Let's Talk Issues #1: What do the candidates think is important?

While all the horse race discussions, the latest desperate pleas for attention by various candidates, the sophomoric antics, and attempts to create scandals, are fine entertainment of sorts, and fun enough in their own way, I am finding myself woefully ignorant of what each major candidate thinks are the most important issues of the day and how they should be addressed. So help me out!

Democratic side is pretty easy.

Clinton is trying to focus on income inequality by way of raising middle class incomes. Investing in infrastructure, clean energy, and scientific and medical research to create jobs. Tax reforms that aim to help small businesses and working families. Investing so that public college is affordable and reworking student loan programs. A tax credit to encourage more profit sharing by big companies. Ending the carried interest credit and closing loopholes that benefit the wealthiest. Also immigration reform gets mentioned. She is not discussing international relations much but she is known to be hawkish for a Democrat and is generally thought of as being a free trade advocate.

Sanders also puts income inequality on top. Estate taxes for the wealthiest to increase progressively and dramatically as well as other taxes on Wall Street. Double the Federal minimal wage over 5 years from $7.25 to $15/hr. A $1 trillion public works program to hire people repairing infrastructure and another $5.5 billion in youth jobs programming. Public college should be free. Get out of trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR. Next item is getting big money out of politics, preferably by an amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling. Then climate change. And less hawkish.

Not bothering with anyone else on that side yet.

GOP side?

Trump’s site lists defending second amendment rights and immigration issues (build a wall and make Mexico pay for it).

Oh screw it. I am not even going to do Carson or Fiorino.

Rubio’s site’s first issue is “Barack Obama’s Third Term.” Then a statement about the disruptive changes of the new world economy, and some ideas about reforming higher education mostly by changing accreditation so that more low-cost education providers can emerge. Next up is a stronger America so that our enemies “dare not test us.”

Honestly I can’t tell what Jeb Bush thinks are the important issues from his site. From articles his main thrust is to get growth over 4% by way of getting us all more fully working, which will cause the middle to rise, and somehow simplifying the tax code. (“Consolidate the seven current brackets into three — at 28 percent, 25 percent and 10 percent. We would eliminate many of the carve outs, loopholes and special interests provisions in the tax code …” His hope would be to cut the taxes on the middle class while also cutting “corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.” On immigration he wants a path to legal status. His site though is more about his love of his wife, how much Jewish leaders support him, and his being Catholic.

Anyone want to cover more of them feel free.

Any context or major statements not presented on their respective sites that more completely reflect what each prioritizes?

I’m baffled about what exactly they think they’ll accomplish by getting rid of all the illegal aliens. Free up jobs? How many unemployed Americans are prepared to become itinerant farm workers? If they just want a below-minimum-wage job as a dishwasher or bus boy, every restaurant I go to has a sign in the window that says they’re hiring. Nobody gets a job as a tax accountant, high school teacher or municipal bus driver if we exile all the illegals…

Those are the two main issues listed on his campaign site. Which surprises me. When he’s making speeches, he seems to emphasize job creation as his biggest goal.

Primary season is tough to gauge priorities. To the extent they are giving real answers, they are giving a position on the issues that matter most to a partisan audience. They thing they care most about might not get much air time because their base doesn’t care much …or will actively run around calling them RINOs or Blue Dogs.

Kasich made some pretty clear statements around the time of his announcement about conservative social issues NOT being a priority. It narrows the field even if it doesn’t specifically address the question The statement I saw had him talking about answering questions when asked but wanting to focus on other areas. Since it’s still the Republican nomination process in 2015 he’s getting asked a lot about social issues.

Carson’s website lists ten issues. They are, in order:

Opposing abortion.
Enacting a balanced budget amendment.
Reducing federal government control over schools.
Keeping the Guantanamo Bay detainees in custody.
Reforming the Affordable Care Act. Enacting a Health Savings Accounts program.
Promoting religion.
Opposing Russian aggression.
Protecting the right to own firearms.
Supporting Israel.
Reforming the tax code to make it simpler and fairer.

I looked through several official and unofficial Fiorino sites and I can’t seem to find any place where she’s made a statement about which specific issues she’s considers her highest priorities.

According to Jeb Bush: “My top priority is to ignite a period of strong, 4 percent economic growth that will lift up the middle class, which hasn’t received a pay raise in 15 years. The centerpiece of my economic agenda is a bold tax reform proposal that will allow families to keep more of their hard-earned money and make American businesses, especially manufacturers, more competitive.” He goes on to give some specific details about tax brackets and rates and says that the overall principle will be to cut taxes.

So Jeb plans to start his term the same way George did. Not encouraging.

IMO, Sanders is the only one with an actual message right now. We know what his top priority is, it’s income inequality, full stop. Clinton just has a bunch of focus grouped positions on issues. There’s no theme yet. None of the Republicans have a theme at all, or have set priorities, other than Trump, who wants to get rid of the illegals or something.

In any case, I care more about their records than what comes out of their mouths.

Jim Webb appears to be focusing on certain issues such as prison reform, the welfare of veterans, and the growing threat of China in the Pacific.

All of the candidates running have prioritized whatever their super PAC has told them to prioritize. Sanders is a highly respected carreer politician, but has no real current government ties to house, senate, etc. Clinton has plenty of ties and environmental backers, so income equality and not building a pipeline are her top ones.

The GOP?? Ask the Koch brothers. They decide the pubs’ priorities. :smiley: