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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders are the two top presidential candidates in the Democratic Party. In this episode of TestTube News, we take a broad look at where the Democrats stand on a host of topics. Below you'll find more information on where Clinton and Sanders stand on several of the most pressing issues facing the U.S. today. Tomorrow, we will post a similar piece on the Republican Party.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Sanders staunchly opposes the sweeping trade agreement that would phase out a number of tariffs and trade barriers amongst the U.S. and 11 other countries. Sanders says the deal will ultimately hurt workers and consumers the most, but will make corporations richer.
Clinton has also come out against the TPP. However, she is facing a great deal of criticism for shifting her opinion as a presidential candidate, only when it became convenient. Clinton's stance is breaking away from the Obama administration, where she served as Secretary of State while this deal was being developed. Regardless, Clinton has come out against the fact that currency manipulation is not addressed in the TPP.
Sanders has come out in support of a 0.2 percent payroll tax on all workers that would help pay for a sweeping paid family leave program (up to 12 weeks). He has also proposed a tax on Wall Street speculation that would go to providing free tuition at public universities. Finally, he has advocated for closing tax loopholes that enable U.S. corporations to keep profits overseas.
Clinton has proposed an adjustment to the capital gains tax-specifically the long-term capital gains. Her policy would require wealthy taxpayers to hold onto their investments for much longer before they could benefit from the long-term capital gains tax.
Sanders has introduced legislation that would legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use across the U.S. Clinton has taken a less aggressive approach, supporting the reclassification of marijuana so it can be studied, while allowing states to legalize if they choose. Federally, though, marijuana would still be considered a controlled substance, similar to cocaine.
Criminal Justice Reform
Among other proposals, Sanders has put forth a bill that would prohibit the federal government from outsourcing prisons to private corporations. Clinton has set forth several proposals including reducing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug crimes, banning racial profiling by law enforcement, and ending the sentence disparities for crack and powder cocaine crimes.
The two leading Democratic candidates by and large agree on this particular issue. Both have outlined an immigration platform that goes beyond the scope of President Obama's current policy. Both have stated that, if a comprehensive immigration reform bill cannot be produced from Congress, they will implement policy via executive order.
The 2012 Democratic Party Platform (democrats.org)
"What follows is our 2012 platform - a declaration of how we plan to move America forward during President Obama's second term. Our next platform will be released in the summer of 2016."
New Deal (history.com)
"When President Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933, he acted swiftly to try and stabilize the economy and provide jobs and relief to those who were suffering."
Why Obama says TPP is historic for workers - and why US labor unions hate it (vox.com)
"First, they say, the labor protections are similar to those in previous trade agreements, rather than truly game changing. And second, they argue that though the commitments sound nice on paper, they may not make much of a difference in the real world."
Who Is Running for President? (nytimes.com)
"More than a dozen Republicans and a handful of Democrats have announced they are running for their party's 2016 presidential nomination."