslide victory, though in terms of politics she has more experience (having studied law, served as Secretary of State and as First Lady). When it comes to politics, on paper Hillary trumps Trump (see what I did there...), however there is a broad sense of disenchantment with the Democrats amongst many Americans. An article published by Time questions the potential of Hillary's policies, arguing that they offer little alternative to the current situation for the poorer and marginalized communities. In addition there is the email scandal, which saw Hillary accused of using an unsecured server to send classified emails when she worked for the State Department, emails that were required to be sent via a secure network (for more on this see here). To many, really, Hillary's redeeming feature is just that she's not Donald Trump.

  Just like Trump however, despite the Hillary haters she does have her supporters. This article published by the Huffington Post is an example of why. She does have a popular following among minorities (who have largely been offended by Trump), she would be the first female president which represents progression, and the experience she has does earn her a vote of confidence.
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Now What?

  America votes. Tuesday the 8th November. To the American voter, good luck! To the rest of us, grab the popcorn...

  Tune in the same time next week to see more on the foreign policy of each candidate, and why who becomes the next American President matters to those of us who are not American.


- Good To Know: Trump vs. Hillary PART 1 - How US Politics Work

- The Republican Party - Their full website, complete with history, policies and their campaign platform.

The Democrats - Their full website also, with history, policy platform and campaign updates.
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