When it comes to the 2016 elections, the Democratic campaigns are in many ways the opposite of the Republican camp. Whereas the GOP hosts 14 strong frontrunners and over 30 declared candidates for the party nomination, each of whom has been willing to dish out some low blows to try to get ahead, the Democratic race has come down to two more or less amiable candidates: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
But where do these two stack up on matters important to the party, and where do they differ from one another? Let’s take a look.
Both candidates have a history of supporting immigration reform, but Clinton’s record has been more moderate, whereas Sanders has flat out voted against immigration propositions that have not lived up to his ideology.
Clinton has sponsored bills to fund social services for non-citizens, and has been a public supporter of sanctuary cities. She’s also made calls to beef up security along both the Mexican and Canadian borders, though, and has been a vocal opponent of guest worker programs, excepting for the agricultural sector.
Sanders favors creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers currently in the country, has supported sanctuary cities, and opposed both the adoption of English as the sole official language for the US government and the building of a fence along the US-Mexico border.
Campaign Finance Reform
Both Sanders and Clinton have asserted that they back campaign finance reform, with both arguing for a constitutional amendment to achieve such. While both put forward similar sentiments about the matter, though, Sanders’ campaign currently cashes in at around $40 million, all of it from candidate-raised efforts. Clinton, on the other hand, is currently financed at over $100 million, and is expected to raise in excess of $1 billion before the election season is over. Moreover, $20 million of Clinton’s contributions have been PACs raised.
Clinton is a long-time known supporter of strong gun control laws, and has a voting record to back that. She’s voted in opposition to protecting weapons manufacturers from liability for crimes committed by their consumers, and as long supported universal background checks and licensing reform for gun carriers.
Sanders certainly isn’t gun-law friendly. He’s voted in favor of assault-weapons bans and is thoroughly disliked by the NRA. However, he’s been more temperate in his overall approach, also voting to allow firearms in checked bags on Amtrak trains, and voting against 1993’s gun controlled centered Brady Bill, as well as banning lawsuits against gun dealers and manufacturers for crimes committed by their consumers.
Clinton has cautiously supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, offering constructive criticism about some aspects of the deal, including giving corporations or their investors the power to legally pursue foreign governments to weaken environmental and health rules. As a former Secretary of State, she also has more experience working to foster international relationships and has created comprehensive foreign policy plans.
Sanders has been critical of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguing that it protects large multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, and the environment. He also has yet to put forth convincing arguments regarding non-war-focused foreign policy.
In the wake of the NSA revelations, Clinton has expressed concern about domestic surveillance, but has not created a concrete proposal to create policy preventing future such actions.
Sanders was an outspoken opponent of the Patriot Act at its inception in 2001, and has joined with James Sensenbrenner to coauthor a bill that would have prohibited any future collection of American citizen’s call records.
Clinton has expressed criticisms of Wall Street, but she’s in no way looking to push out big banks. In fact, her largest campaign donations from 1999 to 2014 have come from the likes of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase.
Sanders has been a vehement opponent of Wall Street financial institutions, and has long advocated the cessation of federal bailouts for the financial industry and the breaking up of big banks. He also led the push to enact the first ever audit of the Federal Reserve.
War In The Middle East
Clinton has openly admitted her mistake in initially backing the Iraq War in 2002, and has since come to favor policies that put fewer US soldiers in the area, including the arming of Syrian rebels and the use of targeted drone strikes by the US military.
Sanders is firmly anti-war and has a voting record that has opposed putting troops on the ground in most every major military action since he’s taken office. He currently opposes using US forces to combat the Islamic State. However, he has been in favor of certain targeted attacks that have caused controversy given his purported stance.